Orders for New Cruise Ships Fall by Half

Could this be a sign the cruise market is in danger of oversaturation?

Less than half the number of new cruise ships are being ordered per year than was the case several years ago, according to the chairman of the communications group Seatrade. Speaking at the cruise convention Seatrade Med in Cannes, Chris Hayman said that while there were 12 to 13 vessels being ordered per year in the middle of the last decade, now there are only six or seven on average.

Cruise industry leaders responded in turn as to whether this was a sign of things to come. Carnival CEO David Dingle said that a “continued period of caution” was likely to remain for the time being, but Silversea Cruises Deputy Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio argued that the luxury cruise sector would be increasing its capacity as upscale brands grow.

He added that smaller, older lines may have to reduce their tonnage in the face of harsher, newer competition. Dingle agreed that there was a need for more fuel-efficient vessels. MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago commented that cruise companies should be careful to keep supply in line with demand by scrapping some ships. “We don’t want to oversupply the market,” he said.

TTGLive [Photo: MSC Divina under construction, September 2010]