Unprecedented period approaches for expedition newbuilds
In a record-breaking cruise ship order book, which now has around 100 new vessels so far scheduled for delivery worldwide up to 2026, there is also a surging expedition market.
The new Celebrity Flora made it a total of 22 expedition ships on order in total when the newbuild deal was announced on November 16, Cruise Industry News reports.
The delivery surge will start next summer, when Ponant, a French cruise operator, brings in a new era with the 180-passenger Le Lapérouse. The luxury ship will be followed by an unprecedented period for expedition newbuilds, with 18 deliveries being delivered in 18 months.
With a shorter time window needed to build smaller expedition vessels, deliveries and orders are scheduled through 2021.
The key is not the building of these ships but how to sell all these new berths, Cruise Industry News thinks.
The winners in this tough competition will be firstly those lines that have existing strong demand from an established customer base, such as major cruise lines, as well as companies that have teamed up with partners like Lindblad Expeditions, Quark and AMA Waterways, which have capacity to add programming value and clients.
“World’s most extraordinary global expedition ship”
Lindblad has just revealed it has signed an agreement with Ulstein in Norway to build a new $134.6 million, 138-passenger expedition vessel with a delivery date of January 2020. The ship will be built in Ulsteinvik and there is an option for two additional ships to be delivered in subsequent years.
The state-of-the-art polar vessel is designed as the ultimate expedition ship “with a focus on safety and comfort, as well as incorporating innovative sustainability solutions to reduce its environmental impact”, according to US-based Lindblad.
A core feature is the signature X-BOW, “a distinctive bow that provides fuel efficiency while significantly improving guest comfort in rough seas”. It is “the next step in the long-term growth of the company, and will be the most extraordinary global expedition ship in the world on a multitude of levels,” claims Sven Lindblad, the company’s president and CEO.