Cruise industry rides the new-build wave

Carnival Vista debuted in May last year with a SkyRide cycling adventure suspended from an 800-foot track above the ship’s top deck

With over 30,000 berths and a total investment of nearly $7.5 billion, last year was an exciting year of growth for the cruise industry. Over ten new ocean-going vessels set sail in 2016, adding capacity to a truly global cruise market.

Cruise lines continue to collaborate with the top shipyards around the world to develop and build vessels satisfying a diverse demand. New builds were a hot topic as the industry converged on Seatrade Cruise Global 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, USA.

Beginning with the Mein Schiff 5, new ships were unveiled at an almost monthly rate in 2016. Highlighting a trend of alternative fuels heavily discussed at Seatrade Cruise Global 2016, the Aidaprima debuted its first Japanese-built ship with dual-fuel engines for direct supply of LNG to fuel hotel energy needs in port. The highly anticipated Carnival Vista debuted in May 2016 with a SkyRide cycling adventure suspended from an 800-foot track above the ship’s top deck!

Following closely, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Explorer, billed as the most luxurious ship ever built, set sail featuring a $10,000 a night suite. Continuing to make waves after a long tradition of river cruising, Viking’s second blue-water vessel, the Viking Sea launched with much acclaim and awards for its design and service. New orders of luxury and upper premium ships show strength in these categories.

Expansion in the Asian market was on display with the Genting Dream, a new premium brand part of Dream Cruises. Exclusive “Dream Suites” on board feature European-style butler service, more ships will debut in Asia during the year. The Seabourn Encore, a Fincantieri new build is set to expand the line’s Odyssey-class trio with chic interiors by hotel and restaurant designer Adam D. Tihany closing out the year.

Among the new ships debuting in 2017, there is a long list entering the market that represent both innovation and customization benefitting the entire cruise community. The Norwegian Joy, NCL’s second ship in the Breakaway-Plus Class, will carry 4,200 guests as the first custom-built ship for the Chinese market. Luxury brand Silversea will debut its largest ship, the 596-passenger Silver Muse, delivering ultra-luxury cruising. Continuing its ongoing expansion, MSC Cruises will unveil not one but two new ships – the MSC Meraviglia and the highly anticipated MSC Seaside.