Royal's New Ship The Standard?

The news yesterday that Royal Caribbean is exercising its option to build another new ship again begs the question: Has the cruise industry discovered the customer’s tolerance for big ships?

The same cruise line that owns the two biggest ships “of the Seas”, the mighty Oasis and the equally mighty Allure.

They carry about 6,000 passengers each, although capacity is listed at 5,420. The new Royal Caribbean ships will carry 4,100.

Downsizing, perhaps?

Company Chairman and CEO issued this statement: “This confirms our continued confidence in the success of this new generation of ships and our strong conviction about the Royal Caribbean International brand.”

The “new generation” is called the Sunshine Class…as opposed to the Oasis Class. The first one of the ships with no names will arrive in 2014 and this latest new-build will come along a year later. At 158,000 gross tons, they are 70% of the size of Oasis/Allure, and they will carry 75% as many passengers.

If that’s not downsizing, how about economies of scale?

Oasis and Allure attracted massive attention because of their size, because some thought cruise ships were becoming more and more destination than transportation. None of the ships built in their wakes have even come close by comparison.

Look at the ships coming on board this year.

The Disney Fantasy, which arrived in New York this week (below), has a passenger capacity of 4,000, the same load as its year-old sibling, the Dream. MSC’s Divina, due in May, is at 3,959. Costa’s Fascinosa is 3,780. The Carnival Breeze, coming in June, maxes out at 3,690.

Those four — plus Disney’s Dream, Carnival’s Magic and three Freedom Class ships that used to be Royal Caribbean’s (and the world’s) biggest ships at 3,634 — give the cruise world 12 ships that can accommodate at least 3,500 passengers.

If you’re counting, you’ll know that’s only 11, so there is one missing. That would be the much-maligned Norwegian Epic, at 4,100. For all the things the cruise world said was wrong with this ship, maybe it had the capacity just right.

Carnival Glory
7 nights
June 3, 2012
Boston, MA (return): Portland, ME; Saint John, NB; Halifax, NS; Sydney, NS.
Inside $529

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One Response
  1. Jirout says:

    Cruise ships are becoming “more destination than transportation”… I like that. We took the Oasis two years ago and I never wanted to leave the ship. After seven days, I still felt like I didn’t have enough time to see everything. I loved it!

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