2014 marks yet another year dominated by Carnival Cruise Lines for overall passenger capacity, according to the 2014-2015 Cruise Industry News Annual Report.
At double occupancy, Carnival is set to carry just under 4 million passengers, while Royal Caribbean International will carry its own personal best of 3.2 million guests.
But things get more interesting looking into the future, as Carnival is expecting one newbuild in 2016, while Royal Caribbean is taking delivery of three new 4,100-passenger ships over the next three years, with options for more, and another Oasis in 2016, again with options for more.
A conservative estimate, with four newbuilds on week-long cruises by 2016 for Royal, would push the line right over the 4 million passenger mark and near biggest brand status, as an option on another Oasis would deliver in 2018.
Having completed an ambitious newbuilding program in 2013, MSC Cruises moved into third place on the capacity charts, in a hotly contested race with Norwegian, Princess and Costa, which all carried roughly 1.4 million passengers last year.
These companies take a massive leap forward in 2014, with Norwegian taking over third place and posting a 19 percent capacity jump thanks to full-year operations for the Breakaway and the similar 4,000-passenger Getaway starting revenue service early in the year.
Princess adds a full year of service for the new Royal Princess, and will take delivery of the Regal Princess, leading to an 18.5 percent capacity jump for an estimated double-occupancy capacity of 1.65 million passengers.
Costa and MSC slot into fifth and sixth places, with Costa posting a 5.5 percent capacity gain on a newbuild to be delivered in October, while MSC loses ground as the only one of these four brands not to take delivery of a new ship in 2014.
MSC, however, will pick up some capacity as it adds cabins as part of a ship-stretch program to its four Lirica-class vessels over the next two years.