For the first time since 2008, Caribbean capacity will be down year-over-year. Three hundred thousand people will be the difference, as Caribbean capacity dips to just about 8.8 million passengers, according to Cruise Industry News.
Most of that dip comes from a decision by Royal Caribbean International to take the Allure of the Seas to the Western Mediterranean, as well as move the Quantum of the Seas into China. Without those two vessel re-deployments, Caribbean numbers would be up slightly over 2014, a year that saw a 13 percent capacity increase on a major dip in Europe.
Sun, sand, stable geopolitics, short itinerary legs and lots of affordable airlift have propelled the Caribbean in recent years.
Problems in Europe have driven capacity back to the Caribbean in the summer, but pricing has yet to materialize.
Add in more new ships, and there will be more tonnage carrying more passengers in the Caribbean.
With the orderbook surging for the big cruise lines for 2016, 2017 and beyond, and a short list of winter cruising options, Caribbean destinations should be looking forward to a bright future.
They are certainly expecting it, as leading islands talking to Cruise Industry News all mentioned major infrastructure improvements to accommodate more and bigger vessels.
While one new ship may be heading to China in the form of the Quantum, of five newbuilds delivered in 2014 (Royal, Norwegian, TUI, Princess, Costa), the majority of that capacity is in the Caribbean for the winter season.