Celebrity Solstice during construction at Meyer WerftWhen will the next wave of new orders come, and where will they be placed? The candidates are Fincantieri, STX Europe and Meyer Werft. Mitsubishi has told Cruise Industry News that they are "not interested in entering the cruise-ship business at this time with the current strong market for newbuildings of conventional ships and the recent price increases on materials."

The bigger question that may concern the Italian and German builders as well as the shipbuilding communities in Finland and France is what are STX's intentions?

In little more than a year, Korean-based STX has gone from being a large shareholder in Aker Yards to owning the entire company. However, STX has given one concession – it has offered partial ownership in its French yards (formerly Chantiers de l'Atlantique) to the French government.

So far, STX has stated that it intends for its yards in Finland and France to specialize in cruise-ship building, but it is well known that Korean shipbuilders have been looking at the industry for some time – assumingly to build cruise ships in Korea. Since the infrastructure is in Europe, however, the ideal Korean solution may just be to maintain the status quo.

With an orderbook for cruise ships totaling 49 ships at press time (including options and announced plans), Fincantieri is building 18 ships; Meyer, 11; STX (Aker Yards), 10; and T. Mariotti, 3. In addition, three smaller ships are being built in North America. A shipyard has still to be selected for a tall ship. Plans for three more newbuildings have been announced, but no further details have been released.

Excerpted from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Fall 2008