With 35 cruise ships under construction or on order (or option) for deliveries through 2011, the three yard companies that build cruise ships are nearly fully occupied for the next three years, with slots only opening up for 2010 and beyond.

The current orderbook has an estimated value of about $21 billion, averaging approximately $199,240 per berth.

The Aker Group, consisting of Aker Finnyards and Aker SA, formerly Chantiers de l’Atlantique, has the largest orderbook valued at $8.8 billion for 12 ships. Fincantieri’s orderbook is valued at $7.6 billion for 14 ships.  And, Meyer Werft’s orderbook is valued at $4.6 billion for nine ships.

The Aker Group became the biggest builder of cruise ships when it acquired a majority interest in Chantiers de l’Atlantique this spring, and merged the French yards with its Finnish cruise-ship building facilities.

Eighteen of the ships are being built for Carnival Corporation, with seven going to Royal Caribbean Cruises, five to Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and five to MSC Cruises.

More orders are expected from these companies as they continue to grow the markets and as they need to renew their fleets.

Other companies are also planning new ships, including some of the luxury and start-up ventures.  Crystal Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises have all announced intentions to build. Also expected to build is Disney Cruise Line. Meanwhile, start-up easyCruise has announced plans to build six new ships, in addition to other companies looking to enter the cruise industry.

The smallest ships presently being built are the 68,500-ton, 2,030-passenger vessels for Germany’s AIDA Cruises, while Royal Caribbean International is building the largest, with its 160,000-ton, 3,600-passenger Freedom class, to be followed by the 220,000-ton, 5,400-passenger Genesis class in 2009.

Other cruise lines having joined the big-ship race include MSC with two orders for 133,500-ton, 3,300-passenger ships, and more recently, NCL, which ordered three 150,000-ton, 4,200-passenger ships.- Oivind Mathisen

Excerpt from the Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Fall 2006