Crystal SymphonyThe North American-based luxury lines were sailing with the current in 2006 and expect another good year in 2007. With things looking up, Seabourn Cruise Line ordered two new 450-passenger ships to be built by T. Mariotti, at a cost of $250 million each, for delivery in 2009 and 2010.

This optimism is in contrast to the fleet reductions that have taken place over the past few years with the Radisson Diamond and the Crystal Harmony leaving. In fact, Seabourn itself is believed to have been for sale.

“The new orders by Seabourn are an endorsement that the luxury market is viable, according to Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “The newbuilding order bodes well for the luxury market,” he said, “and the impact is only 900 berths spread over two years, which gives the luxury brands two more years to further consolidate their market positions. By comparison, in 2003, more than 2,200 berths were introduced in one year alone.

“More good news is that Seabourn is also a very disciplined competitor,” said Conroy. “They are not going to be a discount leader.”

Excerpt from the Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2006/2007