RotterdamCruise capacity in the Mediterranean and Northern and Western Europe has increased by 24 percent and 5 percent respectively in 2007, due largely to European market leaders in the regions expanding, in addition to more North American lines deploying ships in European waters, as well as sourcing more from European markets.
European Capacity in the Med

In the Mediterranean, the second largest sailing region worldwide, according to Cruise Industry News (CIN), European capacity is up 22 percent over 2006, with 2,053,259 passengers.

Costa Crociere’s capacity is up significantly over 2006, with the debut of the Costa Serena, and the Concordia sailing for the entire year. MSC Cruises’ capacity is also up with the Orchestra debuting, in addition to the Musica sailing for the full year. Louis Cruise Lines sees an increase as well, mainly due to more sailings in the short cruise sector. AIDA Cruises, sailing with the larger AIDAdiva, also sees a boost in the region, as will Thomson Cruises, now with five ships, one more than in 2006, with the addition of Louis’ Calypso; and Ocean Village nearly doubled its capacity in the Mediterranean, with the Ocean Village 2 joining the fleet.

North American Presence

Cruise lines from North America are also continuing to increase their presence in Europe – most notably, Royal Caribbean, with an additional ship, the Navigator of the Seas, marketed in the U.K., and sailing in the Mediterranean. Princess is sailing with five Mediterranean-based ships in 2007, verses three last year, including the addition of the Emerald Princess; Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has a second ship, the Norwegian Gem; Holland America Line now has four ships in the region – one more than last year; and Disney Cruise Line’s Magic is in the Mediterranean this year as well. North American capacity in the Mediterranean is up 29 percent over 2006, with 898,442 passengers.

Northern and Western Europe

In Northern and Western Europe, European capacity is up 5 percent over 2006, with 794,325 passengers.

MSC’s capacity is up with the line sailing three ships this year: the Lirica, Rhapsody and Opera. And while Costa will have the same number of ships as last year, fewer sailings bring the line’s capacity down somewhat.

Among North American operators, Royal Caribbean is sailing the larger Navigator of the Seas from Southampton, instead of the Legend, as was the case in 2006. And Princess will again have the Sea Princess dedicated to the U.K. market. North American capacity in Northern Europe is up 4 percent over 2006, with 247,535 passengers.

2008 and Beyond

European operators will be significantly increasing their presence in the years ahead. In 2009, Costa will be adding the Luminosa, as well as unnamed vessels in 2009 and 2010, bringing its fleet to 15, and its annual passenger capacity to 1,202,990.

For MSC, with the addition of the Fantasia and Poesia in 2008, the Splendida in 2009, and the Magnifica in 2010, the line will have 11 ships, and carry close to a million passengers annually.

AIDA will also be adding to its fleet, with three more new ships by 2010 – the AIDAbella in 2008, and so far two more vessels – one in 2009, and one in 2010; and P&O Cruises will be adding the Ventura in 2008, as well as another newbuild in 2010.

In addition, Pullmantur is expected to grow under the ownership of Royal Caribbean, while Carnival is expected to grow Iberojet in the Spanish market as well. Looking further out, Carnival’s partnership with TUI is expected to tap the German mass market.

North American cruise operators will be increasing their presence as well.

In 2008, Princess will have six ships, one more than 2007.

Royal Caribbean will have seven ships – including the addition of the 3,600-passenger Independence of the Seas, sailing from Southampton from May through October – compared to six this year – and the Brilliance of the Seas, which will be sailing year-round from Barcelona.

Carnival Cruise Lines will have the Carnival Splendor in Northern Europe in July 2008, operating the line’s first-ever program in the region, in addition to the Carnival Freedom, which will be sailing in the Mediterranean from May through October.

NCL will have three ships in Europe in 2008 – the Norwegian Jade (ex-Pride of Hawaii) sailing out of the U.K., the Gem, sailing roundtrip from Barcelona, and the Jewel.

Celebrity Cruises will also have an additional ship in 2008, for a total of five.

Azamara Cruises’ Azamara Journey and Quest will both be deployed in Europe in 2008.

And Holland America Line will be adding a ship as well, bringing its total to five, compared to four in 2007.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly: Summer 2007