National Geographic Explorer from Lindblad (photo: Antonio Simas)Is the exploration and soft adventure due an expansion? According to the 2015-2016 Cruise Industry News Annual Report, the market segment only has four players with mass, that is, Hapag-Lloyd, Ponant, Lindblad Expeditions and Silversea, and only Ponant has new ships.

All the other operators are smaller, usually one-ship operators, or charterers. The only exception is Norway’s Hurtigruten, but it only has one ship dedicated to expedition cruising year-round.

With Lindblad’s acquisition by a financial firm and their stated intentions to expand, this may drive market expansion. The owners have stated that they want to build new ships, but so far the business model in this market segment has generally not supported the financial cost of newbuilds. The question is if that has changed?

In other market developments, Ponant acquired Travel Dynamics, which is folding its operations and passenger sourcing into the French brand.

About the Annual Report:

The Cruise Industry News Annual Report is the only book of its kind, presenting the worldwide cruise industry through 2025 in 350+ pages. Statistics are independently researched. See a preview of last year’s edition by clicking here.

The report covers everything from new ships on order to supply-and-demand scenarios from 1987 through 2021+. Plus there is a future outlook, complete growth projections for each cruise line, regional market reports, and detailed ship deployment by region and market, covering all the cruise lines.

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