Twenty-six new cruise ships are presently on the orderbooks for more than $7 billion scheduled for delivery through 1998.

The latest orders were placed by Carnival Corporation which has recently ordered several new vessels, including another 100,000-ton, 2,600-passenger ship for Carnival Cruise Lines and a 62,000-ton, 1,320-passenger ship for Holland America Line. The $650 million order was placed with Fincantieri.

Earlier this month, Carnival confirmed a $600 million order with Kvaerner Masa-Yards, confirming orders for the seventh and eighth 70,000-ton, 2,040-passenger Fantasy-class ships for Carnival Cruise Lines.

The four ships are scheduled for deliveries in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

CCL

Carnival Cruise Lines will boost its capacity nearly 70 percent over four years and grow from its present nine-ship, 14,756-berth fleet to 15 ships and 28,116 berths, boosting its passenger capacity from an estimated 942,000 in 1994 to an estimated 1,682,600 in 1998.

At the same time, CCL will increase its share of the so-called contemporary market to 47 percent. Carnival is the only cruise line that is focusing exclusively on this market with a dedicated Las Vegas­ type product.

Princess Cruises is the only other cruise line that is building for this market segment and will introduce its 2,500-passenger ship in 1997. In the meantime, the other cruise lines traditionally in this market have been reducing their capacity in this segment.

HAL

The new Holland America Line ship will be larger than the four-ship Statendam-class which at 55,000 tons have a passenger capacity of 1,266. The new ship will also be faster with a top speed of 25 knots.

It is expected that the new HAL ship will be the first of another series of ships.

HAL can expect much more competition in the premium market than CCL in the contemporary market. Other cruise lines are also expanding dramatically in the premium market, including Celebrity Cruises, Princess and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and all four will have approximately the same passenger capacity.

A combined CCL HAL fleet of 27 ships and 39,941 berths will be able to carry more than two million passengers a year by 1998 which is estimated to be approximately 30 percent of the market by then.

However, Carnival Corp. may also withdraw HAL's Rotterdam from service in 1997. Company sources said that it will take up to $30 million to upgrade the ship and to meet the new SOLAS regulations. Previously, HAL executives have said that a decision on the Rotterdam's future would be made when the newbuilding was announced.

CCL may also withdraw or reposition its older vessels. including the Festival.

Consequently, the company's overall growth can be expected to be tempered by the withdrawal of older tonnage.

More new ships

Not yet included in the new ship orders is an option that Costa is expected to exercise at Bremer Vulkan. There are also reports that Crystal Cruises is likely to order another ship. In addition are two eagerly awaited orders from Disney Cruises.