With 65,000 berths available during the 1993 season, the New England and Canada cruise market will experience a 35 percent increase in capacity. During the 1992 season, there were 48,000 berths available, which was a 20 percent decrease in capacity from 1991.

The reason for the 1992 decrease was the return of many ships to the Mediterranean after repositioning to New England and Canada during 1991's post-Gulf War season.

While the 33 percent increase from 45,000 berths in 1990 to 60,000 in 1991 was mainly because this region was viewed as safer than Europe, the 1993 increase is no longer due to this area being viewed as a last-minute second choice. However, even with this year's increase, capacity is still relatively small compared to the major cruising regions.

Leading Lines

Regency Cruises and Crown Cruise Line, which is in the midst of a merger with Cunard Line to become Cunard Crown, lead the region and together account for 47 percent of the market. Last year, the two had 41 percent of the market. Since 1990, Regency and Crown (or its former affiliate, Commodore Cruise Line, which bought the Bermuda Star Line ships which also plyed these waters) have dommated this market.

The majority of this year's increase will be from Cunard Crown, which is increasing its capacity by 11,000 berths. The line will be offering a full summer and fall season aboard both the 566-passenger Crown Monarch and the new, 820-passenger Crown Dynasty. In 1992, the Crown Jewel - which had just entered the market last summer -­ and Crown Monarch offered only a limited number of sailings to this region.

The other major increase is from the new addition to the market, Regal Cruises, which will be operating the Regal Empress. This 1,180-passenger ship is Commodore's Caribe I, which will be returned to its owner, Fred Kassner, on May 1. In mid-May, the ship will begin four- and five-night round-trip cruises from New York to New England and Canada. Ports of call include Martha's Vineyard; St. John, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor; and Newport.

The 836-passenger Regent Sun will return for Regency's fourth season in New England and Canada. Originally, the line's newrst addition, the Regent Rainbow was also to sail this area this coming season. However, early this year Regency announced that the Rainbow would continue to offer two- and five-day sailings from Tampa due to the popularity of the cruises-to-nowhere and Western Caribbean itinerary.

The Regent Sun sails seven- or combined 14- day voyages departing New York or Montreal. Approximately 25 percent of the passengers last season opted for the combined two-week voyage.

"We had very strong load factors and yields in New England and Canada last year, similar to Alaska, said Jack Chatham, Regency Cruies Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "While Alaska and New England and Canada offer natural beauty, the Northeast Passage also has a foreign influence in French Canada."

Other Changes

Princess Cruises is increasing cappacity by 2,000 berths by adding two first-time April and May sailings aboard the Royal Princes. Cunard Line has additional departures, during both the spring and summer season, aboard the QE2 and Sagafjord this season too.

Royal Cruise Line will slightly decrease the number of berths available due to the redeployment of the 790-passenger Royal Odyssey from New England and Canada to Europe. In her place will be the 460-passenger Golden Odyssey. Clipper Cruise Line, a traditional line in this region, is also decreasing the number of sailings from 24 in 1992 to six in 1993. Last year both the 102-passenger Nantucket Clipper and 138-passenger Yorktown Clipper cruised there; this coming season only the Nantucket Clipper will be there as Clipper is concentrating more on its adventure cruises.

There are a few lines which are extending their European seasons and will not return to New England and Canada. These include Crystal Cruises, Royal Viking Line, and Renaissance Cruises.

Other lines sailing in New England and Canada this coming season include American Canadian Caribbean Line, OdessAmerica Lines, and Seabourn Cruise Line. OdessAmerica will operate the Gruziya on weekly sailings out of Montreal June through October.

In addition, St. Lawrence Cruise Lines offers four and five-night river cruises aboard the 66-passenger Canadian Empress between Kingston, Ontario and either Montreal, Quebec, or Ottawa.

Homeports

Montreal and New York have the lion's share of homeporting vessels. The Regal Empress will be the only ship offering round-trip Canada voyages less than seven days from New York.

Like most other Canadian ports, Montreal's 1992 passenger counts of approximately 40,000 were slightly less than 1991; however, Montreal's numbers have doubled since 1989, a port spokesperson said. Recent port improvements to Iberville Terminal include better infrastructure for tour busses.

In addition to Montreal, some of the smaller ships will be homeporting in other ports. The Seabourn Pride will homeport in Boston while turn­ around ports for the Nantucket Clipper include Quincy, Massachusetts as well as Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Rochester, New York; and Quebec City.

Due to Seabourn homeporting in Boston last year as well as an increase in calls, Massport reported a 45 percent increase in passengers counted in Boston in 1992, for a total of 29,000 passengers compared to 20,000 the prior season. The port is also marketing itself to cruise lines sailing transatlantic from Scandinavia; Seabourn Pnde will sail from Copenhagen to Boston, prior to two New England and Canada cruises from Boston.

ACCL's Caribbean Prince and Mayan Prince cruise between Quebec City and Warren, Rhode Island, which is the line's hometown. Unlike the others, these two ships - which have retractable pilot houses and shallow drafts - do not sali to Canada via the coastal route but instead cruise the Erie Canal en route to the St. Lawrence Seaway.