Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line are looking beyond the Caribbean region as both brands continue to bring out new tonnage, company officials said last week.
"We are going to invest in our future," said Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison, "so you shouldn't be surprised to see new orders for both lines." Arison said that Carnival Corp., which recently purchased a more than 29 percent stake in Airtours, and thus has a foothold in the European market, also has interest in moving into the Far East.
"We have held discussions with a number of Far East operators; however, we haven't found any partners... that doesn't mean we won't," Arison noted. "We can operate ships anywhere in the world, but we are not experts in marketing in the Far East region."
Meanwhile, Carnival Corp. will "work closely with Airtours on its fleet expansion, whether it be vessels from the Carnival fleet or outside," said Arison.
The fact remains that as newbuildings come on and both brands increase their past passenger bases, new destination regions are critical.
"We will be forced to expand itineraries whether it be on the East Coast, Alaska or Panama Canal," added Carnival President Bob Dickinson.
Holland America's President Kirk Lanterman agreed. "We think definitely moving ships out of the short Caribbean market is the thing to do... longer cruises are more complementary (to Holland America clientele), but at the same time we must protect our position in Alaska.
"However, we will move sufficient tonnage out of the seven- and 10-day Caribbean market in consideration of our past passengers who want a portfolio of different destinations."
If new orders are entered, however, they will not exceed the Carnival Destiny size by any significant amount because of service and operational limits, as well as port logistic considerations, according to Carnival executives.
"It's possible to go a little larger, but this is about the end as far as how large we can go with a ship," Arison noted.