There will be a record number of new ships introduced in 1990. Thirteen new ships will join the cruise fleet marketed primarily in North America increasing capacity by some 12 percent to a total of more than 93,025 berths.
At the same time, several lines have recently announced further newbuilding plans, including Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Effjohn International and Society Expeditions.
Late last year newbuildings were also announced by Holland America Line and Ocean Cruise Lines. In addition, Kloster Cruise and Cunard Line are said to be in the midst of negotiations.
Costa Crociere, parent company of Costa Cruises, has announced plans to introduce two new ships to its North American fleet. The CostaMarina, which originally was said to be intended for year-round Mediterranean sailings, will be deployed in Southern Florida in December for Caribbean cruises during the winter season.
Costa has also contracted Fincantieri to build a new 1,300-passenger ship, which is scheduled for Caribbean service from Southern Florida in December of 1991.
Costa has also placed what it calls a "tentative" order with Fincantieri for a second new 1,300-passenger vessel, estimated to cost $280 million, for delivery in mid 1993.
In addition, Costa is also reported to be converting a second containership. It will be a sister ship to the CostaMarina, which is also a conversion, and is expected to be delivered early 1992. The $112-million contract is with the Officine Mariotti.
Crystal Cruises has confirmed plans to build two more ships in the next three years. The line is scheduled to launch its first luxury ship, the 960-passenger Crystal Harmony this July.
According to Arthur Rodney, President of the line, Crystal Cruises is currently negotiating with yards in both Japan and Europe and expects to place the order within the next six months.
The new ships will be sister ships to the Crystal Harmony which is presently being built at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Nagasaki.
Effjohn International, parent company of Commodore Cruise Lines and Bermuda Star Line, has placed an order for two $100 million, 800-passenger cruise ships to be built at the Union Naval De Levante yards in Valencia, Spain.
Commodore will receive the first ship in the Spring of 1992 for operation in North America. This ship is replacing an agreement Commodore had with Marflet for a ship to built in Cadiz, Spain.
The second ship, similar in size and capacity, will be delivered in 1993 and will be used by Effjohn to "develop new cruise programs," according to a prepared statement.
According to Effjohn, the ships are designed to meet market demands for ambiance, quality of service and cruise programs that the new, 2,000-passenger ships do not fulfill.
The ships will have seven passenger decks served by four high-speed elevators. Plans call for 400 staterooms, 71 percent of which will be outside. All staterooms will open to extra wide hallways. In addition to the normal public rooms, there will also be a children's playroom, teenager's lounge, conference room, library, 450-seat dining room with full windows, and a show lounge, with unobstructed view from anywhere in the room.
The ships will also feature high temperature incinerators and a desalination plant.
Effjohn also recently purchased the 12,500-ton, 670-passenger Orient Express for $40 million. The ship, which is presently operated under the name EuroSun charter to Europe Cruise Line, another Effjohn subsidiary, will continue to be operated by this company, offering its traditional Venice-Istanbul program from May through October, and in the Canary Islands from November through April.
Commodore will continue to market the Eurosun's Canary Islands cruises and will in cooperation with Orient Express Hotels, increase marketing efforts in the U.S. of the Venice Istanbul Orient Express cruises.
By 1993, Effjohn will have six cruise ships, but executives here hinted that the company could be operating more ships in the next three years, including a third vessel for Commodore, which is expected to be a newbuilding. In addition, it is speculated that Effjohn is also interested in adding tonnage to Europe Cruise Line.
Discoverer Reederei of Bremen, parent company of Society Expeditions, has placed orders for the construction of two luxury expedition ships with the Finnish Rauma Repola yard. The two 6,000-ton, 188-passenger vessels, which will be built at a total cost of $149 million, are scheduled for delivery in July 1991 and July 1992.
According to Gisela Bruenig, Director of European Sales and Marketing, Discoverer Reederei also owns Society Expedition's World Discoverer and Society Explorer. Bruenig said that Society Expeditions would also operate and market the two new ships. Although the new vessels would initially be marketed mainly in the United States, she said they would eventually expand and include Europe and worldwide markets as well.
In 1989, 10 percent of Society Expeditions' passengers came from Europe, while 20 percent are anticipated in 1990.
The new ships will be built to the highest ice class specifications. With a length of 395 feet and a draught of 15 feet, they will be able to cruise at a speed of 17 knots. Each vessel will be equipped with four 50-person transport boats and 14 inflatables, which can accommodate 14 people in order to explore shallow shore waters.
Bruenig said that the new ships will "be in keeping with the family environment of the other two ships but we will be upgrading their comfort." The 188 passengers will be served by a total crew and staff of 130. Staterooms will measure about 180 square feet and will have large windows.
All air-conditioned staterooms will also have a telephone, television, mini-bar, marble-tiled bathroom complete with bath tub, and a double bed.
Some of the ships' features include a day saloon/show lounge; observation lounge/bar/nightclub; a la carte restaurant; cafeteria; gymnasium; swimming pool; sauna and whirlpool; beauty salon; and gift shop.
The new ships will cover a broad range of the market, adding capacity in virtually every segment and niche.
Most notable are perhaps the newbuildings announced by Holland America Line and Crystal Cruises which will be adding considerable new capacity to very upscale market now dominated by Royal Viking Line, Cunard/NAC, Cunard/Sea Goddess, and Seabourn Cruise Line.
Also significant is the anticipated growth of the expedition market where new ships will be introduced by Frontier Cruises and by Society Expeditions. In addition, Ocean Cruise Lines is developing expedition-style cruises in conjunction with Lars Erik Lindblad aboard the 400-passenger Ocean Princess.
Costa is clearly strengthening its position both in the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean, and Effjohn is sailing up as a new major player in the game.
The most notable trend in 1989/90 is that the whole cruise industry is upgrading its product. The cruise lines are not only building new ships, they are also spending millions of dollars refurbishing their existing vessels.