Seventeen new expedition ships have been ordered for delivery between 2018 and 2021, according to the 2017 Expedition Cruise Market Report.
The orders represent some six established brands, plus a company that makes its living chartering to tour operators.
In addition is Silversea, which has gone from one to four expedition vessels in short order, acquiring existing ships and this fall, converting the Silver Cloud for polar use.
For a segment that makes up less than 1 percent of the global pie in terms of capacity, the expedition market is making a lot of noise and represents more brands than any other segment of the mainstream cruise industry.
One look around the industry shows Ponant may have been ahead of the game. The French company quickly built four Boreal-class luxury expedition vessels between 2009 and 2013, and has four more, slightly smaller ships, joining the fleet in pairs. The first two come in 2018 and the next two in 2019.
The glut of new capacity coming in is being driven by a multitude of factors.
An aging Western population with money to spend wants to travel, and in some cases, has checked the usual cruise locations off the list – and now wants to see Antarctica, for example. Not wanting to lose repeat customers, some brands are investing in additional capacity.
Then there are the numbers. An expedition cruise commands high per day rates and has a relatively modest expense profile when it comes to port costs.
Among the challenges for these brands will be setting themselves apart in a growing and crowded market, as well as sourcing more and more passengers for high-cost voyages.
The expedition segment is poised to occupy the highest level of the product pyramid, and with new and innovative ships, should be very appealing to a specific demographic of passengers.
Excerpt from the 2017 Expedition Cruise Market Report.
About the Expedition Market Report
The 2017 Expedition Cruise Market Report is a comprehensive PDF report detailing the quickly expanding expedition cruise market.
It includes capacity projections through 2027, and profiles of 17 major players with exclusive reporting, research and interviews.
There is also a trends report, original research and a look at the new ships, plus much more.