Both capacity and the pace of newbuilding are increasing as cruise lines report record earnings across the board. The average size of ships on order is over 90,000 GT with capacity for 2,250 guests, at an average cost of USD 250,000 per berth.
Overall, 35 brands are represented in the current orderbook, led by MSC with 12 ships on order, Norwegian Cruise Line with 8 and Royal Caribbean with 5. Looking at the countries of build, 36 percent of the berths on order are in Italy, 25 percent in Germany and 20 percent in France. Notably, 2 ships (10,500 lower berths) are on order at SWS shipyard in Shanghai for Carnival Corporation.
The view remains positive when we focus on 2019. During the year, 24 cruise ships will be delivered, representing an increase of over 40,000 lower berths. This year’s deliveries will grow the fleet by 7 percent and represent an investment of USD 10 billion.
Three striking aspects of the orderbook confirm our predictions on market trends:
Growth in the number and size of refurbishment projects is also accelerating and the refurbishment market is increasingly playing an important role in yards’ strategic growth plans.
The main cruise destinations remain the Caribbean – with over a third of global capacity deployed in the area – followed by the Mediterranean and northern Europe. Asia, including China, is fast increasing to over 9 percent of global destinations. In line with growth in the expedition market, we also see that Arctic and Antarctic cruises combined represent just over 7 percent of destinations. These are attracting not only traditional cruise passengers but new Chinese market segments, with Chinese expected to surpass US guests on these routes by 2023.