The cruise industry is always growing but there are those cruise lines that are growing a lot faster than others which are really helping grow the industry. With new cruise regions opening up like Asia there are new possibilities for new ship orders and even totally new cruise line companies!
In this article we’ll look at the more established cruise operators and see what they are doing to expand and grow the industry. The cruise lines featured are not in any particular order and there are other cruise lines not mentioned that are also expanding.
Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL is currently one of the fastest growing cruise lines in the world and ever since the Miami based cruise line ordered the 156,000 ton Norwegian Epic in 2010 it hasn’t stopped! Before Epic NCL was only really known as the “freestyle” cruise line but Norwegian Epic started a new trend of ship orders. From that moment on Norwegian Cruise Line was here to stay and was a new journey to become one of the largest cruise lines in the world which in turn helps the industry.
The Breakaway class ships then became the main focus, starting with Norwegian Breakaway in 2013 and then Norwegian Getaway in 2014. When Breakaway first sailed after it;s christening in New York the entire cruise industry came alive with constant media reports on a brand new class vessel. Not just that but all new onboard features and experiences sailing from one of the worlds most iconic cities pushed the cruise industry onto a higher step.
And now the cruise line is continuing the trend with ordering 4 Breakaway Plus cruise ships. two of those orders have already been named Norwegian Escape and Bliss at 163,000 tons. The other two will be slightly larger at 164,000 tons. That means NCL will have a new cruise ship almost every year up until 2019! That will have a huge effect on cruise bookings and will possibly open up new itineraries in Asia.
MSC Cruises is a private company with its headquarters in Europe and that means it can expand without telling the world about its finances. This is exactly what MSC Cruises has been doing in recent years. The cruise line has ordered four ships to be built which will increase the options available for MSC and might even expand its offerings in North America. Not many Americans have cruised on MSC so this could bring an all new ball game to the region which will only benefit the cruise industry.
Two MSC future ships will be built by STX Europe in France and are expected to be the largest ever vessels built for the cruise line at 167,600 tons. Another two ships have also been ordered with the Italian ship builder Fincantieri. The Fincantieri builds are known as the Seaside project and is a totally new class at 154,000 tons. Larger ships mean more passenger bookings and new onboard innovations to help evolve the industry.
MSC Cruises is also in the middle of upgrading all of its Lirica class ships with a major “Renaissance Program” that’s adding more cabins and features. The ships will also be cut into two so a large block can be added in the middle to make the vessels even bigger. This will keep the dry dock yards busy all the way through until the end of 2015.
If you haven’t yet heard about this cruise line then its just matter of time! Star Cruises is based in Asia and pretty much dominates the region. The cruise line is owned by Gentling Hong Kong which also owns Norwegian Cruise Line. The company has experience within the industry and operates in all regions around the world.
Star Cruises currently has six ships in the fleet and the largest ship is only 75,000 tons but a new era for the Sian based cruise line will soon begin. It’s already ordered two huge new class cruise ships at 150,000 tons and these new ships will be purpose-built for the Asian market. This in turn could begin a new race in countries like China and Japan to build bigger and larger ships. Asian people are relatively new to cruising and if they catch on to the industry we could see a new type of cruise market for Asia cruises. Cruise Lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean have already shifted focus to Asia with new cruise ports being planned and new ship itineraries on the way. While many people have cruised the Caribbean and Mediterranean already they could now be seeking a new adventure and it could be with cruise lines like Star Cruises
It looks like larger ships are here to stay and with these we should see many new cruising experiences for new cruising regions. Asia will help grow the cruise industry with new and old cruise lines building new ships to take advantage of people in that region who might not yet of cruised. Also people wanting to experience something outside the usually cruising destinations will make the cruise lines innovate and expand further.
Feel free to post your views in the comments below and even mention a cruise line that you think is helping the cruise industry grow. Thanks for reading.
Photo By: Helgi Halldórsson