In a historically weak contracting environment the cruise sector has seen a strong level of newbuild ordering and investment in the year to date, according to Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network.
Cruise lines have continued to expand their fleets, with new markets such as China in their sights. While a number of yards have benefitted from this firm level of newbuilding activity, they have all been European and the region remains dominant in the cruise sector.
In the first seven months of 2016, 17 cruise ships of a total 45,420 passenger berths have been reported contracted, already surpassing the 11 ships (33,788 berths) ordered in full year 2015.
Following low levels of ordering in 2008 and 2009, cruise investment has increased and an estimated USD 10.4 billion of orders have been reported in 2016 so far.
Generally, owners have been ordering larger cruise ships in recent years and over half of the vessels ordered in 2016 so far have a capacity of between 3,000 and 5,000 berths. Additionally, interest in smaller cruise ships of 1,000 berths or fewer increased and seven of these vessels have been reported ordered in 2016 so far.
In terms of capacity, European yards account for 98% of the global cruise orderbook with 54 ships of a combined 143,722 berths. Three German yards’, Italy’s Fincantieri Group’s and STX France’s shares of the orderbook total 35%, 31% and 19%, respectively, in passenger berth terms. However, the recent joint venture between Fincantieri, China State Shipbuilding Corporation and US group Carnival may see Chinese shipyards take a share of future orders, according to Clarksons.
“Year to date ordering in the cruise sector is already nearing full year records. Cruise lines have been investing heavily, many seeking to expand their operations in the Chinese market. In an otherwise challenging shipbuilding market, this has provided some good news for a number of European cruise shipbuilders,” Clarksons’ Christopher Pearce said.