New orders for cruise ships could be on hold for some time

Oct 7, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s official: The cruise ship ordering boom is on hold — perhaps for some time.

Citing the ongoing impact of the coronavirus crisis, the leaders of the world’s four big cruise companies on Tuesday said they had no plans to order new vessels anytime soon.

“I don’t think anybody should be concerned about (orders for) new ships being placed,” MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said at the keynote opening session of Seatrade Cruise Virtual, an online version of the cruise industry’s annual meetup. “We have enough already on order that must be delivered.”

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter.

Vago noted that MSC Cruises already had 11 vessels on order for delivery. The company announced a trio of shipyard deals for six new ships in January, just weeks before the cruise industry began shutting down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Vago’s comments came just moments after Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and CEO Frank Del Rio suggested the company wouldn’t be ordering new ships until 2022 at the earliest. The company already has nine vessels on order for its three brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

“I think I’ll take delivery of at least one vessel for those brands before I start thinking about additional orders,” Del Rio said.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line's 3,998-passenger Norwegian Encore. (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)
Norwegian Cruise Line and its sister brands have nine vessels on order for delivery through 2027. (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

None of the nine vessels that the three Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings brands have on order are due for delivery until 2022.

Royal Caribbean Group chairman and CEO Richard Fain and Carnival Corporation president and CEO Arnold Donald also suggested they wouldn’t be ordering vessels for some time.

Royal Caribbean Group is the parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea. Carnival Corporation is the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn and five overseas brands.

More Seatrade news: Cruise executives sound off on a U.S. cruise comeback

Cruise ships can take years to build, forcing cruise executives to forecast demand far in the future when ordering vessels. In the past few years, with the future of cruising looking bright, there was a frenzy of orders such as the one placed in January by MSC Cruises.

Now some of those ships may not be needed — at least in the near term.

Still, Fain noted that none of the cruise companies had canceled any of the orders — a sign they see demand for cruises rebounding relatively quickly after the COVID crisis has passed.

Fain noted that COVID-related disruptions at shipyards and their suppliers would result in delivery delays for vessels already on order, leaving less need for lines to order now for far-off years.

More Seatrade news: One cruise line says it may never bring back the buffet

“I think it’s a little early for us to start speculating on what happens (with orders) given the ships that we have on order are already going to take longer to deliver,” he said.

Longer-term, Fain made clear that he expected demand for cruising to grow strongly, resulting in a need for more ships.

“This is not (a situation where) the industry is going to tail off,” Fain said. “I think what you’re going to see is the industry will continue to grow. Once we’re past this crisis, people will see the value of cruising.”

Donald said something similar, noting that only 30 million people in the world take a cruise each year — a small fraction of the 500 million people he said took some sort of vacation annually.

More Seatrade news: This new shore excursion may be the most offbeat ever

“There are plenty of new ships on order, but to be honest with you, they are going to be needed,” Donald said. “There will be demand. There will be need for capacity. Shipbuilding will stay robust in terms of bringing new ships into the global fleets.”

In one more little tidbit of news that came out of the discussion, Del Rio suggested that the next ship order from his company would be for the Regent brand. He noted the company only had one vessel on order for the brand, a sister ship to the recently unveiled Seven Seas Splendor that’s due in 2023.

There currently are six ships on order for the Norwegian brand for delivery between 2022 and 2027. There are two vessels on order for the Oceania brand for delivery in 2022 and 2025.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.