It’s a question worth asking, in line with a trio of developments I’ve noticed in the cruise line industry over the past week or so. Pray consider the following:
On February 27th, the highly respected Cruise Industry News website (www.cruiseindustrynews.com) ran a story about an upcoming, five week refit for a cruise ship at Spain’s Navantia Shipyard. The yard’s commercial manager commented that ‘this is going to be very heavy on the hotel side, as the vessel is being sold and modified to the new owner’s target market’.
While the website shied clear of naming any actual ship, the accompanying headline photo shows a ship in dry dock that is unmistakably either the Horizon or her sister ship, Zenith. Both are currently with the Spanish operator, Pullmantur.
Meanwhile, Celestyal Cruises appear to have an as yet unspecified charter for the Majesty, which will make a final, three day sailing for the line from Piraeus on April 27th. It would seem that negotiations have been going on for some time. Indeed, the ‘Celestyal’ prefix was never added to the ship at all after her long term charter to Marella Cruises ended last November.
And today, Genting Group announced the end of passenger sailings for it’s Superstar Libra, effective as of June 27th (see previous blog). The ship will be redeployed ‘to facilitate other arrangements for Genting Hong Kong’.
What do all of these three ships have in common, apart from a ‘destination unknown’ factor?
Well, all are in the 42,000-46,0000 ton range. All three have a passenger capacity from around 1400 to 1700 passengers. And all three are of a size that is becoming increasingly rare in the mainstream passenger ship market.
Could we be looking at the creation of a new, destination focused cruise line here?
Time will tell but, if so, then this is something that the mainstream cruise market is crying out for right now.
Stay tuned for updates.