Ship Withdrawal Rate Not Expected to Accelerate

With a record orderbook of 93 new cruise ships extending out to 2026, existing ships are not expected to be withdrawn from service on an accelerated basis.

If anything, the withdrawal rate of retiring ships from major brands will slow, while capacity growth further accelerates.

At Royal Caribbean International, the line’s two oldest ships, the 1990-built Empress of the Seas and the 1992-built Majesty of the Seas, are suddenly the stars in the Caribbean’s hottest market: Cuba.

The country offers limited port infrastructure, meaning it cannot handle the latest generations of cruise ships.

The Majesty was set to transfer to Pullmantur in 2015, until a company reorganization saw Royal Caribbean decide to keep the ship. In 2016, the Empress was transferred back to Royal from Pullmantur service, and underwent an extensive refit.

Carnival Cruise Line is following a similar path.

The line’s popular Fantasy-class ships still make up a significant chunk of capacity. The company spent an estimated $85 million on Carnival Elation‘s refurbishment in September, adding new restaurants, waterslides, balconies and doing significant technical work during a month-long stay at Grand Bahama Shipyard.

This coming February, an even bigger refit is planned for the Carnival Paradise, a ship that entered service for the company in 1997.

The oldest ship in the company’s fleet, the Carnival Fantasy, built in 1990, already has a scheduled drydock set for January 2019.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s 1999-built Sky is another smaller ship, the only of its class for the Miami-based cruise line. The Sky is currently sailing an innovative program from Miami, offering an all-inclusive onboard product and overnighting in Havana.

View recent second hand ship sales and transactions on the Cruise Ship Sales and Transfers page. | A complete sales, transfer and withdrawal history is available in the Cruise Ship Second Hand Market Report.

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