UBS Investment Research periodically publishes an evaluation of cruise capacity and where it is headed. In its current study, UBS said Carnival Corporation may be in discussions with shipbuilders for another Seabourn order, which could be announced before the end of 2013. The new ship is likely planned for 2017, as the analysts think Carnival is finished ordering for 2016, with three orders currently in place. In addition, Royal Caribbean International has an option that expires in December for a fourth Oasis-class order scheduled for mid-2018 delivery — another possible order that could be announced later this year.
UBS expects 3-4 percent compound annual capacity growth in North America for the period of 2012-2016, which is below the 10-year average between 2003 and 2012, which came in at just under 6 percent. Analysts are predicting about three percent average growth in 2013 and 2014, as all ordering for those years is now completed, and further withdrawals of existing ships are likely to be announced later.
Analyst Robin Farley pointed out that Carnival Corporation has reiterated its intention of scheduling delivery of two to three ships per year and has only two ships on order for delivery in each 2014 and 2015. Royal Caribbean had been maintaining capital spending discipline, with one ship on order for delivery in 2014 and one in 2015, and no ships scheduled to be delivered for 2013.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line exercised its option for a second Breakaway Plus ship for spring 2017 delivery — the line has the first Breakaway Plus order scheduled for October 2015. The two 4,200-berth vessels will be the largest in Norwegian’s fleet.
Another summer announcement came from Prestige Cruise Holdings, which announced in early July that the company has put in an order for a new 738-passenger all-suite, all-balcony ship for Regent Seven Seas. This will be the largest vessel in the fleet, driving close to 40 percent growth in capacity. Named Seven Seas Explorer, it is scheduled for delivery in summer 2016.
UBS notes that Viking Ocean Cruises has been in discussions for additional orders we may see later this year, related to the December 2012 Memorandum of Agreement with Fincantieri for the construction of two more ocean cruise vessels with an option for another two. Neither the shipyard nor Viking has announced an exact delivery date for the additional newbuild orders at this time, but UBS predicts the timing to be the end of 2016 and the end of 2017. Viking Ocean already has newbuilds scheduled to debut in May 2015 and early 2016.