Thursday, 31 March 2016

Whatever floats your boat - the unstoppable growth of themed cruises

Whatever floats your boat - the unstoppable growth of themed cruises


Rock band Kiss performing on a Kiss KruiseImage copyrightwill byington
Image captionKiss typically perform two shows per cruise
Not content with filling stadiums around the world, and selling more than 100 million records, the face-painted, fire-breathing US hard rockers also have their own navy.Show-stopping rock band Kiss were always going to go the extra - nautical - mile.
Every autumn Kiss hire a huge cruise liner to sail around the Caribbean for a week with 2,300 of their diehard fans. This year will be their sixth voyage, or Kiss Kruise VI.
The band perform two shows on the ship, and fans get to meet and hang out with the four band members.
There are 13 bars on board, plus 12 restaurants, a swimming pool, a gym, a spa, a casino, an indoor theatre and a tattoo parlour for getting a new Kiss ink work.
The Norwegian Pearl, which hosts the Kiss KruisesImage copyrightSixthman
Image captionEach Kiss Kruise sets sail from Miami
Members of the so-called Kiss Navy fly into Miami from around the world to attend, and Kiss vocalist and bass guitarist Gene Simmons says the cruise is one of the highlights of his annual calendar.
"It's rock and roll all night and party every day," he says. "Anyone who has ever been on one of our cruises comes back raving to their friends.
"Imagine 2,300 crazy friends, swimming, shopping, gaming and visiting exotic ports of call with us."
KissImage copyrightGetty Images
Image captionKiss perform both with and without their famous face paint on the cruise
While Kiss might not be to everyone's taste, the rock group has helped to transform the once staid world of cruise lines.
Whereas cruises were traditionally the preserve of elderly holidaymakers, over the past decade - and especially in the past five years - there has been an exponential growth in the number of "themed cruises" - cruises aimed at people with a specific interest.
This has opened up the world of cruising to a much younger demographic, and given the cruise industry hundreds of millions of dollars in additional earnings.
Gene SimmonsImage copyrightFrederick M. Brown
Image captionGene Simmons will even officiate at fans' weddings on the sailings
A Kiss fan gets a tattoo on a Kiss KruiseImage copyrightwill byington
Image captionSome Kiss fans get a new tattoo on the cruise
From music cruises - at which Kiss are leading the way - to cruises for people with specific political views, or cruises for poker players, or fans of Italian food, there is a ship sailing for pretty much everyone.
For example, if you are passionate about your constitutional right to bear arms, you might be tempted to join the Freedom Alliance and National Rifle Association's cruise down the River Danube in June. Guest speakers include US Republican politician - and former speaker of the US House of Representatives - Newt Gingrich.
Or if you are transgender, Transgender Vacations organises cruises around the Caribbean.
Disney holds regular sailings for fans of the Star Wars movies, where you can dress up as a stormtrooper or ewok and meet some of the actors.

'Intimate environment'

Howard Moses, founder and president of the Cruise & Vacation Authority, says that more than 700 themed cruises now set sail around the world each year, compared with less than 30 a decade ago.
"Themed cruises are absolutely by far the biggest growth area in the industry," says Mr Moses, whose organisation is based in the US state of Georgia.
People in a hot tub on a music cruiseImage copyrightWill Byington
Image captionMusic cruises are not just about listening to your favourite band
"It has enabled the cruise industry to reach beyond people who are our traditional customers, to people who are passionate about a certain subject.
"For music cruises, there can be a very young crowd.
"And for the political cruises we joke that the attendees are often people who said they would never go on a cruise, yet they have the time of their lives, and are the first to lead the conga line."
Hayley Williams, lead singer of rock band ParamoreImage copyrightWill Byington
Image captionRock band Paramore is another group which sells cruises
At Atlanta-based Sixthman, the world's largest organiser of music cruises, its communications manager Alaidriale Derway says the business has just wrapped up its busiest ever spring sailing season, with 10 back-to-back cruises.
Sixthman now has more than 500 acts on its books, including Kiss. Other acts for whom it organises cruises include Weezer, Paramore, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock.
The company charters the ships and helps to organise support acts.
Rock band Kiss and their fans on a Kiss KruiseImage copyrightSixthman
Image captionKiss fans also get to meet their idols
Ms Derway says: "More and more artists want to get involved.
"Cruises are a great way for artists to interact with their fans in a much more intimate environment, and collaborate with each other.
"In terms of the cost for a fan, they pay a set fee, and then pretty much everything is free except for alcohol and soda. All the food is included unless someone wants to pay for more speciality dining."
She adds: "Lots of people really hesitate to do the whole cruise thing, there is still a bit of a stigma attached, but you can really connect with people who are passionate about the same things as you are."
Game of Thrones tourists visiting one of its best-known locations in Northern IrelandImage copyrightGetty Images
Image captionGame of Thrones fans can now visit its British Isles sites via cruise ship (and a connecting bus)
While the music cruise industry is very much based in the US, themed cruises are also a growing phenomenon on the other side of the Atlantic.
Mike Bugsgang, chief executive of the UK-based Association of Group Travel Organisers, says there has been a big rise in the number of cruises that include visits to locations that have featured in well-known movies.
One such cruise organised by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is called "UK Scenes from the Silver Screen". Sailing around the UK and Ireland, the itinerary includes trips to settings from TV series Game of Thrones and the Harry Potter movies.
The Norwegian Pearl, which hosts the Kiss KruisesImage copyrightSixthman
Image captionSixthman uses vast ships for its music cruises
Back in the US, Kiss' Gene Simmons doesn't just have to prepare for performing live on the Kiss Kruise, he also has to brush up on his wedding officiating. An on-board extra for Kiss' hard-partying fans is the chance to splice more than just the mainbrace. They can tie the marital knot, with Mr Simmons or a fellow band member performing the service.
But one thing a Kiss Kruise is not is restful.
As Mr Simmons admits: "It's tough to get to sleep on the cruises... it is fair to say, both the band and the fans are completely exhausted once we leave the cruise."

Norwegian's ship in China to feature many firsts at sea

Norwegian's ship in China to feature many firsts at sea

Race Car Track

SHANGHAI — David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' China operations, revealed some of the features that will debut on the Norwegian Joy, a ship being built for the Chinese market.

Herrera made the announcement here during a keynote address at Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld China.

Although Joy is a sister ship to the Escape, it will offer several “first-at-sea” features related to activities, hotel, service and gaming.

Some attractions — a formal tea room and an upper-deck Serenity Park — are what one might expect on a ship built for Chinese guests.
Guests can ride hover craft bumper cars at the Galaxy Pavilion.
Guests can ride hover craft bumper cars at the Galaxy Pavilion.

But other features would seem to fit ships sailing the Caribbean equally well.  The Joy’s highest-profile attraction, literally, will be a two-level race track on the top decks in which 10 guests in electric carts will compete in a 5-6 minute race. (NCL is in discussion with possible partners whose logos would adorn the cars, Herrera said.)

Autos are also front-and-center in a Formula 1 attraction. Race cars have been converted into individual three-screen simulators displaying famous race tracks from around the world.

Deck 16 activities will include Oculus virtual reality technology in several variations, including walking a plank between buildings, hang gliding and a design-your-own roller coaster module.
Oculus technology will be installed on additional new ships going forward, Herrera said.

Motion simulation will be the attraction in a colorful fleet of Star Wars Battle Pods.
The Haven's observation deck will have views "as good as the captain's."
The Haven's observation deck will have views "as good as the captain's."

Laser tag, a giant touch screen for young children, hovercraft bumper cars, wider-than-ever waterslides with transparent panels that go over the side of the ship and several karaoke rooms complete the new activities offerings.

On the hotel side, a new level called Concierge will be built above the Haven. It will not be as luxurious as the Haven but will have unique features, including a new suite class with two bedrooms and a simulated balcony.

Both the Haven and Concierge will have observation decks whose views, Herrera said, are “as good as the captain's.”

The ship will feature many more family friendly suites and rooms with connecting doors than on any previous NCL ship, Herrera said. He added that the new room configurations reflect the  Chinese tendency to travel with multiple generations.

Studio cabins for singles, a feature of every NCL ship since the Epic, will not be on the Joy.
A bathroom in a Concierge suite.
A bathroom in a Concierge suite.

The ship will, however, feature the highest crew-to-passenger ratio of any contemporary-class ship, in part because it will carry 250 fewer passengers than the Escape. (Herrera said that additional staff was also hired.) The space occupied by some cabins that had been on the Escape has been given to the casino and shopping areas.

The 29 restaurants onboard will include one for Korean barbecue as well as a Japanese shabu-shabu restaurant. Herrera declined to say how many of the restaurants will be specialty dining requiring a surcharge.

“It’s about bringing best of east and west together,” Herrera said, summing up all the changes.
More details will be announced in the coming months, he added, including the names of luxury store brands.
A Concierge suite bedroom.
A Concierge suite bedroom.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ executive vice president for international development, Harry Sommer, said that the Chinese operation has renamed itself from “Norway Cruise Line,” as it was known in China, to three characters which phonetically sound like “Norwegian” but which translate to “promising, exclusive and authentic.”

The characters for the word “Joy” represent “Inner Joy,” Sommer said.
The Norwegian Joy is due to enter service in summer 2017.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Disney Cruise Line's Star Wars sequel will be bigger

Disney Cruise Line's Star Wars sequel will be bigger

Disney add Extra Star Wars Days.

Disney Cruise Line said it will nearly double the number of Star Wars Days at Sea when it expands the event in early 2017.
This year there were eight Star Wars Days scheduled on the Disney Fantasy on eastern Caribbean itineraries. The days feature appearances of Star Wars characters; a deck party and fireworks; Star Wars-themed family and youth activities; at-sea screenings of Star Wars films; and themed food, drink and merchandise. 
Next year, the concept will be expanded to western Caribbean itineraries and there will be 15 Star Wars Days. Departure dates for cruises are: Jan. 7, 14, 21, 28; Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; March 4, 11, 18, 25; and April 1, 8 and 15.

Refurbished Pride of America 'essentially a new ship'

Refurbished Pride of America 'essentially a new ship'

T0404PRIDEEASTWEST_HR.jpg
The refurbished East Meets West restaurant.

The Pride of America, Norwegian Cruise Line's ship in the Hawaiian Islands, has returned from a drydock during which the ship received new venues, redesigned public spaces and refreshed d├ęcor.
The cruise line's president, Andy Stuart, calls the Pride "essentially a new ship."
“This is much more than just a fresh coat of paint and new drapes," Stuart said.
Every stateroom received new bedding, new furniture, new flat-screen televisions and updated flooring.
New venues include the Soho Art Gallery, featuring works of art available for purchase; the Perspectives Photo Studio; and Dolce Gelato. The ship’s wedding chapel is in a new location on deck six with new flooring, furniture and wall fixtures.
The new Perspectives Photo Studio.
The new Perspectives Photo Studio.
The ship’s pool deck underwent a refurbishment with a refinished pool, new loungers and Jacuzzis.
The Skyline main dining room got a new entrance, new carpet design, new furniture upholstery, new window drapes and new columns throughout the restaurant. La Cucina, Norwegian’s signature Italian restaurant, is now an "elegant and intimate venue," Norwegian said.
The ship’s specialty restaurants East Meets West, Cagney’s Steakhouse and Jefferson’s Bistro also received enhancements.
Menus in all dining outlets offer additional choices, Norwegian said.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Royal Caribbean to charge for high-speed Internet on Majesty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean to charge for high-speed Internet on Majesty of the Seas


Royal Caribbean International said it plans to charge for Internet connection on the Majesty of the Seas when it returns from drydock.

Previously, Royal Caribbean had advertised the high-speed Voom internet as being free on the ship, which will do short cruises from Port Canaveral after the April refurbishment.

While in drydock, the Majesty will receive an expanded pool bar and poolside movie screen, family hot tubs, a kids-only pool area with the Splashaway Bay aqua park, and upgraded cabins. Royal Caribbean said the need for those investments precluded offering Voom for free.

For a limited time, however, free Voom will be available to acknowledge the previously advertised service. On cruises from May 15 to July 1, it will be included in the cruise fare. Passengers who booked before March 15 for sailings anytime after May 15 will also get free Internet.

Although they vary by ship, Voom packages typically cost about $15 a day. 


Carnival Vista to have brewery on board

Carnival Vista to have brewery on board

Miami-based Concrete Beach is a craft beer brewery located in the Wynwood Arts District. 

Carnival Cruise Line said three beers will be brewed aboard the Carnival Vista.

The Vista, entering service in May in Europe, is the first cruise ship to sail for a U.S. brand with its own brewery aboard.

The beers, produced in partnership with Concrete Beach Brewery in Miami, will be ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin’ IPA, ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat and FriskyFrog Java Stout.

Carnival described ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin’ IPA as having "aromatic, floral and hoppy notes with passion fruit and citrus overtones" while ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat is an unfiltered lager with aromas of bananas and spices. The third beer, FriskyFrog Java Stout, is rich and creamy with hints of coffee, Carnival said.

Concrete Beach is an Alchemy & Science brand, an independently operating subsidiary of the Boston Beer Company, Carnival said. The company’s Rica Wheat IPA is already served on other Carnival ships and regional brews are served on ships sailing from Miami; Long Beach, Calif.; and New York.

Pensioner rescued after trying to swim to cruise ship

Pensioner rescued after trying to swim to cruise ship


A British pensioner was rescued from the Atlantic after trying to swim to a cruise ship after the vessel left port without her.

Susan Brown, 65, jumped into the water off Madeira after she changed her mind about leaving the Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ ship Marco Polo with her husband.

She was rescued about 500 metres from the shore by fishermen who heard her cries for help.
She had been in the icy water for four hours and was reported to be recovering from hypothermia in hospital in Funchal.

The pensioner and her husband Michael Brown reportedly had a row on Saturday and asked to leave the cruise early and fly back from Madeira to Bristol.

She appears to have changed her mind at the airport and tried to swim out to the ship which had already left the port.

The ship docked in Madeira on Saturday at 8am and was due to depart later the same evening. The couple asked to leave the ship before the end of the 32-night voyage from the West Indies.
Felix Marques, the Funchal port captain, told Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha: “She was 500 metres from the coast when fishermen heard her shouting. When they reached her she was clinging to her handbag.”

Mr Brown is thought to have returned to Madeira to be with his wife.

A local newspaper, the Jornal da Madeira, reported: “It appears a woman failed to return to the ship at 8pm and instead decided to go to the airport to catch a flight.

“When she reached the airport, she saw the ship passing and threw herself into the sea with the aim of getting back on the vessel.”

Monday, 28 March 2016

Big changes in Cuba, but infrastructure needs to catch up

Big changes in Cuba, but infrastructure needs to catch up

T0328CUBAKEMPINSKI_JJ_HR.jpg
Kempinski is refurbishing the Hotel Manzana de Gomez in Old Havana. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill

In advance of President Obama’s historic trip to Havana this week, his administration made perhaps the most significant changes so far to the regulations surrounding Cuba tourism by allowing Americans to visit the island without being a member of a tour group. 
On its face, the rules about what U.S. visitors can do in Cuba don’t change: Individuals are only allowed to travel to Cuba for one of 12 reasons, including “people-to-people educational” trips. But on people-to-people trips, they no longer have to travel with a licensed group. 
Regular tourism to Cuba is still technically illegal, but the rules are essentially unenforceable. Americans will be able to travel on their own in Cuba by self-certifying via an affidavit that they are conforming to the regulations, which the Department of the Treasury defined as “a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities and that will result in a meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba."
Ronen Paldi
Ronen Paldi
Tour operators to Cuba said last week that they were not concerned about the effects of the new rule on their business. Even if the embargo were lifted tomorrow, they said, the island is sorely lacking in the infrastructure necessary to accommodate a mass influx of individual travelers. 
“Cuba is facing tremendous challenges,” said Ronen Paldi, the president of Ya’lla Tours USA, which has been operating in Cuba since 2002. “In the last 15 to 16 months, the administration is doing all this easing of the restrictions. But what has not changed is the infrastructure in Cuba. Hotels are full, completely sold out until May 2018. Prices are going up, space is becoming more and more limited.”
Diane Mullahy, the president of in Framingham, Mass., has been building a Cuba business since regulations first relaxed last year and has had to contend with a lack of rooms and restaurants. 
“The problem is travel there has increased 70% since last year, and there are not enough hotels, and each time I go the restaurants are packed,” she said. “It’s just so busy. They have a long way to go.
Diane Mullahy
Diane Mullahy
“I have clients go down, and I tell them anything can happen. You have to be flexible.”

Another major impediment to the ease of traveling individually is that even though the Obama administration last year made it legal for credit-card companies to operate in Cuba, U.S.-issued credit cards are still not usable on the island, and U.S. banks have not enabled ATM withdrawals there, meaning everyone has to go with cash only. 

“The problem is that, so far, relatively few U.S. banks have been willing to go through the process of making arrangements with the Cuban government and with Cuban merchants to actually accept U.S. credit cards,” said William LeoGrande, a professor at American University. “The profit margin is small, and they are afraid of large fines from the Department of the Treasury if they inadvertently violate the embargo.” 

And while the Obama administration said the change was intended to make educational travel to Cuba more accessible and less expensive for Americans, so far the opposite is true. 

“We’ve seen costs increase by 40% and 20%, respectively, over the past year,” said Tom Popper, president of Insight Cuba. “If demand increases, it’s more likely we will see prices increase even more.” 

But for some businesses, the relaxed regulations are a boon.
Tom Popper
Tom Popper
Havana-based Cuba Travel Network has specialized in individual travel to Cuba since 2002. Founder and CEO Eddie Lubbers, who is Dutch, said that while his business is predominately non-Americans, that is changing: Americans represented 6% of his business in 2014, a number that shot up to 23% in 2015. With the recent changes, he expects the U.S. portion to grow to as much as 50% of his business. 

The company is ideally positioned to take advantage of the recent changes because it enables travelers to book individual components in Cuba, such as hotels, flights and cars online, and also offers individual itineraries that fall into the categories under which people can legally travel. 

Lubbers said the U.S. travel agent side of his business is also growing, with agents using Cuba Travel Network to book entire itineraries for small groups or individuals and receiving commission.
“It gives them a perceived expertise in the market,” he said. 

While the changes may mean the opening of new businesses geared toward individual Cuba travelers, Paldi is among the long-time operators who noted that having years of relationships and experience in Cuba means more than ever right now, especially with hotel space so limited. 

“We can service you [last-minute] because we have access to what’s available and what’s not available,” Paldi said. 

Lubbers added that Cuban leaders recently made it clear at events in Europe that they respect companies that have been doing business in Cuba during the last 20 years.

“Agencies will spring up and say, ‘We are going to offer travel to Cuba,’ ” he said. “They may be able to do that from the demand side, but from the supply side it’s more difficult.”

Monday, 21 March 2016

Royal Caribbean's new Miami cruise terminal to be work of art

Royal Caribbean's new Miami cruise terminal to be work of art

Royal Caribbean's facilities are situated at the start of the cruise ship row, so its new terminal will be the first port building anyone sees as a vessel enters the harbor.

FORT LAUDERDALE — Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) is reviewing submissions from five internationally recognized architects competing to design its new terminal at the Port of Miami.
The 170,000-square-foot space will be radically different from what most cruise terminals look like. The designs are highly unusual for RCCL, which like most cruise companies prioritizes function and economy in terminals, which are typically designed by engineering firms, not architects.
John Tercek, RCCL's vice president of commercial and new business development, said the company was taking a different approach on this terminal because the project has several additional benefits.
“Because of its location, it has some marketing value, and it’s also a good thing for Miami, so we can spend a little more,” Tercek said.
Tercek previewed some of the renderings from a design competition during a breakout session at the Seatrade Cruise Global conference here. He described one, by New York firm Aedas, as looking like a giant, bright blue Transformers toy.
A second proposal, from Copenhagen-based Bjarke Ingels Group, which designed the World Trade Center Two project in New York, took its inspiration from the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall on Miami Beach.
“They kind of stacked all those canopies from Lincoln Road,” Tercek said. “That was pretty cool. Then they put a park inside. A cruise terminal with trees inside.”
Tercek described a submission from avant-garde architect Zaha Hadid as “very futuristic,” with a concert space inside. A proposal from Broadway Malyan of Singapore is a basic box with lots of abrupt angles grafted on.
A fifth plan, from New York-based Asymptote Architecture, is also a basic box but with a reflective drape. Tercek said it would have “a billion LED lights on it,” so that every night would offer a different light display.
Situated at the start of the cruise ship row, it will be the first port building anyone sees as a vessel enters the harbor.
“All the traffic going to Miami Beach on the MacArthur Causeway passes it,” said Hydi Webb, the assistant director of business development and marketing for the port. “Everyone is going to be intrigued by it.”
Royal Caribbean International plans to move a 5,200-passenger Oasis-class ship from its current base at Port Everglades to Miami to occupy the terminal, so there were functional criteria the designers had to meet in terms of drop-off areas, traffic circulation, luggage lay-down and check-in times.
Tercek said RCCL isn’t giving up on economy. “We think we’re going to be able to come within about 15% of what a basic warehouse terminal would look like, but we’re going to have a world-class facility on the waterfront,” he said.
One such basic design, the company’s recently completed terminal at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J., cost about $70 million, Tercek said.
RCCL is working under a memorandum of understanding to develop the terminal, which would be owned and operated by RCCL on land leased from Miami-Dade County. The process is expected to conclude in a couple of months with a single design that would go to the county for approval.
Miami has typically been the world’s busiest cruise port. In 2014, it handled nearly 4.9 million passengers.
Tercek said the new terminal should be completed in 2018. The Seatrade convention has moved temporarily to Fort Lauderdale while upgrades are made to the Miami Beach Convention Center.
“So by the time we go back to Miami in a couple years for the next cruise convention, this facility will be ready, and we’ll probably have some event there to celebrate,” he said.

Former HMS Bronington, Last of the Royal Navy’s Ton-Class, Sinks Next to Dock in England

Former HMS Bronington, Last of the Royal Navy’s Ton-Class, Sinks Next to Dock in England

Photo credit: Phil Owen
Photo credit: Phil Owen
Thanks to http://gcaptain.com/

A historic minesweeper formerly belonging to the Royal Navy has sunk while moored at Vittoria Dock in Birkenhead, England where it has been laid up for years.
The Bronington, one of the last vessels in the Royal Navy’s Ton-class, was discovered to have sank sometime between Thursday and Friday. 
A witness told gCaptain on Friday that he last saw the vessel afloat Tuesday, but by Friday the ship had partially sank next to the dock in an upright position and was starting to roll onto its side.
HMS Bronington
Photo credit: Phil Owen
The HMS Bronington was launched for the Royal Navy by Cook, Welton, and Gemmel shipbuilders in Yorkshire, England in 1953 and remained in active service until 1988. In 1989 the vessel was purchased by the Bronington Trust, a charity dedicated to her preservation and display to the public. The minesweeper was brought to Salford Quays and later opened to the public in 1992, but ownership eventually transferred to Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and the ship has been been laid up at Vittoria Docks since 2011. 
Interestingly, HMS Bronington was also the first and only ship commanded by Prince Charles, who served in the Royal Navy for over five years and spent nearly a year in command of the minesweeper in 1976.
Between 1953 and 1960, about 119 of the wooden-hulled Ton class minesweepers were delivered to the Royal Navy and later used by other navies.
More photos of the Bronington can be found on Phil Owen’s website.

Cruise CEOs say ship renovations key to maximizing revenue

Cruise CEOs say ship renovations key to maximizing revenue

Enchantment of the Seas
FORT LAUDERDALE — The cruise industry will increasingly emphasize growth in revenue yields rather than the number of cabins and ships it is adding, according to the CEOs of its top companies.
Four chief executives spoke together on a panel at the annual Seatrade Cruise Global convention, held for the first time this year at the. 
“You’re going to see a more balanced approach to building new ships,” said Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. More dollars will flow toward maintaining the existing fleet at the highest level so that higher prices can be supported fleetwide, he said.
"We have no choice,” chimed in Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp. “The fastest we can grow is at about 6% a year, even with the largest ships. And there’s only so many shipyards.”  
Donald said investors in any of the companies represented on the panel would not be satisfied with a 6% return on investment. So attention is turning to investing more in existing ships to bring up yields and to introduce innovations that customers will pay extra for.
In sheer numbers, Carnival's fleet has already plateaued. Since mid-2011, Carnival Corp. has added only one net ship to its 101-ship fleet, according to a presentation by Giora Israel, Carnival’s senior vice president of global port and destination development. But in that timeframe, it has added 32,000 berths because bigger new ships are taking the place of smaller old ones. 
Arnold pointed out that new ships on order are increasingly split between China and other markets, which means growth from North America could only be 2-3% a year if it had to depend solely on new capacity.
On another topic, the CEO panel agreed that cruises to Cuba, while of high interest, await approvals from the Cuban government.  And they said the infrastructure to support cruise tourism is lacking for anything larger than mid-sized ships.
MSC Cruises, which is privately owned and headquartered in Geneva, is currently the only major cruise company sailing in Cuba. Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said that when its 2,150-passenger MSC Opera ship docks in Havana, the 275-meter ship (about 902 feet) overhangs the end of the pier by about 80 meters (about 262 feet).