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25 - Jan - 2014

Investment in new ships as the cruise market improves

Image from Wikipedia  

As the economy comes out of the doldrums, albeit slowly, and as growth in the cruise market in Asia improves, cruise operators have decided to start investing in new and upgraded ships.  Last week we reported that Brittany Ferries are investing in their new ‘green’ ferry; this week it’s the turn of Seabourn and Windstar Cruises!

Windstar Cruises gave us a sneak preview of their new ship, the Star Pride.  Although formerly the Seabourn Pride, this ship is undergoing comprehensive renovations and will be the first of three new ships for Windstar to double their fleet!  As well as all-suite accommodation and brand new furnishings in the 160 cabins, passengers will be able to enjoy updated public areas including the Yacht Club coffee bar and lounge, the Star Bar which is situated al fresco; the Veranda will provide breakfast and lunch dining with outdoor seating by day, and will transform to become Candles Grill by night; then there is the AmorphA formal restaurant, and not forgetting the Compass Rose, the place to be for nightly music and cocktails!  There will be plenty of activities available on the Star Pride, such as a water sports platform, kayaks and paddleboards, and water skis. 

The Star Pride is due to join the Windstar fleet in April, prior to its first sailing on 5th May.  Windstar has also announced that there will be a further two additions in 2015 - the Star Spirit and the Star Legend, both of which will undergo significant renovations.

Seabourn Cruise Line from Dover Cruise Port announced this week that they are building a new ship, which will be based on their popular Odyssey-class ships, weighing in at 40,350 tonnes, and will carry an extra deck with larger public areas to accommodate 604 passengers, the most of any of their ships!

This news probably comes as little surprise to many in the cruise industry, following the sale of three of their oldest ships last year to Windstar.  However, Seabourn confirmed suspicions and that Italian shipyard, Fincantieri, has been signed to build the vessel.  Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn, said:  “The new ship will continue the evolution that began with Seabourn’s fleet expansion, adding modern design elements and innovations consistent with Seabourn’s reputation for understated elegance.”

Following two years of constraint and challenges for the cruise market, there is definitely new hope, new investment, new management for many cruise lines, and new travellers in the wings.  Let’s hope it can be sustained!

By Oliver Derek