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Fleet Discussion: Possible Retirements

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I was searching around the internet for information on NCL’s new Project Leonardo ships that are due to be delivered between 2022 and 2027, and it got me to thinking about whether they will be retiring some of the smaller, older ships.  Currently, they are stating that the Leonardo ships are going to be in the 140,000 gross tonnage class, which makes them slightly smaller than the Breakaway class (145,655 tons), but significantly smaller than the BA+ class ships.  However, these new ships will be much bigger than the older, smaller ships currently in the fleet.  The longest they have ever operated a ship was the Starward at 27 years, and the Norway and the Sunward II at 24 years.  However, the more recent retirees (Wind, Dream, Majesty) were only in the fleet for 14, 16 and 12 years, respectively.  The current longest running ships are the Sun (18 years), the Star (18 years) the Dawn (17 years), and the Sky (16 years).  The oldest and smallest ship is the Spirit, built in 1998.

So, just looking for opinions:  What ships do you think they may retire in the near future, if any?

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It is a possibility. It really will be determined if the ships are still making money for NCL. These smaller ships are serving a niche market. I could see a ship eventually being based out of LA year round. Plenty of under served areas of potential.

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Agreed. You'll likely see most of them, if not at all, stay on and be home-ported in undeserved markets. This could be LA (as mentioned above), Charleston, Newport, Galveston, etc. If any were to be retired, my guess would be the Star given that its had its fair share of maintenance and performance issues.

 

Another possible outcome is that they "revitalize" these older ships much like Carnival and Royal are doing with their older ships. I don't mean just replacing carpet and the paint, but true "renovations" like the others have done. 

 

As a Bostonian, I know that the Boston to Bermuda is very successful so hoping that a Breakaway/Breakaway+ or Leo ship make their way here. I am pretty sure the harbor is deep enough for any of these classes as the Allure of the Seas has visited here before. 

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Only guessing, but not thinking any will leave anytime soon.  There were reports/speculation of Sky and Spirit leaving (Sky was even for sale at one time) but when you see the big lines like Carnival running ships from 1990 and a bit newer (although they look pretty tired and should join the 1950s cars in Cuba) it seems that if they can fill them and make some money they won't go anywhere.

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NCL just got through investing significant $$$ to refirb all of the small ships. These were not cosmetic touch-ups, they were major overhauls. Now they are like a car you get from Carnax, drive them until they die. 

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2 hours ago, BirdTravels said:

NCL just got through investing significant $$$ to refirb all of the small ships. These were not cosmetic touch-ups, they were major overhauls. Now they are like a car you get from Carnax, drive them until they die

 

Yikes!  Would not want to be on the cruise when they "drive them until they die"!!  :classic_biggrin:

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, BirdTravels said:

NCL just got through investing significant $$$ to refirb all of the small ships. These were not cosmetic touch-ups, they were major overhauls. Now they are like a car you get from Carnax, drive them until they die. 

Exactly.

All of the NCL ships are in great shape.  Their oldest ship Sky was built in 1999.  Carnival has ships still afloat built in the mid 90s.  After spending all that money on dry dock, no ship is leaving the NCL fleet especially when NCL keeps expanding and needing more ships.  The smaller Sky fits perfect for the shorter Bahamas cruises.  No need to change what works.

Edited by david_sobe

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As long as there are niche markets to fit the ships like the Sun and Sky into they will be in the fleet - or until they become so obsolete that they can't survive a large rehab. I see NCL becoming a world wide cruise line with ships being homeported around the world. I also see them being able to enter new markets with a staged approach - send in a small ship to test the market and if it is successful- bring in a larger ship - don't have another Joy.

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As NCL competitors continue to build their fleets, there will be over-capacity issues in some markets.  I anticipate there will be some trimming as the ROI falls on older, less popular ships in those markets.  

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13 hours ago, david_sobe said:

Exactly.

All of the NCL ships are in great shape.  Their oldest ship Sky was built in 1999.  Carnival has ships still afloat built in the mid 90s.  After spending all that money on dry dock, no ship is leaving the NCL fleet especially when NCL keeps expanding and needing more ships.  The smaller Sky fits perfect for the shorter Bahamas cruises.  No need to change what works.

Spirit is a bit older vintage 1998.  Probably one of our favorites.

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I have to wonder what will happen to the entire industry when the next world-wide recession hits.  I know my industry was hit really hard during the last one, as we produce "optional" products.  With the huge growth of the cruising industry in the last ten years, and all of the ships already in production/on order, you have to wonder if some ships will be parked/mothballed if a recession hits, kind of like the airlines due in the deserts of AZ and CA with their surplus aircraft during downturns.

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On 5/22/2019 at 11:17 AM, shadowmeboy said:

It is a possibility. It really will be determined if the ships are still making money for NCL. These smaller ships are serving a niche market. I could see a ship eventually being based out of LA year round. Plenty of under served areas of potential.

According to experts on other boards it is too expensive, too many envirnmental regs in California for this to happen without high prices.

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11 hours ago, dexddd said:

Spirit is a bit older vintage 1998.  Probably one of our favorites.

I love the older smaller ships.  Was on the Breakaway last December and found out that I'm just not a mega ship lover, so I hope NCL doesn't pare down their fleet getting rid of the smaller ships.

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On 5/22/2019 at 11:51 AM, kenns said:

Another possible outcome is that they "revitalize" these older ships much like Carnival and Royal are doing with their older ships. I don't mean just replacing carpet and the paint, but true "renovations" like the others have done. 

 

 

Just cruised an 18 year old RCCL revitalized ship, it was in as good a shape, had all the modern updates, as a few years old ship.  Hope NCL follows suit.

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19 hours ago, bonvoyagie said:

 - don't have another Joy.

 

Haha, glad you ended with that.....

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I am always amused when there is talk about "smaller ships" what we call smaller today were huge 20 years ago. As for retiring any of their fleet, my guess and that is all it is: not in the near future. The so called smaller ships, the older ones in the fleet are in good condition and very popular. I can see them continue to do shorter cruises like the Sun and Sky do and doing more using smaller ports. Compared to a couple other lines I am amazed at how NCL keeps their ships, regardless of age so up to date. When I think of the other 2 major competitors and some of their older ships I cringe. I have been on 3, from other lines. But that is just my opinion. 

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23 hours ago, mugtech said:

According to experts on other boards it is too expensive, too many envirnmental regs in California for this to happen without high prices.

 

That argument doesn't ring true when Carnival has several ships sailing year round from the Golden state.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, newmexicoNita said:

I am always amused when there is talk about "smaller ships" what we call smaller today were huge 20 years ago. As for retiring any of their fleet, my guess and that is all it is: not in the near future. The so called smaller ships, the older ones in the fleet are in good condition and very popular. I can see them continue to do shorter cruises like the Sun and Sky do and doing more using smaller ports. Compared to a couple other lines I am amazed at how NCL keeps their ships, regardless of age so up to date. When I think of the other 2 major competitors and some of their older ships I cringe. I have been on 3, from other lines. But that is just my opinion. 

Well that goes to show you how ships have grown in size.  There was a brief period of time about a month or two that the NCL Sky was the largest cruise ship in the world in 1999.  That's hard to imagine today.  Back in 2010, I was aboard the Sky and it was docked next to the new 2009 Oasis of the Seas.  The Sky looked like a tender boat next to the Oasis.  The amazing part was the ships were 10 years apart.  It demonstrated how the cruising industry changed in one decade.

Edited by david_sobe

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Perhaps, it's possible for NCL to relocate one of the 3 ships originally purpose built for the Asia market (came from Star Cruises) back to that region - and, see if they can make it work ... easier to pack a smaller ship at prevailing prices seasonally (the Dawn, Star & Spirit) - if they can compete alongside other lines.  Related but off-topic: even for the Joy, my feeling is that they could've keep the ship in that region to do a few runs and do some longer one-ways and repo elswhere on a seasonal basis ... for the Lunar New Year, May 1st holiday and October's Golden week, and possibly the summer months for families - their marketing & targeting and timing were way off without a careful analysis ... Another line, Costa is bring one of their newest ship to tap the China mainland market & good luck to them.  

 

Dawn was just drydocked for a full month, 3 years ago and looked almost like new (minor issues like no USB charging ports but its 220v outlets are ideal for Asia).  We had a long Q&A session last week onboard with the General Manager (formerly with the HD title) after the M&G - and I didn't get the impression that the ship is leaving the fleet anytime soon ... of course, that's an exexcutive decision back in HQ with the CEO/COO and CFO, etc. 

 

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I remember reading or hearing somewhere last year, possibly from a quarterly report, that they do not intend to park any ships, except the Star or Spirit if I recall correctly.  I also remember hearing them discuss Sun and Sky and how they have significant value to the fleet despite their age.  I can agree with that as we really enjoyed the post refirb Sun.  I apologize I can't give specifics, but I know it was a reliable source.  

 

We shall see.

 

My interest is what's in store for the next mega ship design at NCL... I just hope Meyer Werft is the builder.  

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, SailBreakaway said:

My interest is what's in store for the next mega ship design at NCL... I just hope Meyer Werft is the builder.  

 

The next 6 NCL ships won't be built by Meyer Werft. After Encore, you'll have to wait until after 2027 for a new NCL ship that isn't built by Fincantieri (unless NCL is keeping secrets from us). 

Edited by Two Wheels Only

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15 hours ago, mking8288 said:

Perhaps, it's possible for NCL to relocate one of the 3 ships originally purpose built for the Asia market (came from Star Cruises) back to that region - and, see if they can make it work ... easier to pack a smaller ship at prevailing prices seasonally (the Dawn, Star & Spirit) - if they can compete alongside other lines.  Related but off-topic: even for the Joy, my feeling is that they could've keep the ship in that region to do a few runs and do some longer one-ways and repo elswhere on a seasonal basis ... for the Lunar New Year, May 1st holiday and October's Golden week, and possibly the summer months for families - their marketing & targeting and timing were way off without a careful analysis ... Another line, Costa is bring one of their newest ship to tap the China mainland market & good luck to them.  

 

Dawn was just drydocked for a full month, 3 years ago and looked almost like new (minor issues like no USB charging ports but its 220v outlets are ideal for Asia).  We had a long Q&A session last week onboard with the General Manager (formerly with the HD title) after the M&G - and I didn't get the impression that the ship is leaving the fleet anytime soon ... of course, that's an exexcutive decision back in HQ with the CEO/COO and CFO, etc. 

 

I'd have to check, but don't they have the Spirit doing a bunch of Asian routes in the near future?

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2 minutes ago, dexddd said:

I'd have to check, but don't they have the Spirit doing a bunch of Asian routes in the near future?

Yes it is, after this Summer.

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