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Are cruise ship companies making a mistake getting ride of small ships?


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The cruise lines have been busy down sizing capacity by selling or scraping older smaller ship.   They seem to be assuming that the world of tomorrow will be filled with 3000-5000 passenger ships. While the CDC may  put percent capacity restriction on the ships, what about the ports?   Will ports restrict these huge ships?   I believe Vienna has imposed restrictions (Was it 40k tonnes?) and I can see a world where these huge ships are not welcomed.  

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As far as I am concerned, when the small (<~1000 passengers) disappear, I stop cruising.  Unfortunately, those of us like me are a small percentage of the total number of cruisers so the cruise companies basically do not care about us.

 

DON

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1 hour ago, LawDog61 said:

The cruise lines have been busy down sizing capacity by selling or scraping older smaller ship.   They seem to be assuming that the world of tomorrow will be filled with 3000-5000 passenger ships. While the CDC may  put percent capacity restriction on the ships, what about the ports?   Will ports restrict these huge ships?   I believe Vienna has imposed restrictions (Was it 40k tonnes?) and I can see a world where these huge ships are not welcomed.  

Really no need for a whole new thread. This question is being addressed in another "ask a cruise question" thread:

 

Which Cruise Lines will do the best in the new normal?

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But there are lots of lines out there taking ownership of new, small ships (less than 1000 pax) such as Viking and Saga, or others, like Fred Olsen buying the 2 smaller ex Holland & American ships. You just have to move away from those lines that only have mega ships - there are lots of small cruise ships still about.    

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11 hours ago, LawDog61 said:

The cruise lines have been busy down sizing capacity by selling or scraping older smaller ship.   They seem to be assuming that the world of tomorrow will be filled with 3000-5000 passenger ships. While the CDC may  put percent capacity restriction on the ships, what about the ports?   Will ports restrict these huge ships?   I believe Vienna has imposed restrictions (Was it 40k tonnes?) and I can see a world where these huge ships are not welcomed.  

I believe you meant Venice, not Vienna.

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4 hours ago, wowzz said:

But there are lots of lines out there taking ownership of new, small ships (less than 1000 pax) such as Viking and Saga, or others, like Fred Olsen buying the 2 smaller ex Holland & American ships. You just have to move away from those lines that only have mega ships - there are lots of small cruise ships still about.    

 

Saga's new ships and Viking's fleet are both only just under 1,000 passengers, which is not really what I'd call "small" but it's a decent size. I'm not sure anyone is building anything smaller, unfortunately.

 

Saga, while interesting, is limited in that all sailings depart from the UK -- so if I want to do a Med cruise, I've got days of sailing there and back, and fewer days where I want to be. Plus I believe they are still "over 50" only?

 

Viking seems to be betting heavily on their mid-size ship model. I'm sure I will try them eventually, but so far none of their itineraries have really inspired me. Also not a huge fan of "included" tours as I almost always make my own plans.

 

 

 

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Small, old ships are rightfully being scrapped or sold to different mariner lines.  The mass market lines getting rid of these clunkers know that when (if) they resume sailing, they are better off with the larger, more modern cruise ships that can hold 3,000 to 5,000 passengers since they'll be sailing at reduced capacity.

 

A larger ship at 50% capacity will might be able to achieve a break even point, while a small old ship in a mass market line will have its usual compliment of die hard repeat pax who hardly spend a dime on high profit items like photos or ship excursions.

 

There is a huge difference between a Fantasy class ship on Carnival and a Viking cruise ship, btw.

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There will likely be an ongoing demand for some (but likely not as many) large, mass-market ships — they might not be able to offer the low fares of recent years if currently anticipated health precautions and occupancy requirements come about.  But there will surely be a demand for upscale cruising - which means that current trends - growing popularity of lines like Viking, Oceania and Azamera and introduction of Virgin’s larger (yet still upscale) ships leading to two very distinct markets.  The net result is likely to be a lower demand for the 3,000 pax and up mega-ships - and the lines most heavily invested in growing those fleets are likely to hurt the most.

 

This divergence in the industry was probably coming anyway - COVID has simply been the catalyst to expedite things.

Edited by navybankerteacher
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I'm thinking that companies with the mega ships are perhaps less concerned about ports and see the on board spending as way to make up the profits. They probably will run cruises that stop at few places with many sea days, maybe some private islands but overall it will be about keeping people onboard and spending.

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2 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

Plus I believe they are still "over 50" only?

 

2 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

. Also not a huge fan of "included" tours as I almost always make my own plans.

Yes, over 50s only, but if you are a couple only one of you has to make the age limit!

As to included cruises, not sure why that is a problem. They are not compulsory - you can still do your own thing if you wish. 

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15 hours ago, LawDog61 said:

The cruise lines have been busy down sizing capacity by selling or scraping older smaller ship.   They seem to be assuming that the world of tomorrow will be filled with 3000-5000 passenger ships. While the CDC may  put percent capacity restriction on the ships, what about the ports?   Will ports restrict these huge ships?   I believe Vienna has imposed restrictions (Was it 40k tonnes?) and I can see a world where these huge ships are not welcomed.  

I think you mean Venice not Vienna 😄  but I agree with you. I have been cruising with Fred Olsen and their two smaller ship are being replace with two ex HAL ships, slightly bigger, but more to the point a lot newer and maybe allowed into ports where 50+ year old ships were prohibited.

 

I think Seabourn will continue with their luxury smaller ships.

 

One other point, one of the largest "cruise" ships QM2 only carries about 2700 passengers, would that be considered small 🙂 

Edited by ovccruiser
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16 hours ago, LawDog61 said:

  Will ports restrict these huge ships?   I believe Vienna has imposed restrictions (Was it 40k tonnes?) and I can see a world where these huge ships are not welcomed.  

 

This is an interesting question.  Even before COVID-19 a move was starting in many popular ports to limit the amount of cruise passengers: https://www.ship-technology.com/features/cities-who-banned-cruise-ships/  COVID-19 will likely add to this local pressure to limit cruising. 

 

More of these restrictions will certainly help the smaller ships stay economically viable.  Note also that any restrictions on which ships can visit ports will lead to higher prices for the remaining ships that can provide access to these ports like Venice.

 

I can see the cruise lines - especially those selling the ship as the destination - moving to second tier locations as substitutes for traditional ports.  They might also provide even more emphasis on private destinations like those in the Caribbean in other areas.    

 

It could be that port accessibility will be another factor that separates mass market cruising from the luxury lines.  In the future, not only will the onboard services be better on luxury lines than mass market equivalents,  the "quality" of ports may be better as well. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, evandbob said:

 

There is a huge difference between a Fantasy class ship on Carnival and a Viking cruise ship, btw.


That’s my favorite line in this thread. So true. 
 

The smaller ships of the major cruise lines were in their final years with those lines anyways. It’s not a huge loss. Just a year or 2 premature. 

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11 hours ago, wowzz said:

 

Yes, over 50s only, but if you are a couple only one of you has to make the age limit!

As to included cruises, not sure why that is a problem. They are not compulsory - you can still do your own thing if you wish. 

 

There's only one of me traveling.

 

And that's one reason I would prefer not to have included tours. In one way or another they are built into the pricing structure -- and solo cruisers are already paying double in many cases. I don't want to pay for TWO sets of included tours that I don't plan to take!

 

Edited by cruisemom42
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3 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

. I don't want to pay for TWO sets of included tours that I don't plan to take!

Given the price of Viking cruises, and the relatively basic nature of the tours offered, the amount you are paying for the included tours is a minute percentage of the overall  cruise cost.

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Disagree, think the large ships over 2000+ will be the ones not viable. Who will want inside cabins on these? with reduced capacity in lounges?, limited use of lifts?, most social events curtailed, no large tables in restaurants mixing up  'bubbles' and which port will want that number disembarking with all the problems. People will not be allowed just to wander on their own and if the port is a tender one these ships will not cope with landing and re-embarking those numbers, within social distancing. The large ships with lower cabins will not seem like a holiday but more like a Prison Ship, who is going to pay for that?   Think the only ships to survive and thrive will be the small 750 or less, all inclusive with space and well reduced numbers. Also no nickel and diming so less interaction with crew/ staff.

The thing overlooked on all this is where are you going to crew these ships from, the airline industry is on the point of collapse, how are Philippino , Indian, Indonesian, eastern European, crew going to get to ships, many places are closed to outsiders and the living conditions on most staff areas shared and cramped.....................realism is needed.

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5 hours ago, wowzz said:

Given the price of Viking cruises, and the relatively basic nature of the tours offered, the amount you are paying for the included tours is a minute percentage of the overall  cruise cost.

It still seems unfair to have to not only pay for something you do not want, but have to pay double for it. I have to side with @cruisemom42 on this.

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15 minutes ago, ontheweb said:

It still seems unfair to have to not only pay for something you do not want, but have to pay double for it. I have to side with @cruisemom42 on this.

 But then, what about the included drinks with lunch and dinner? If you don't drink you are paying for those as well.

And then, when you have transfers to the ship at the beginning and end of the cruise, what about those people that live only 50 miles away subsidising those living 250 miles away?

 Eventually you end up with a cruise where you just pay for a cabin, and then you pay extra for every meal, tea, coffee etc. That way, no one has to pay for something they don't want, just like debundled airfares.

 

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57 minutes ago, wowzz said:

 ...

 Eventually you end up with a cruise where you just pay for a cabin, and then you pay extra for every meal, tea, coffee etc. That way, no one has to pay for something they don't want, just like debundled airfares.

 

This is the direction NCL has been taking, and likely to happen on Carnival and Royal Caribbean as well.  Offer minimal fares to attract bookings, and then charge add-ons across the board.  

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3 hours ago, GrJ Berkshire said:

Disagree, think the large ships over 2000+ will be the ones not viable. Who will want inside cabins on these? with reduced capacity in lounges?, limited use of lifts? ....[ellipse]....The large ships with lower cabins will not seem like a holiday but more like a Prison Ship, who is going to pay for that?   Think the only ships to survive and thrive will be the small 750 or less, all inclusive with space and well reduced numbers. .....................realism is needed.

 

I think a dose of realism IS needed. I'm not sure you realize that newer (larger) ships that the lines are keeping have a very high percentage of balcony cabins available.

 

For example, the Regal Princess (5500 passengers) offers 81% balcony cabins.

 

Compare that with the "R" class ships that make up all of Azamara's line and 4 out of 6 of Oceania's ships -- these offer only about 66% balcony cabins. Even the new Carnival ship, the Mardi Gras, offers slightly more balcony cabins than these.

 

The ships being gotten rid of are the older ones in the 1500-2500 range that do have fewer balcony cabins. 

 

So people on larger ships, even at reduced capacity, are unlikely to have to hunker down in an inside cabin just because they are on a larger ship.

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21 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

This is the direction NCL has been taking, and likely to happen on Carnival and Royal Caribbean as well.  Offer minimal fares to attract bookings, and then charge add-ons across the board.  

That's a ridiculous exaggeration .  You don't pay extra for meals, coffee or tea on NCL. You only pay extra if you want to eat in a specialty restaurant or have a specialty coffee like a latte. And it's not just NCL that charges for meals beyond the basics in the main dining rooms and buffets .Royal and Carnival have done that for years. it's standard mass market procedure. 

Edited by njhorseman
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6 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I think a dose of realism IS needed. I'm not sure you realize that newer (larger) ships that the lines are keeping have a very high percentage of balcony cabins available.

 

For example, the Regal Princess (5500 passengers) offers 81% balcony cabins.

 

Compare that with the "R" class ships that make up all of Azamara's line and 4 out of 6 of Oceania's ships -- these offer only about 66% balcony cabins. Even the new Carnival ship, the Mardi Gras, offers slightly more balcony cabins than these.

 

The ships being gotten rid of are the older ones in the 1500-2500 range that do have fewer balcony cabins. 

 

So people on larger ships, even at reduced capacity, are unlikely to have to hunker down in an inside cabin just because they are on a larger ship.

But the new Saga and all the Viking ships are 100% balconies. 

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