Two cruise ships were delivered this week, AIDAperla, destined for the Mediterranean, and Norwegian Joy, destined for Asia. Earlier this month, cruise line Silversea christened the latest addition to its fleet, Silver Muse and early next month TUI Cruises’ vessel Mein Schiff 6 will be delivered.
The cruise industry continues to thrive with new itineraries and a new generation of cruisers, and industry analyst G.P. Wild says China is likely to be the principal catalyst for industry growth for years to come. With just over a million cruisers out of a population of 1.4 billion, the prospects for future growth are almost “incalculable.”
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) notes that cruise travel has also become the most popular travel preference among younger generations, including Millennials, creating a new “Cruise Generation.” This generation rates cruise travel as the best type of vacation compared to land-based vacations, all-inclusive resorts, tours, vacation house rentals and camping, and 90 percent that have experienced cruise travel say they will continue to cruise.
More vessels are expected to be delivered this year including:
MSC Cruises: Meraviglia and Seaside
Princess: Majestic Princess
Viking Ocean: Viking Sun
Dream Cruises: World Dream.
AIDA Cruises took delivery of 124,100 gross ton AIDAperla from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on April 27. The 124,100 gross ton vessel can accommodate 3,286 passengers and over 900 crew.
Felix Eichhorn, President AIDA Cruises: "With the successful commissioning of AIDAprima in May 2016, we have inspired many guests for a cruise vacation. For the first time, more than two million Germans have decided to go cruising. With the sister ship AIDAperla, we will be injecting further important growth momentum into the German vacation market. Today, with our 12 ships sailing on 130 different routes to more than 250 ports worldwide, we offer the greatest vacation diversity and we will inspire even more holidaymakers for one of the most beautiful ways of traveling".
AIDAperla will set sail for the Mediterranean in the coming days and will be christened by model and presenter Lena Gercke on June 30, 2017, in Palma de Mallorca.
Also on April 27, Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of Norwegian Joy, the brand’s 15th ship and the first custom-designed for the Chinese cruise market, from Meyer Werft. At 167,725 gross tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy is the second ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class.
“As Norwegian Cruise Line continues our global growth, Norwegian Joy’s delivery marks a momentous occasion in our company’s history, signifying our official entry into the Chinese cruise market,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line.
Following her delivery, Norwegian Joy will begin her journey to China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and Beijing (Tianjin). The ship will be christened by her Godfather, the ‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom on June 27.