P&O Cruises confirms an order for a second new ship

P&O Cruises confirms order for second new ship

A second large next-generation cruise ship for P&O Cruises was confirmed on Thursday as the line seeks to attract more first-time cruisers.

The vessel will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and is due to join the fleet in 2022 – two years after a similar sister ship enters service.

The latest order will be 180,000 gross tons and have a capacity for 5,200 passengers, it’s set to be the largest cruise ship to be built specifically for the British market.

Both new ships will be registered in the UK and built by leading German shipbuilder Meyer Werft in Papenburg.

The ship will feature the Carnival Corporation’s exclusive “green cruising” design as one of the first generation of cruise ships to be powered by both while in port and at sea.

This will “significantly reduce” air emissions with the shipping industry’s most advanced fuel technology, the company claims.

The new ship is part of a fleet enhancement strategy with 19 new vessels set for delivery across Carnival Corporation brands between 2018 and 2022.

Carnival UK president Josh Weinstein said: “We are seeing the momentum in awareness of cruising both across the media and in our national psyche as ever-increasing numbers of people see first-hand the value for money, unrivalled service and extraordinary onboard experience.

“These two next-generation ships for delivery in the next four years are real and tangible evidence of our absolute optimism for future growth.”

P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow added: “We have a bold and ambitious vision for P&O Cruises to become Britain’s number one holiday choice and we can only do that by increasing our fleet.

“The build for our 2020 ship begins this spring and it will offer all generations of British guests the holiday of a lifetime on the next generation of P&O Cruises ships.

“In four years’ time when her sister ship is launched, adding an additional 22% capacity, we will see an even greater rise in the popularity of cruising across all demographics and all age ranges including both Millennials and Generation Xers.

“Many of them have already learned to appreciate cruising by going on cruises with their families while growing up. Additionally, there are millions more we will attract in the future by retaining the amazing onboard and on-shore experiences and itinerary choices P&O Cruises is known for while reflecting forward-thinking trends and tastes of British holidaymakers.

“This evolution of the guest experience will be evident over the next few years but will be underpinned throughout with in-depth market insight and feedback we receive from the best source: our current, past and prospective guests.

“The first of our new ships will go on sale in September and we will be announcing key elements of the design and build this year.

“Our P&O Cruises signature features in dining and entertainment will be across all our ships, but the space and build of the two new ships allow us to have innovative new experiences to create the most memorable holidays.”

Thomas Weigend, managing director of Meyer Werft, said: “We are very happy to continue our excellent partnership with Carnival Corporation and P&O Cruises.”

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Carnival reshuffle ‘will help differentiate P&O and Cunard’

The reshuffle of Carnival UK’s leadership team will help to create “better brand focus and differentiation” between sister brands P&O Cruises and Cunard.

Speaking at the Clia Cruise Forum in Tilbury, David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK, said the changes would be particularly beneficial to Cunard in helping to drive international growth for the brand.

In August the line revealed Gerard Tempest, formerly chief commercial officer for Carnival UK, was to leave the company. In his place positions were created at the helm of P&O, with Paul Ludlow put in change, and Cunard, a position which is still being recruited for.

Dingle said all businesses should constantly be under review to ensure their efficiency and development.

He said: “In the UK we went through a period where we tried to create as much organisational synergy for our brands as possible because through that you have greater efficiency, particularly cost efficiency.

“You have to be careful to differentiate still. Going round full circle again (reviewing the business and changing the leadership team) we believe it’s time to drive the brands harder, particularly for Cunard.

“We want to grow the international sourcing of the brand so we have to have much greater brand focus so that’s why we want to have some really brand specific leadership.

“We continue to develop the P&O brand and we’ve revitalized it over the past months and now we want to move forward and capitalise on that and dare I say think about what the next P&O cruises new ship might look for, should we decide to order it.”

Clia figures confirm global growth but UK decline

A previously-announced slump in UK cruise passengers last year has been re-confirmed in newly-published figures for the global industry.

The statistics for 2014 released by Clia show global demand for cruise holidays growing by 3.4% year-on-year to reach 22.04 million ocean cruise passengers.

But UK numbers dropped to 1.6 million from 1.7 million a year earlier, largely due to reduced cruise ship capacity away from UK ports and other popular destinations such as the Mediterranean

The cruise industry trade association was quick to point out that the UK will have returned to growth in a “landmark year” in 2015 thanks to the introduction of ships including P&O Cruises’ Britannia, Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas, Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess and Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Magellan.

“Longer-term trends demonstrate that the UK and Ireland market remains resilient; the annual average increase in passenger numbers since the start of the economic downturn in 2008 has been 3.3% and, over the past quarter century, there has been ten-fold growth,” a Clia spokesman said.

“The UK and Ireland continues to have one of Europe’s highest rates of market penetration for cruise holidays.”

The UK and Germany accounted for 15% of global cruise passengers or 3.38 million in 2014.

The Clia global figures issued from the US reveal total contributions from the cruise industry rose from $117 billion in 2013 to $119.9 billion last year.

This includes supporting 939,232 full-time equivalent employees earning $39.3 billion in income. Direct expenditures generated by cruise lines, passengers and crew totalled $55.8 billion.

North America remains the largest source market, accounting for 55% or 12.2 million cruise passengers in 2014, followed by Europe which claimed 29% or 6.4 million passengers.

Other regions of the world, including Australia, China, Singapore, Japan and South America, accounted for the remaining 16% or 3.5 million passengers.

Cruise tourism in Asia is growing at double-digit rates, both in capacity and as a passenger source market, according to the study.

The number of ships deployed in the region between 2013 and 2015 grew at a 10% compound annual growth rate, and the volume of cruises and voyages within and through Asia increased 11%. Passenger capacity in Asia increased 20%, with Chinas being the main driver of growth.

Clia acting chief executive, Cindy D’Aoust, said: “The cruise industry is truly a global and dynamic one.

“We’ve enjoyed progressive growth over the last 30 years, driven initially by demand from North America, which expanded to Europe, Australia and now Asia. As a result, the cruise industry impacts the global economy generating jobs, income and business growth in all regions of the world.

“The potential for new cruise passenger growth is huge,” she added.

“Apart from North America and Europe, other regions of the world account for nearly 85% of the world’s population, yet represent only 16% of cruisers. That reflects a tremendous opportunity for the cruise industry.

“Asia is a prime example of the cruise industry’s growth opportunity. Our industry is bringing more cruise ship visits to Asia and the volume of cruise passengers sourced from Asia for cruise tourism worldwide nearly doubled since 2012.”