Cruise Lines Eye 40-Year Service Life

Triple Cruise Call in Nassau

“If we can have our assets for up to 40 years we will,” said one senior cruise line executive at a recent industry event.

Cruise ships have traditionally been built and designed with a 30-year service life for their first owner, before being sold into secondary or non-competing markets.


That service life is now extending with large-scale drydock projects making existing tonnage competitive, with over 100 ships set to drydock this year, according to the 2020 Drydocking and Refurbishment Report by Cruise Industry News.


Better yet, with some new ships paying for themselves in as little as five years or less, an extended service window continues the earnings potential.

Classic ships can also serve new or untapped markets, while new ships compete against other new ships in the big-market homeports in North America, Asia or Europe.


When Cuba opened temporarily for U.S. travellers, it was the older tonnage from the mainstream cruise lines that we’re able to serve Havana, where the port offers limited infrastructure and can’t handle modern mega-ships.


But it comes down to the bottom line, according to previous remarks made by Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald on the company’s 2018 year-end and fourth-quarter earnings call.

“We’ll continue with the ship in the fleet if it’s relevant to the guests and its earning is key if it’s not then the ship will be gone,” he said.

Ovation of the Seas Drydocks in Zhoushan

Ovation of the Seas

The Ovation of the Seas is in Zhoushan, China, for an unscheduled drydock at a COSCO-run facility, prompting the cancellation of the ship’s the Sept. 21 and Sept. 26 cruises from Tianjin, China.

“We must conduct unscheduled maintenance on Ovation of the Seas,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement released to Cruise Industry News.

“Unfortunately, this means our September 21 and September 26 cruises from Beijing, China must be cancelled,” the company said. “Our booked guests will have the option to choose another sailing date on Quantum of the Seas or request a full refund of their cruise fare. The unscheduled work will help ensure guests continue to enjoy their time on board Ovation; there is no issue or concern with the seaworthiness of the ship. The decision was not taken lightly, and Royal Caribbean apologizes for the effect this adjustment will have on our guests’ vacation plans.”

In April of 2017, Royal Caribbean was also forced to cancel sailings on the ship for “maintenance on components of the ship’s propulsion system.”

Early drydock considered for Allure of the Seas

Early drydock considered for Allure of the Seas

By Tom Stieghorst
Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas has developed a propulsion problem that is slowing the world’s largest cruise ship. The line is considering an early drydock.

Allure, which debuted in 2010, would normally be drydocked in 2015, but Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain said that schedule may be accelerated.

“We’re considering it, sure,” Fain said while onboard Vision of the Seas for a one-night cruise to display its recent renovations to travel agents. “We’re in the process of trying to assess [whether] we move up the drydock, and if it makes sense we will.”

One option would be to give Allure the 2014 drydock slot reserved for sister ship Oasis of the Seas, and push off the Oasis drydock by a year.

The unspecified propulsion issue developed about three weeks ago. Allure can still complete its weeklong itineraries, but the slower speed means that Royal Caribbean has had to shorten its port stay in Nassau, and some excursions have been canceled. It is also arriving late in the next port of call in St. Thomas.

Fain said the design of the Oasis-class ships, which has three podded propulsion motors instead of two, gives it better resilience when one of the units malfunctions.