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$9.9bn in new ships, 42,300 lower berths to join global cruise fleet in 2019

From left, Greg Mortimer, MSC Grandiosa, Spectrum of the Seas, Costa Venezia
A whopping 25 ocean-going newbuilds are set to sail into service for the global cruise industry this year, according to Seatrade's orderbook.

They'll add a total of 42,334 additional lower berths, valued at $9.9bn.

This compares to 2018's 12 ocean-going newbuilds totalling 33,137 lower berths at a total value of $7.9bn.

12 expedition newbuilds

A dozen of the 2019 newbuilds are expedition cruise ships, highlighting the incredible growth of this sector. They are Antarctica 21's Magellan Explorer, Scenic Eclipse, Coral Expeditions' Coral Adventurer, Celebrity Flora, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Hanseatic Nature and Hanseatic Inspiration, Hurtigruten's Roald Amundsen, Oceanwide Expeditions' Hondius, Ponant's Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d'Urville, Mystic Cruises/Quark Expeditions' World Explorer and SunStone Ships/Aurora Expeditions' Greg Mortimer.

First battery-powered cruise ship

In terms of novel propulsion, Roald Amundsen will become the first cruise vessel able to sail for short stints on silent, emissions-free battery power.

And Costa Smeralda will be the year's sole LNG-powered cruise newbuild.

New brands

Two new brands are bursting on the scene with their first newbuilds as The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection welcomes Azora and Portugal's Mystic Cruises brings out World Explorer, first in a series of 10 planned vessels. Having built up a river fleet, Australia-based tour operator Scenic branches into ocean cruising with Scenic Eclipse.

And several established brands will be introducing their first newbuilds, including Saga Cruises' Spirit of Discovery, Aurora Expeditions' Greg Mortimer, Oceanwide Expeditions' Hondius and Antarctica21's Magellan Explorer.


With Costa Venezia, Costa Cruises debuts its first newbuild customized for Asia, while Spectrum of the Seas is Royal Caribbean International's new ship for China.

China Merchants Heavy Industries is building China's first cruise ship for the international market, Greg Mortimer, kicking off a series of expedition vessels SunStone Ships is building for charter to various operators.

The biggest

By tonnage, the largest new ship of 2019 is Costa Smeralda, at 180,000gt. (It's also the largest in terms of lower berths, with 5,000.) No. 2 sizewise is the appropriately named MSC Grandiosa (177,000gt/4,900 lower berths), followed by the first Quantum-Ultra ship, Spectrum of the Seas (168,600gt/4,180 lower berths), the ship that wraps Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway Plus series, Norwegian Encore (167,800gt/4,200 lower berths), and MSC Bellissima (167,600gt/4,500 lower berths).

The smallest

Four ships measure under 6,000gt: Antarctica21's Magellan Explorer, Coral Expeditions' Coral Adventurer, Celebrity Flora and Oceanwide Expeditions' Hondius. Each with 100 berths, Magellan Explorer and Celebrity Flora are the smallest capacity-wise.


Celebrity Cruises will introduce the first newbuild created for the Galápagos, Celebrity Flora. In Flying Clipper, Star Clippers will be fielding a replica of the largest square-rigged sailing ship ever built, France II.

Carnival Panorama will introduce the first Sky Zone trampoline park at sea, while MSC Grandiosa has the longest Mediterranean-style promenade at sea, topped by an LED sky screen. The two Sky Suites aboard Sky Princess will be the ultimate perch for entertaining with the largest balconies ever offered by Princess (700 square feet) and a location that overlooks the Movies Under the Stars screen.

MSC Bellissima will debut a voice-activated digital personal assistant as a new feature of MSC for Me.

For more about each of the year's newbuilds, see 'Class of 2019' in the latest (digital) issue of Seatrade Cruise Review.


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