Theodore Kontes, vice chairman operations, said Festival is considering a vessel in the 1,200-1,250-cabin range.
At a Seatrade Europe session today on 'The Demand for Newbuildings and Refurbishment of Older Vessels,' Kontes gave an example of what Festival could have in mind when he outlined Delta Marin's new platform for a 'Super Panamax' ship of 99,000gt, with 1,340 cabins, 15 decks and a length of 305mtrs (a fold-up bow keeps the ship Panamax). Kontes described the Super Panamax concept as 'the ideal ship,' but cautioned that Festival is not committed to this particular platform.
Festival expects to firm its expansion plans in coming months. If it were to go with a prototype like Super Panamax, the time frame for a delivery would be 'not 2006 -- 2007 possibly.'
Kontes also suggested that Festival could grow sooner if market conditions show demand for more capacity. 'We have some other ideas,' he hinted. Expansion could come in 2005-06, he told Seatrade Insider, but not via newbuilds.
Longer term, though, Festival's focus is on a large newbuild. If it goes with the Super Panamax concept, that would mean a dramatic capacity increase for the pan-European cruise operator, whose largest ships, European Stars and European Vision, offer 783 cabins each.
And when it comes to propulsion, it's also possible that Festival could consider using the Rim Drive Propulsion (RDP) concept under development by General Dynamics in the US.