Marella Cruises’ boss confident of fleet expansion despite market ‘overcapacity’

Marella Cruises’ boss confident of fleet expansion despite market ‘overcapacity’

Marella Cruises is well placed to cope with a rapidly-growing market and has “real confidence” in its strategy and offering, the line’s managing director said ahead of the launch of its latest ship.

Chris Hackney said Marella will look at “other options” to grow capacity within its fleet despite acknowledging a saturation of availability at shipyards and that 100 new builds are on order across the cruise industry up to 2027.

Saturday (May 19) will see the launch of Marella Explorer, which was built for Celebrity Cruises in 1996.

Speaking to media on board the 1,924-passenger capacity vessel, Hackney said that while the market has grown “significantly” Marella has been able to grow its passenger numbers and revenue.

He said: “[The market] is going to grow very quickly over the next five years with the pipeline of new builds that everybody can see that is planned for the UK market, or at least partially for the UK market.

“We recognise that but we have real confidence in our strategy and offering. We have grown by 25% over the last two years.

“We have been able to grow not only our passengers but also our revenue as well.

“I am not worried about overcapacity in the market. When you consider that cruise is a small percentage of the overseas holiday market there is opportunity to grow further.”

Marella Explorer 2 will be delivered next year, increasing the line’s fleet to seven ships. The vessel is currently sailing in China as SkySea Golden Era.

But Hackney said that while there are no plans for new builds, the line was “looking at all options”.

“I think the shipyard availability is probably limited,” he added. “The price in building a new build is significant.

“For us it is about looking at what other options are out there. What is the next step for us in growing a cruise brand? Over the next 12 months, we are going to focus on Explorer and Explorer 2.”

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