Tui would like to add a newbuild ship to the Marella fleet but said it would be 2025 before it was likely to happen because the shipyard are all full.
“We are thinking about it. A newbuild could be attractive for the UK market – but it’s hypothetical really because there’s no availability in the yards to build one.
“Unless we can somehow trade a slot with someone, the likelihood of us being able to build a new ship for Marella in the next five years is not very high.
“Even if I ordered it today, it’s almost impossible to get it before 2023. So it would be more like 2025,” said Tui Group chief executive Fritz Joussen.
He said the key thing of any newbuild would be to have good public space ratios.
“The size of the ship isn’t the important thing. It’s how much public space you have per customer.
“It’s no good having too many cabins and then too little public space as that doesn’t create the spaciousness of the kind of quality product we want in the market.”
Joussen said he would upgrade the Marella fleet with second-hand ships that offered a higher quality product, such as more balconies, to meet customer demand.
“You need to make sure guests get used to a premium offering,” he said. “We weren’t sure if we [Tui] were the kind of trusted brand that could sell this kind of product.
“But I think we have reached the point where we are completely trusted now for bringing quality products to the market – just look at Sensatori.
“Cruise is now another product like that. Particularly fly-cruise. People recognise us for it.”
Joussen also indicated that he would like to grow expedition cruising from the UK.
“Cruise is a big market for us. I think it is more likely that there is potential to grow expedition cruising in the UK.
“We have a great product and we think nationalities are far more likely to mix on an expedition cruise.”
And when challenged that there were other more established expedition cruise lines in the market, he added:
“When we start offering something, we will get our customers. When we do something and we do it right, we are a trusted brand and so we know we will get a decent market share.”
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