Thursday, July 17, 2008

Is Regent Seven Seas Proposed New Ship Dead in the Water?

Today there was an announcement from Regent Seven Seas Cruises about some internal shifting of management, focused on sales and marketing. That is not really news.

However, for some reason I looked at the fine print at the end of the news release. It states, Prestige Cruise Holdings, "the parent corporation of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises...is the market leader in the Upper Premium and Luxury segments of the cruise industry with more than 4,450 berths between the Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises brands, a number the company expects will grow to more than 6,700 berths by 2011.

I paused and said, at the 2007 Seatrade Cruise Shipping Conference Frank Del Rio announced Oceania was building two new ships, each being 1,260 passengers and are to be delivered in 2010 and 2011. (Cruise Critic confirmed this announcement: http://www.cruisecritic.com/features/articles.cfm?ID=403 for those doubters out there.) Now, if you do the math: 6,700 berths in 2011 - 4,450 present berths = 2,250 new berths divided by 2 new Oceania ships = 1,150 berths per new ship. The announcement notes "more than 6,700 berths"; not more than 7,800 berths (which would be able to include a new Regent ship)...and there you have it.

Where, oh where, did the proposed new Regent ship go????? You may remember it was only a few days ago Mark Conroy, Regent's President, commented that a new Regent ship may be using an Oceania designed hull. (See my Oceania-fication of Regent post.) Doing the math is pretty easy. Soon, but not yet, a decision will have to be made about which line is going to get that 2011 hull...if it has not already been made...if the option to have it built is even exercised.

UPDATE: I received info directly from Prestige Cruise Holdings a few moments ago and wanted to post this immediately, while waiting for more info (if any). PCH advises that the language I referred to is "boiler plate" (form language) that has been used since the beginning of the year. PCH also advises the Regent ship is not accounted for because no firm order has been placed (same for Oceania's option for a third ship) nor have the number of berths been finalized.

RE-doing the math, it seems like good news, if not great. Oceania is still expanding with two new ships (no giving up a hull to Regent) and there has not been a "no" put on a new Regent ship. I infer that design, timing, demand, finances, etc. are all still being weighed.

I will keep you posted! (And it is great that Prestige Cruise Holdings is reading my blog!).