Mr. Arison continued on to state that the reason they don’t wish to build larger is the lack of flexibility they have for itineraries. The opposite of Oasis.
The Oasis has to have special accommodations made wherever she sails. Lets see: A pier has to be built in the tender port of Labadee (RCI’s private beach NOT Island), St. Maarten is upgrading facilities, a completely new port is being devolved in Falmouth, Jamaica (which ironically won’t be ready in time!), Grand Cayman is being avoided entirely. Interesting note about Grand Cayman, the cruise lines have threatened to pull out of Grand Cayman if a pier is not built. There can easily be a total of seven ships or more a day during the peek Caribbean winter season.
Back to Carnival’s decision. This is a pretty interesting reason given that Carnival is the only major line to not seasonally send a majority of its ships to seasonal destinations(i.e. Europe, Alaska, Canada & New England, Bermuda). What carnival does instead is build up the secondary embarkation ports. Ports such as Jacksonville, Mobile, Tampa, and of course Galveston. The ships here are based year-round instead of seasonally (i.e. Royal Caribbean). If Carnival were to have their project Pinnacle built at lets say 240-250,000 grt. There would pretty much be only the overcrowded Caribbean for routes. If they were to place an order for say 4-5 of these then you would need more places to sail. In this aspect I would guess that the size does limit.
Take what you may from the statement of Carnival’s main man in charge, but I think this may be the end of the ego battle between him and Richard Fain (RCI’s President and CEO).
Once the market stabilized it would not surprise me to see Carnival go their “vista route” and order a few smaller than the Dream, but big enough to have lots of amenities. These ships I could see and being PANAMAX(2014), so just a large Spirit class, but the same purpose.
Any thought are welcomed here as always.
Update: Changed the typo. Thanks to those who noticed.
Update Friday Oct. 9 11:56: Having given more though to the subject, has there ever been a time where Micky Arison got it wrong. The guy is a genius of the industry. Here we are in a global economic downfall, and here is Carnival with a strong future. No tremendous debt on the books, and most major contracts finishing up. I believe he is on the right track with investigation Asian shipyards for future work. I know some of those yards are on the verge of disaster. The bottom falling out on break-bulk cargo is not helping anything for new construction.
On Royal Caribbeans side, they have high debt on the books. They are borrowing from several banks for the construction of Oasis, Celebrity Solstice and Equinox. But they will be able to attract customers with the WOW factor of Oasis. This could be a critical factor in marketing the ship to fill up the 5,000 beds every week.