Full Steam Ahead For Big Cruise Lines

Thursday, August 10, 2000
Despite softening per passenger yields and unprecedented expansion, big lines have no plans on curtailing new deliveries.

Big cruise lines, despite a buffeting from soft ticket prices, are keeping to an expansion course calling for billions of dollars to be spent on ever-more elaborate ships meant to delight aging North Americans. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the world's No. 2 cruise operator after Carnival Corp., last week showed off the latest addition to its fleet even as Wall Street analysts and travel agents warned that overcapacity was dragging down financial returns and creating great bargains for vacationers.

With a passenger capacity of 3,114, Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas cost more than $500 million and is a near duplicate of the Voyager of the Seas launched last November as the world's biggest cruise ship.

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