In a constant effort to outdo one another, cruise lines keep adding new and better features to their ships. From amenities like pools and rides to the suites aboard and even the ships themselves, bragging rights are an important way to stand out from competitors during what is still a very rocky time for the industry.
It has been a game of constant escalation where one cruise line adds a roller coaster so its rival has to bring bumper cars on board. Cruise ships passengers can ice skate, play laser tag, eat at a variety of restaurants that has top-tier ships rivaling the las Vegas Strip.
There’s no such thing as too much and all the major players, keep going for bigger and better, Right now, the biggest ship isn’t a question.
When it comes to bragging rights, Royal Caribbean (RCL) – Get Royal Caribbean Group Report recently secured its position as the owner of the biggest cruise ship in the world with the nearly 7,000-passenger Wonder of the Seas. That does not mean that its main rival lacks an answering shot.
What’s The Latest At Carnival?
Cruise Line (CCL) – Get Carnival Corporation Report, in turn, just revealed a new ship called the Carnival Celebration. Presented as sister ship of Carnival’s popular 6,500-passenger Mardi Gras, the ship is being revealed to passengers to start off the cruise line’s 50th anniversary celebrations — Carnival launched on March 11, 1972, out of Miami.
Design features include a three-deck-high atrium full of floor-to-ceiling windows and LED screens for streaming, an Aquaria Bar with ocean-themed murals, and numerous lounge, pool, and dining zones.
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“While similar to Mardi Gras with a plethora of options for dining, entertainment and relaxation, Celebration will have her own personality, one that celebrates all things Carnival, intertwining where we have been with where we are going.” Ben Clement, senior vice president of new builds, refurbishment, and product innovation at Carnival, said in a statement.
Carnival is also bringing one of the most popular attractions from the Mardi Gras to the new ship: a roller coaster that follows a 800-foot-long track above the sea at speeds of up to 40 miles an hour. With Celebration slated to set sail out of Miami in November, the BOLT roller coaster is currently being put through a series of safety tests in Munich, Germany.
For Carnival, these two sister ships offer an answer to Wonder of the Seas and the other ships in Royal’s top-tier Oasis Class.
Is It War Of The Cruise Lines?
With the 2020 Diamond Princess outbreak marking the start of the pandemic in the U.S., the cruise ship industry has taken massive hits over the last few years — Carnival lost more than 58% of its value in the last five years while Royal Caribbean shares are currently down 9.28% year-over-year.
While the industry is crawling back to life fast (over 240 ships from 80 lines were out at sea in January), many people are still reluctant to get aboard such a confined space aboard water for days. As a result, even the big names have to compete for the passengers who do come by offering them bigger and better features — the roller coaster with ocean views, in particular, is likely to be a major draw-in for Carnival.
Consumer reluctance doesn’t actually reflect the reality of what it’s like to cruise right now, according to Royal Caribbean CEO Jason Liberty speaking during his company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.
“Since we resumed operations, our goal has been to making cruising one of the safest vacations anywhere in the world while providing an exceptional guest experience,” he said. “We continue to demonstrate that in a very tangible way. As you heard me say, we have carried approximately 1.3 million guests since the restart, with about 2,500 guests testing positive for COVID-19, a positivity rate of 0.19%. This positivity rate is still a small fraction of what it is in society at large, and nearly all cases on board were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.”