Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, parent company of Oceania Cruises, announced this week that they've contracted Fincantieri ship yards to build two new Allura-class ships at a costs of $658USD million each, roughly 30% greater than the cost of the fleet's newest operating ships, Marina and Riviera.
The announcement, coming less than five months after the line shared their R-Class ship revitalization effort as part of the OceaniaNEXT project, means that by 2025 the ulta-premium line will have a fleet of eight vessels. Each of the new 67k GRT vessels will accommodate roughly 1200 passengers, slightly fewer than the line's O-class ships (Marina and Riviera), despite being slightly larger. This means that the Allura-class ships will offer superior passenger:space ratios than other ships in the fleet already touted for their excellent service and design. The new class of ships promises to maintain the popular design elements and amenities Oceania is known for, in addition to new luxury offerings and further enhanced comfort.
"We are excited to expand the Oceania Cruises fleet with our new Allura-class ships to meet the strong demand for upscale culinary- and destination-focused cruise vacations around the globe," said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, NCLH. "This new class of ships will further elevate the already best-in-class guest experience at Oceania Cruises and meaningfully strengthen demand from both new and loyal returning guests, which will ultimately drive further returns for shareholders."
Oceania Cruises President and CEO Bob Binder emphasized that the new ships will continue offering the things that set Oceania apart.
“This new class of ships will represent an evolution of the Oceania Cruises experience with all the elements our guests treasure – a warm, intimate, residential style; the most spacious standard staterooms afloat; amazing suites, and of course, the finest cuisine at sea,” said Binder.
What is interesting to see is that they chose to go with medium-size ships, rather than something in between the sizes of their R and O class vessels. While Oceania's loyal guests speak endlessly about the design and quality of the fleet, there are certainly some who feel that the ultra-premium/lite-luxury cruise experience is best suited for ships more similar in size to Regatta, one of their R-class ships.
It's also notable that while the cruise industry has added record numbers of builds over the last couple of years, and Del Rio himself often points out that the industry is capacity-constrained, these will be the first new builds for Oceania in over six years, though they did bring another R-class ship (Sirena) from a different line in 2016. NCLH overall however has a total of ten builds in progress (including Allura-class ships), most of them across the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, and Regent Seven Sea's Splendor on the luxury side.
We're big fan's of Oceania's offering, and it's exciting to see that between the R-class revitalization efforts and these new builds, coming in 2022 and 2025, there is a new Oceania just around the bend - we can only hope and trust it will be as fantastic a product as they offer now.