By Seatrade Cruise Global Staff

With over 30,000 berths and a total investment of nearly $7.5 billion, 2016 has been an exciting year of growth for the cruise industry.  Over ten new ocean-going vessels have set sail this year adding capacity to a truly global cruise market. Cruise lines continue to collaborate with the top shipyards around the world to develop and build vessels satisfying a diverse demand. New builds were a hot topic as the industry converged on Seatrade Cruise Global 2016 in Fort Lauderdale.

Beginning with the Mein Schiff 5, new ships were unveiled at an almost monthly rate in 2016. Highlighting a trend of alternative fuels heavily discussed at Seatrade Cruise Global 2016, the Aidaprima debuted its first Japanese-built ship with dual-fuel engines for direct supply of LNG to fuel hotel energy needs in port. Alternative fuel will be an important topic at the 2017 conference as well.

The highly-anticipated Carnival Vista debuted in May with a SkyRide cycling adventure suspended from an 800-foot track above the ship’s top deck – not for the faint of heart.  Later this past summer, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Explorer, billed as the most luxurious ship ever built, set sail featuring a $10,000 a night suite. Continuing to make waves after a long tradition of river cruising, Viking’s second blue-water vessel, the Viking Sea launched with much acclaim and awards for its design and service.  New orders of luxury and upper premium ships show strength in these categories.

Expansion in the Asian market, another hot topic at Seatrade Cruise Global 2016, was on display with the Genting Dream, a new premium brand part of Dream Cruises. Exclusive “Dream Suites” onboard feature European-style butler service and even more ships will debut in Asia during 2017. The Seabourn Encore, a Fincantieri new build is set to expand the line’s Odyssey-class trio with chic interiors by hotel and restaurant designer Adam D. Tihany closing out the year.

As 2016 concludes, next year promises to be an exciting year for new builds as well. Seatrade Cruise Global 2017 will be the epicenter of the cruise industry to learn even more about the newest members of the global cruise fleet.

Among the new ships debuting in 2017, there is a long list entering the market that represent both innovation and customization benefitting the entire cruise community. The Norwegian Joy, NCL’s second ship in the Breakaway-Plus Class, will carry 4,200 guests as the first custom-built ship for the Chinese market. Luxury brand Silversea will debut its largest ship, the 596-passenger Silver Muse, delivering ultra-luxury cruising. Continuing its ongoing expansion, MSC Cruises will unveil not one but two new ships – the MSC Meraviglia and the highly-anticipated MSC Seaside.

“New builds in the market place brought an energy to Seatrade Cruise Global 2016 unlike any other show to date,” shares Seatrade Cruise Global Portfolio Director Robyn Duda. “So many ship announcements and anticipated news of additional orders in the pipeline promise to make the 2017 conference one to remember.”