Why don't they build more ocean liners?

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#1
City of the Purple Sprite
177 Posts
Joined Dec 2016
I've always wondered why cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian or Princess haven't built an ocean liner dedicated to transatlantic/transpacific crossings. I know it is more expensive to build, but the Queen Mary 2 seems to stay very busy and people still have a genuine interest in ocean crossings. Cunard has the traditional/upscale atmosphere which keeps it unique, now if RC created their own liner with all the activities/entertainment that their ships possess, we would have the choice between two unique ships catering to different demographics.

It would also give passengers more options during the summer and winter months when cruise ships are not re-positioning.


Would anyone be interested in an RC/Norwegian ocean liner?
#2
Michigan
885 Posts
Joined Feb 2014
Originally posted by BoiiMcFly
I've always wondered why cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian or Princess haven't built an ocean liner dedicated to transatlantic/transpacific crossings. I know it is more expensive to build, but the Queen Mary 2 seems to stay very busy and people still have a genuine interest in ocean crossings. Cunard has the traditional/upscale atmosphere which keeps it unique, now if RC created their own liner with all the activities/entertainment that their ships possess, we would have the choice between two unique ships catering to different demographics.

It would also give passengers more options during the summer and winter months when cruise ships are not re-positioning.


Would anyone be interested in an RC/Norwegian ocean liner?
I personally am not interested in a transatlantic on an ocean liner, but that's not why I think we're likely to see more ocean liners any time soon.


Princess and Cunard are both owned by Carnival Corp., and I don't think they'd want to simply pass money from one division to the other.


As you mentioned, Royal, NCL, and other cruise lines have seasonal transatlantic repositionings on their traditional cruise ships every year. They tend to show up on the charts of the cheapest last-minute cruises, indicating possible softness in the market.


I would be very surprised to see anyone besides Cunard build a true ocean liner to serve regular transatlantic routes in the next decade.
#3
Centerville, Ohio, USA
7,822 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
In my opinion, there is no need for a cruise company to build such a purpose built liner as Queen Mary 2. No personal experience in a bad storm on QM2, but I have had personal experience with strong storms on cruise liners, i.e. Volendam and Amsterdam. They are well able to handle such weather and quite suitable for trans-oceanic crossings.
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#4
Green Bay, WI
3,900 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
I don't think anyone needs to "build" ocean liners. Today's cruise ships are in many ways ocean liners - they don't just puts around the Caribbean any more. I do wish there were more transatlantic cruises, not just Cunard. Having done TAs with RC would do again, especially if I could sail both ways. Retired people, especially, have the ability to do this. Would love to sail both ways - hate the flights - too long and cramped.
#5
South Florida
3,948 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
QM2 may generally sail full on her Transatlantic crossings but that does not mean there is more demand other than her capacity. Cunard crossings cater to a niche market that other mainstream cruise lines have no desire enter--and likely no handle on how to cater to should they fly in the face of all logic and try.

When Norwegian Getaway made her maiden voyage in 2014 from Southampton to New York (after a couple test sailings when delivered from the shipyard in Germany) she wasn't even one-third full; there were more crew onboard than passengers. And you should search for the reviews of the handful of times an Oasis-class ship has sailed a Transatlantic--unanimous in reporting huge crowds with nothing to do when the typical mid-Atlantic weather closed most outdoor venues.

What would have to happen is the building of an Oasis- or Freedom- class ship by RCI, or Breakaway class by NCL, with all their current features adapted into the structural differences of a liner (with the much greater distance between bow and foremost cabins & bridge, and the much deeper draft) but with only the 2600 passenger capacity of the QM2 so as to be able to accommodate its clientele in the manner it is accustomed to. It is simply neither part of the business model nor the brand image of those lines to cater to passengers who enjoy cruises with multiple consecutive sea days. (And having taken a 10 day RCI cruise with only 4 ports, they were absolutely clueless in how to deal with the more well-season crowd it attracted).

Now I realize the question was asked as purely hypothetical fantasy but even emperor-with-no-clothes threads such as this have to have some root in reality. Once you sail the QM2 you will realize that it is absolutely preposterous to have ever thought that all the open-air venues and mild-to-hot-climate activities on the mega-ships could translate to a crossing on a purpose-built liner.
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#6
940 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Transoceanic cruises are repositioning cruises. Do the math. 14 days each way divided by 365, 8 percent of the year in the open ocean. No need for ocean liners.
#7
cruising.cockroach {at} gmail hotmail and yahoo
1,390 Posts
Joined May 2012
Constant motion burns a lot of fuel so I'd imagine long-haul repo cruises aren't as profitable for cruise lines, and the faster they go, the more fuel is consumed (for the same distance). Think of the hours ships often sit in port on round trips. I'd say the typical, or at least majority, of cruise pax want stops too and pay for those, hence why fares for repos with few stops are low.

A few day ago, Windstar was offering repo fare in April (suite is the smallest cabin size) on the old Seabourn ships for USD 779. 12-14 days no stops! Not sure I want to cross the Atlantic in something that small.

I'm booking Celebrity cruise, using it as an ocean liner crossing, for less per day (fare, tax/fees/tip included) than a Celebrity Classic Beverage Package!

And as said, those who want an ocean liner-like experience of yore have gone to Cunard.
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#8
In the Valley, CA
22,868 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
There are also ships going from the west coast to Hawaii and beyond...so not sure what size the OP is talking about, but undoubtedly there's big enough ships on the open seas (and not everyone wants to be on a 150,000gt ship).
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#9
USA
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Joined Nov 2011
We go one way on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity, and come back on Queen Mary 2. Much nicer way to travel then in a plane.

Of course you have to have the travel time available.
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#10
Connecticut
10,711 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
They are not being built because nobody wants them. People stopped making buggy whips when th automobile was introduced. The intercontinental jet plane obliterated the need for ocean liners. The simple fact is: while QM2 happens to be an ocean liner, she is not used as such - she is used as a cruise ship. She does not do the high speed trans-ocean crossings for which ocean liners were designed and built. No one would want to pay the fares necessary to cover the fuel costs involved in a four or five day TA crossing. They like cruising on QM2 from the UK to the US - but any cruise ship can provide that.

Nobody wants ocean liners, so nobody builds ocean liners.
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#11
Ontario
2,294 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by navybankerteacher
They are not being built because nobody wants them. People stopped making buggy whips when th automobile was introduced. The intercontinental jet plane obliterated the need for ocean liners. The simple fact is: while QM2 happens to be an ocean liner, she is not used as such - she is used as a cruise ship. She does not do the high speed trans-ocean crossings for which ocean liners were designed and built. No one would want to pay the fares necessary to cover the fuel costs involved in a four or five day TA crossing. They like cruising on QM2 from the UK to the US - but any cruise ship can provide that.

Nobody wants ocean liners, so nobody builds ocean liners.
Hey, the OP wants ocean liners, are you calling McFly a nobody?? (smiley face)

There are just not enough McFly's on the planet to justify building ocean liners.


Looks like CC is not building emojis anymore either!
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#12
Enosburg Falls, Vermont
16,379 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by navybankerteacher
They are not being built because nobody wants them. People stopped making buggy whips when th automobile was introduced. The intercontinental jet plane obliterated the need for ocean liners. The simple fact is: while QM2 happens to be an ocean liner, she is not used as such - she is used as a cruise ship. She does not do the high speed trans-ocean crossings for which ocean liners were designed and built. No one would want to pay the fares necessary to cover the fuel costs involved in a four or five day TA crossing. They like cruising on QM2 from the UK to the US - but any cruise ship can provide that.

Nobody wants ocean liners, so nobody builds ocean liners.
I did look at Cunard after seeing this post and I could see us using the QM2 to get to Europe for our annual trip to Germany. Once. 12 years from now when we retire. We'd be more likely to do a regular TA with another line that has some port stops included (again, 12 years from now, when time isn't such an issue for DW). But I do agree with others that point out how often TA's sail with empty berths (and cruise lines probably wouldn't do TA's if they didn't have to reposition the ships).
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#13
NYC
3,473 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by navybankerteacher
They are not being built because nobody wants them. People stopped making buggy whips when th automobile was introduced. The intercontinental jet plane obliterated the need for ocean liners. The simple fact is: while QM2 happens to be an ocean liner, she is not used as such - she is used as a cruise ship. She does not do the high speed trans-ocean crossings for which ocean liners were designed and built. No one would want to pay the fares necessary to cover the fuel costs involved in a four or five day TA crossing. They like cruising on QM2 from the UK to the US - but any cruise ship can provide that.

Nobody wants ocean liners, so nobody builds ocean liners.
Not entirely correct. QM2 makes regularly scheduled 7-day crossings between mid-May and early January. You are right in that she is used as a cruise ship January-May when she is on a world voyage. As someone who is not yet retired I do have to agree that using my vacation time to sail TA does limit the time I have to spend in port on the UK side. And a TA is not for somebody who hates sea days and prefers a port intensive voyage.

Yes, any cruise ship can get across the Atlantic. But they cannot do it in 7 days nor do they have the power to keep a schedule in rough seas.

There are enough passengers who want to sail across the Atlantic to make one ship profitable: like those who can't or won't fly and those who don't care for what flying has become. If there was enough market support on crossings to support more than one ship then QM2 would have a running mate.
#14
Green Bay, WI
3,900 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
One thing that did make me smile - and I had never thought of! On a TA from Southampton on RC, I was amazed at the amount of baggage a large proportion of the passengers had. This was in late November.

On board, after making several new friends, found out they were what here in Wisconsin we refer to as "snowbirds." They were all retired and spending the winter in Florida. Their younger kids/grandkids flee to the US to spend Christmas with them.

Although not as cold and snowy as I am used to, they indicated escaping cold, dampness and rain was their main intent.

In April they took another TA home. No cramped flying, and as much baggage as they wanted. Great idea!
#15
Palmdale, Ca
31,894 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by sparks1093
I did look at Cunard after seeing this post and I could see us using the QM2 to get to Europe for our annual trip to Germany. Once. 12 years from now when we retire. We'd be more likely to do a regular TA with another line that has some port stops included (again, 12 years from now, when time isn't such an issue for DW). But I do agree with others that point out how often TA's sail with empty berths (and cruise lines probably wouldn't do TA's if they didn't have to reposition the ships).
I have sailed 6 T/A's with Princess and the ships have always been filled to capacity.....

Bob
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#16
cruising.cockroach {at} gmail hotmail and yahoo
1,390 Posts
Joined May 2012
OTH, I have only sailed one TATL with HAL, and the Prinsendam was nowhere near to full capacity.
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Using cruise lines as a cheap means of comfortable if not speedy intercontinental travel....


Upcoming Sep 2017 Celebrity Millennium Vancouver-Yokohama


Mar 2016 Star Princess San Pedro-Vancouver
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Jan 2016 RV Yandabo Bagan-Mandalay

Nov 2015 Tirrenia Bithia Janas Arbatax - Civitavecchia
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April 2012 Island Princess San Pedro-Vancouver
Kasr Ibrim Abu Simbel-Aswan Feb. 2007

Way, way back....
P&O Cathay between Singapore and Hong Kong and back, March 1968 + August 1969
Koeln-Dusseldorfer Line Rotterdam - Bern
Thomson Ithaca Tanger to Brindisi April 1974
Chandris Bruge-Norway-Tilbury August 1974
Chandris Southampton - Canary Islands + Madeira - Southampton August 1976
#17
Connecticut
10,711 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by BlueRiband
Not entirely correct. QM2 makes regularly scheduled 7-day crossings between mid-May and early January. You are right in that she is used as a cruise ship January-May when she is on a world voyage. As someone who is not yet retired I do have to agree that using my vacation time to sail TA does limit the time I have to spend in port on the UK side. And a TA is not for somebody who hates sea days and prefers a port intensive voyage.

Yes, any cruise ship can get across the Atlantic. But they cannot do it in 7 days nor do they have the power to keep a schedule in rough seas.

There are enough passengers who want to sail across the Atlantic to make one ship profitable: like those who can't or won't fly and those who don't care for what flying has become. If there was enough market support on crossings to support more than one ship then QM2 would have a running mate.
You ignore two facts:

When QM2 crosses in seven days, she is doing it wearing her cruise ship hat. Her ability to cross in four days (the primary speciality of ocean liners -- which is not used).

Other ships - cruise ships - can cross in seven days - look at Celebrity's Autumn repositionings - 8 days Southampton to Boston - which could easily (but perhaps not as economically) be done in seven days.

Even when QM2 is doing her seven day crossings, she is cruising. If a falcon consistently walks like a duck and does not fly like a falcon, you can insist that she is still a falcon - but there is no point in her being a falcon.
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#18
City of the Purple Sprite
177 Posts
Joined Dec 2016
Originally posted by navybankerteacher
You ignore two facts:

When QM2 crosses in seven days, she is doing it wearing her cruise ship hat. Her ability to cross in four days (the primary speciality of ocean liners -- which is not used).

Other ships - cruise ships - can cross in seven days - look at Celebrity's Autumn repositionings - 8 days Southampton to Boston - which could easily (but perhaps not as economically) be done in seven days.

Even when QM2 is doing her seven day crossings, she is cruising. If a falcon consistently walks like a duck and does not fly like a falcon, you can insist that she is still a falcon - but there is no point in her being a falcon.
So she is a relaxed ocean liner. She still is the only ship to do regular transatlantic crossings, since cruise ships aren't built for that. Would be nice to have some more dedicated ocean liners, but like many have pointed out, it seems that there isn't enough demand anymore. I know flying is way faster, but it's just not the same experience as being on a ship.
#19
NYC
3,473 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by navybankerteacher
You ignore two facts:

When QM2 crosses in seven days, she is doing it wearing her cruise ship hat. Her ability to cross in four days (the primary speciality of ocean liners -- which is not used).

Other ships - cruise ships - can cross in seven days - look at Celebrity's Autumn repositionings - 8 days Southampton to Boston - which could easily (but perhaps not as economically) be done in seven days.

Even when QM2 is doing her seven day crossings, she is cruising. If a falcon consistently walks like a duck and does not fly like a falcon, you can insist that she is still a falcon - but there is no point in her being a falcon.
Calling a TA crossing a "cruise ship hat" is an opinion, not a fact. Far be it for me to question somebody with as much experience at sea as you have. So I'll instead reference a response by the ship's designer: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1917497
#20
Southern California
520 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Off subject a little. IMHO they need to expand ports in different cities before building more Mega ships. There needs to be more itineraries that are in the 5 to 10 day range that aren't in the Caribbean from US ports. It isn't good when there are 5 ships in a port on any given day, the crowds are overwhelming. There are several deep water ports (Port Hueneme) in California that could handle some nice west coast itineraries. Maybe this should be a new thread? Sorry, the topic got me to thinking.