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Royal Caribbean considers extra capacity for cruises to Europe – 11 Jan 2009

Cruiseline Royal Caribbean International is considering bringing more capacity to Europe in 2008/09 as it makes ground on UK cruise market leader P&O Cruises.

UK managing director Robin Shaw said the company was exploring options to add to the four ships that will visit the Mediterranean this year, including the 3,100-passenger Voyager of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas.

“Increasingly we are offering far more capacity because the demand is there in the UK and from the other European markets. Demand is driving it, whether it’s for bigger ships or slightly smaller ships. We want to continue to push the boundaries in terms of where these ships can go.”

Shaw said it was support from the trade that has helped Royal Caribbean establish itself as the number three brand in the UK behind P&O Cruises and Thomson. He predicted Royal Caribbean’s market share will hit 15% this year, up from 13% in 2005, representing around 130,000 customers annually.

“Go back a few years, and maybe the competition had a bit of a stranglehold in some areas and with some trade partners, but all trade partners know the benefits of diversifying their product,” said Shaw.

“In the last few years all major trade partners have realised the importance of the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises product in the UK market. We like to consider ourselves the challenger brand,” he said.

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