Upgrading ships will be a key issue for the future of the cruise market, according to a ship yard expert.

Speaking to delegates at the European Cruise Council conference in Brussels earlier this week Fincantieri ship yard head of cruise ship marketing and sales Loris Di Giorgio said that although cruiselines were increasing the size of their new builds, upgrading is still instrumental to their business.

He said “Upgrading ships will be a focus I think. But all sectors – contemporary, premium and luxury brands are all increasing their size as well.

“The ships need to have appeal and innovation – a bigger ship can have more attractions to the passenger.”

However Giorgio warned that the size increases might slow soon and cruise companies will have to research what the appropriate size is for each sector of cruising.

The largest ship currently on order is Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Genesis project which weighs in at 220,000 tons.

As of January 2008 there were 43 new ships on order until 2012. Also 90% of new ship builds are undertaken at the three main European yards – Aker Yards, Fincantieri and Meyer Werft.