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New Royal Caribbean Group chief eyes new-builds and weighs acquisitions

The new president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Group says he is already considering new-builds for all three of the company’s brands and orders would be placed “as soon as business is back to normal pre-Covid levels, which is not far out”.

Speaking in France as he oversaw his first in-person ship delivery – Celebrity Cruises’ third Edge-class ship Celebrity Beyond – Jason Liberty said: “It could be later this year, or next year, but we have ships still on order through to 2026, so we have a little time.”

Liberty added that no ships had been ordered for a couple of years, so there would be “a bit of a gap” but confirmed: “We are absolutely thinking about [what comes after Edge class]. In fact for all three of our brands.

“We do things with great intent – whether that’s building the best contemporary family brand with Royal Caribbean, modern luxury with Celebrity or ultra-luxury and expedition with Silversea.

“All the data supports the demographics and the consumer trends – and we believe all three are going to grow, so we are going to need more ships.

“The addressable market in these segments is huge. We take the learnings of each ship and roll them back into the fleet or into future designs. We are dreamers [and] innovators.”

Liberty said Royal Caribbean Group was currently in a “very strong financial position” and had “performed very well versus our competitors” as he confirmed the group could also consider acquiring ships.

Asked if he was eyeing any of the Crystal Cruises fleet, he said the demise of the line was a “real shame” but he was comfortable with the group’s ultra-luxury offering, having just taken delivery of Silversea Cruises’ Silver Moon and Dawn and with the Silver Nova class to come.

However, he added: “We haven’t ordered anything in expedition. They have one expedition ship. Expedition ships could be of interest.”

Liberty confirmed the group was forced to take “cost actions” during the pandemic but insisted these had not impacted its product and had left it well-placed for the restart.

“One of our strong principles was to protect the brands, the ships and the experience. So we didn’t touch those,” he said.

“Our cost actions were by working more as a family, by using more scale in our supply chain. We addressed a lot of things while we weren’t operating and this has helped us to absorb inflation.”

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