Disney Cruise Line’s new LNG-powered cruise ships, originally due for delivery in 2022 and 2023, will be delivered two years later than planned due to shipyard bottlenecks caused by the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year.
Disney announced the delay to the delivery of two of its new cruise ships during a fourth quarter earnings call on Tuesday. The company’s CEO, Bob Chapek, emphasised that the delivery was not due to a softening in forward cruise bookings.
“Demand is very, very strong for our cruise ships,” Chapek said. “We’re seeing extremely strong demand in the back half of fiscal-year 2021 and all of 2022 in terms of bookings.”
Disney’s move to delay the delivery of its two new cruise ships is in-line with announcements made by other cruise lines, all of which have blamed the delays on a shipyard backlog.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cruise industry had more cruise ships on order than at any time in history. With shipyards operating at full capacity, the global lockdown due to the pandemic created a series of bottlenecks that will affect deliveries for the next few years.
Disney had already announced in September that its newest cruise ship, Disney Wish, will be delayed by six months, and is now expected to be delivered in the summer of 2022.
The two additional ships after Disney Wish will be the cruise line’s sixth and seventh vessels in the fleet and will be sister ships to Disney Wish.
Disney’s current fleet of four has been waiting out the industry shutdown at a port in Brest, France.
Despite concerns over a possible retreat in demand for cruises in future, due to lingering concerns over the virus and the knock-on effects of the global economic downturn, Chapek said the cruise line doesn’t anticipate any challenges filling berths.
“We think there’s going to be so much pent-up demand that we don’t expect to have much issues, given the love that our guests have for Disney Cruise Line,” Chapek said. “We hope and expect that the world will be back to normal by then and anticipate having a fine time trying to fill up the demand of those ships.”
Disney Cruise Line has announced few details about the new vessels, all of which are of the same Triton-class and will carry 2,500 passengers in 1,250 staterooms. The 144,000-gross ton ships will be the largest in the fleet and are being built by Meyer-Werft in Germany.
While the three new cruise ships have faced delays, Disney has confirmed that the landside and waterside renovations its cruise terminal in Port Canaveral have continued unabated, with the project scheduled to be completed in April, 2021.