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17 May 2018

BY Tom Parry

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Marella eyes growth through 'smaller ship' ethos, says boss

The boss of Marella Cruises says the line aims “to grow further” in the UK market but has ruled out launching substantially larger ships.

Marella Cruise ships sailing into the sunset
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Chris Hackney said the line may add bigger ships in future but was 'not interested' in having five or six thousand-passenger vessels

Speaking to TTG onboard its newest vessel the 1,924-passenger Marella Explorer in Palma, managing director Chris Hackney said the line had seen its sales grow by more than 25% in each of the last two years “which strongly suggests there is more opportunity for us to grow”.

 

“It may mean slightly bigger ships but we are very much at the stage where we are not interested in those that are five or six thousand passengers,” he added.

 

“One of our USPs is around smaller ships which can get to destinations other larger vessels can’t so around 2,000 passengers feels about right for us.

 

“But we will look at the overall [Tui Group] fleet plan and see what opportunities are out there.”

 

Following Tui Group’s half-year financial results last week, Tui Group chief executive Fritz Joussen said he “would not exclude” the idea of adding more ships to the travel giants cruise brands, citing a belief that Europe could overtake the US in terms of cruise penetration.

 

The company also approved construction of a third Hanseatic-class new build for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, to be delivered in 2021.

 

“We are very bullish on this segment,” Joussen said.

 

Formerly Mein Schiff – Explorer is the third ship from the Tui-owned line to launch in the last three years following Discovery in 2016 and Discovery 2 in 2017.

 

The vessel will have its naming ceremony in Palma, Majorca later today (May 17), Hackney’s first since becoming managing director in December.

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