Michael Bayley admitted that the strengthening of the pound against the dollar, which reached $1.41 last week, had encouraged the line to “re-evaluate” its positioning of ships.
“We’re delighted the pound is doing so well. It’s great news, and when the rate is at that level or better, it causes us to re-evaluate the deployment of ships into the UK market,” he said.
“We look at all markets and their performance relevant to price, so when sterling fell [after the EU referendum] the value of the business in the UK was stripped.
“A week after the Brexit vote our projected revenue from the UK dropped by $50 million on conversion. But now it is back, and it’s improved substantially – the exchange rate is a 15% change from what it was.”
Asked if the change was enough to justify placing a new ship in the UK market, Bayley replied: “There is going to be a ship in the UK market in 2020 – there is a Quantum-class ship coming to the UK market, and it will be sailing out of Southampton and homeporting there for a season.”
He suggested the vessel would likely be either Anthem or Quantum of the Seas, given that the other Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas, will be redeployed from China to Alaska in 2019. It will be replaced in China by the new Quantum Ultra-class ship Spectrum of the Seas, which launches in the spring of 2019.