But, with only 9 ships in the fleet ( 8 if Zenith is retired in '08 upon arrival of the newbuild ), and Xpedition not being interchangeable, having a post-panamax really hurts X's flexibility in fleet deployment....Don't you think ??? Unless they sail the newbuild thru Asia , transPacific and onto USA WestCoast, this ship will be ''Europe//Carribean'' 24/7....I'm surprised RCI went that route with X's limited fleet, not the same scenario as its own which can '' afford'' the number of PostPanamax they have.
I'm not persuaded. I think that the company plans to deploy MV Zenith on some more exotic itineraries, much as Princess does with smaller vessels. It would be nice to see itineraries to the South Pacific and to the far east, for example. Even if MV Zenith goes away, though, the line will have as many vessels in the range of 70,000 tons to 95,000 tons as the larger fleet of Princess Cruises that can operate Panama Canal itiineraries, and Princess operates one of the largest fleets of "post-panamax" vessels (that is, vessels that are too large to transit the Panama Canal) with seven such ships now in service and an eighth under construction. Here's a listing of the current Princess fleet, sorted by size.
>> R1 Class (30,277 tons, 686 passengers) - MV Tahitian Princess year round and MV Pacific Princess for summer season (operated by sister line P&O Australia for winter season), both acquired after the bankruptcy of Renaissance Cruises; 1.5 ships
>> Regal Princess Class (60,845 tons, 1590 passengers) -- MV Regal Princess; 1 ship
>> Sun Princess Class (77,499 tons, 1950 passengers) -- MV Sun Princess, MV Dawn Princess, and MV Sea Princess; 3 ships
>> Coral Princess Class (91,627 tons, 1974 passengers) -- MV Coral Princess and MV Island Princess; 2 shops
>> Grand Princess Class (108,806 tons, 2600 passengers, post-panamax) -- MV Grand Princess, MV Golden Princess, and MV Star Princess; 3 ships
>> Diamond Princess Class (113,000 tons, 2674 passengers; post-panamax) -- MV Diamond Princess and MV Sapphire Princess; 2 ships
>> Caribbean Princess Class (117,000 tons, 3100 passengers; post-pnamax) -- MV Caribbean Princess and MV Crown Princess, plus MV Emerald Princess under construction; 2 ships active + 1 ship under construction
It's important to note that post-panamax vessels can move between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean either of two ways, and Princess's vessels have done or are scheduled to do both. One option is a deployment to South America, where Celebrity already has a strong presence, for the winter season and then to rerturn north on the other side. The other option is a repositioning cruise across the Indian Ocean and through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, which would offer some rare ports of call for Celebrity's faithful customers. Such an itinerary might precede or follow a season of cruises in the western Pacfic or around Australia and New Zealand, where sister line Royal Caribbean Internatoinal usually deploys a ship for the winter season.