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Cruise Industry Adds Capacity Despite Slow Economy

The Cruise Lines International Association estimates North American capacity will grow 8% in 2010 and 5% in 2011, despite our current economic malaise. The growth of capacity is due to the cruise industry having to take the long view, as ships take about three years to build. (They have a lifespan of 30 years or more.)

Just launched is the largest cruise ship ever built, Oasis of the Seas, by Royal Caribbean Cruises. With 5,400 passengers aboard, it towers 20 stories above the sea and is almost four football fields long (400 yards). The 225,000 gross-ton ship is about double the tonnage of a typical cruise ship and has 13 retail shops, 21 pools, and 24 restaurants plus a 300-foot water slide.

Given the 2009 fourth quarter�s soft cruise demand, 2010 should be good for cruise barter-inventory as this capacity expansion sparks barter deals.

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