What Do Cruise Ships Cost To Build?


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Are you wondering what do cruise ships cost to build?

This shipbuilding venture can be a massive financial undertaking.

Simply put it costs a lot.

But ‘a lot’ is very imprecise right?

So how much is ‘a lot’ exactly?

Can anyone put a definite price tag on this operational giant?

That’s the billion-dollar question we’re up against.

What Do Cruise Ships Cost To Build

Table of Contents

Cost Breakdown Of Cruise Ship Construction

The cost of constructing a cruise ship is significantly influenced by numerous factors such as the ship’s size the shipyard constructing it the level of service quality taxes onboard features and the prevailing economic conditions. The construction of cruise ships like the Oasis Class from Royal Caribbean which are the largest in the world can range between $1.3 to $1.4 billion.

Ship Size and Design

Costs dramatically increase with the size and complexity of the ship’s design. The impressive Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas part of the Oasis Class has an average cost per berth ranging between $119900 to $240000 ultimately bringing its total construction cost to$1.3 to $1.43 billion.

Quality of Service and Onboard Features

The quality of service offered onboard along with luxurious and modern engineering techniques used for onboard features significantly affect the construction cost. For instance the Regent Seven Seas Explorer known for being luxurious cost approximately $450 million to build accommodating only 750 guests.

Expensive Cruise Ship Builds

The expensive category of cruise ships includes the likes of MSC Cruises’ Virtuosa that cost roughly $800 million. Regent Seven Seas Explorer at $450 million and the slightly cheaper Evrima which falls somewhere around $320 million.

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The initial launch of the Titanic cost $3080 per berth the equivalent of $7.5 million in today’s money. In contrast the newly planned replica is slated to carry a price tag of $213000 per berth adding up to a total of $500 million.

Luxury Residential Vessel: MS The World

The MS The World stands out as the largest privately-owned residential vessel. Despite being smaller than most luxury cruise ships this ship still carried an expensive tag of about $213000 per berth totalling some $366 million in costs.

Add to this the cost per day for a cabin which starts at approximately $2000 and the total costs swiftly escalate.

Renovation Vs. New Builds

Given such high construction costs many companies opt for renovations over building from scratch. Beyond cost considerations refurbishing projects can often be completed faster than an entirely new build.

Dry-docking the process during which the vessel undergoes upgrades and refurbishments can save ship owners several million dollars making it a popular alternative to the new construction.

Factors Influencing Cruise Ship Construction Costs

The cost to build a cruise ship can be influenced by a number of varied factors. Size the specific shipyard involved in construction and the quality of service offered on board all play major roles in the total cost.

Another major factor that influences the price is onboard features. Ships like Oasis of the Seas or Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean have a wide array of amenities and attractions that add significantly to the building cost.

Oasis Class ships from Royal Caribbean offer high-tech gadgets like a Flo-rider and Laser-tag which although greatly adding to the wow factor can add millions to the construction cost.

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Other factors include contractual and administrative costs such as taxes and economy conditions during the time of construction.

  • Oasis Class ships cost between $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion to construct
  • MS The World the largest privately-owned residential vessel cost a total of $366 million
  • Regent Seven Seas Explorer cost $450 million to build
  • The new replica of the Titanic is estimated to cost $500 million in total

Renovation Vs. New Construction For Cruise Ships

When cruise companies are planning a new addition to their fleet they have a major decision to make: build a new ship or renovate an existing one.

Given the high costs of ship construction many companies opt to refit their older ships. This includes essential maintenance repairs and the addition of new amenities.

While renovation still involves substantial costs it is generally a more feasible option. For instance a typical refit can cost several million dollars less than the billions required to construct a new cruise ship from scratch.

However the decision is also influenced by other factors such as the ship’s age its historical significance and the company’s marketing strategy.

Ship Renovation Cost
Atlas Cruise’s World Navigator $80 Million
Regent Seven Seas Explorer $125 Million
Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas $165 Million

Comparative Cruise Ship Costs

The price to build a cruise ship varies dramatically depending on a range of factors. For example the colossal Oasis Class ships by Royal Caribbean including Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas have an average cost of over $1 billion per build due to their impressive features and huge guest capacities.

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On the other hand other expensive ships such as MSC Cruises’ Virtuosa and Regent Seven Seas Explorer have lower price tags at $800 million and $450 million respectively due to their smaller size and luxury focus.

Moving away from big luxury lines The World is the largest privately-owned residential vessel boasting a $366 million build cost. Still a hefty sum but far lower than the billion-dollar price tags seen on larger commercial cruise ships like those from Royal Caribbean.

The initial build of the notorious Titanic cost $3080 per berth equating to $7.5 million in modern currency. Its replica Titanic II is projected to cost around $500 million.

This clearly illustrates the dramatic increase in cruiser ship construction costs over the century.

Fascinatingly the shipyards performing these builds such as Chantiers de l’Atlantique Fincantieri and Meyer Turku play a major role in determining the final cost of the cruise ship. Different shipyards have varying price ranges heavily influenced by the economies of the countries they are located in.

The careful balance to maximise return on investment coupled with the market demand and competition amongst cruising companies keep the costs of construction in a constant state of flux. Factors such as the amenities on board the architectural and interior design and the long-term maintenance costs also play a large role in determining the final price tag.

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