Caribbean capacity is down for the first time since 2008. 300,000 people is the difference, as Caribbean capacity in 2015 dips to just about 8.8 m passengers.

Most of the dip comes from a decision by RCI (Royal Caribbean International) to take Allure of the Seas to Western Mediterranean and move Quantum of the Seas to China. Without those two ship re-deployments, Caribbean numbers would be almost the same or up slightly over 2014, when there was a 13% capacity increase in Europe.

In recent years the Caribbean has been propelled by sun, sand, short itinerary legs, lots of affordable airlift and stable geopolitics. In the summer, problems in Europe have driven passenger capacity back to the Caribbean, but pricing has yet to materialize.

After more new ships are added, there will be more tonnage to carry more cruisers in the Caribbean. With a short list of winter options and an order book surging for the big lines for 2016, 2017 and beyond, Caribbean destinations are looking forward to a bright future. Leading islands all mention major infrastructure improvements in order to accommodate more and bigger ships.

While one new vessel may be heading to China, of 5 new-builds delivered in 2014 (Costa, Norwegian, Princess, Royal, TUI), the majority of that capacity is planned for the Caribbean during winter season.