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HANSA 09-2021

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SCHIFFFAHRT | SHIPPING The coastal cruise fleet In addition to the ocean cruise fleet, there are about 900 cruise ships with a minimum of 40 beds on the rivers globally and the fleets are growing. Besides Ocean cruising and river cruising there is a third segment which is hardly known but also growing quickly: the coastal cruise fleet counting another 300 ships. They are operating along the coasts of the continents or among islands in protected waters and most of them are only allowed to operate in a distance of just a few miles from the coastline. Over the last decade, coastal ships developed into small luxury cruise ships whose comfort level is comparable to big ships or expedition cruise ships. Such ships have a minimum of 16 cabins/32 lower beds. While such coastal cruisers are rare in most regions of the world, two countries have built up major fleets recently. In the EU the rules regarding coastal ships limit the number of passengers to 36 and many new ships follow this limitation in Croatia. The design is similar to private yachts. The other hot spot is the famous Ha Long Bay in Vietnam where comfortable cruise ships were first based on traditional junk designs, but today various types are being added including yacht-like luxury ships. The capacity is larger than in Croatia and nears about 100 beds. The growth of this coastal fleet is proven by two figures: Only 93 of the actual 307 ships were built before 2010 but 214 during the last twelve years. 80000 70000 60000 50000 40000 30000 20000 10000 0 sale and buyers have shown interest. MV Werften in Eastern Germany provided a lot of question marks about its future since the pandemic had stopped production in March 2020 and the owner Genting had problems to keep the operation running. At the yard at Stralsund the most luxurious polar expedition vessel of the world, the »Crystal Endeavour« – 20,000 GT for 200 guests – was delivered at the end of June 2021, one year later than planned. The completion of the largest cruise ship of the world – the 208,000 GT »Global Dream« for up 9,500 pax – was also postponed and delivery is now scheduled in 2022. The federal German government and Mecklenburg-Pommerania provided financing to make the completion possible when Genting ran out of money. However, the planned sister vessels of these two types were »suspended«. At the occasion of the christening of »Crystal Endeavour«, the Genting Group spread new hope: Following a financial reorganisation, a sister ship is scheduled for 2023, the second of the big ships is now on the agenda again and the prepandemic project of providing cruise ships for hotel groups with no own ship operating company is revived again. A Average GT per ship 1991 - 2020 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 new type – 90,000 GT for 2,000 pax – had already been under discussion, but Genting is now also offering sister ships of the »Crystal Endeavour« to hotel groups with day-to-day ship management by the Genting group ship operators. The first 90,000 GT ship could be delivered by 2025 in case an owner can be found. Neptun Werft, the third shipyard in the Meyer Group, was forced to reduce the manpower. Building of the floating engine room sections for the two other yards goes on in a stretched time schedule, but no more contracts for river cruise vessels are in the order book. The recently won contract for tanker hulls for the German navy may save jobs. Restart of main markets 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Following many controversial discussions between coastal states and the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention in the USA or regarding the vaccination of crews and passengers, some facts prove the restart of maritime cruises about 15 months after the first lockdown: • »MSC Virtuosa« set sail on May 20 at Southampton as the first ship to leave © Hader an U.K. port in 14 months. Operations are limited to a maximum of 50 % of the ship’s capacity. • Cruising is back in the U.S. as »Celebrity Edge« sails from Port Everglades on 26 June 2021 with an occupancy of 41 %, all crew and most pax being vaccinated. • The Port of Barcelona is reopened to cruising end of June with »MSC Grandiosa« carrying guests from Spain and other countries. • »Artania« is the first ship of the year at Bremerhaven Cruise Center on 12 July. • Since Canada has closed its ports for large cruise ships until 2022, the US Senate had to provide a waiver of the U.S. cabotage laws: until 2022 vessels under foreign flag can operate directly between the state of Washington and Alaska. Fleet statistics While the fleet stagnated last year due to many sales of ships for scrap and sloweddown newbuilding deliveries, it grew by about ten ships until end June 2021. By mid-2021 the key figures are 334 ships with 24.4 mill GT and 610,000 lower beds. It could increase by another ten ships until end of the year in case a further 15 ships are overtaken by the owners as planned actually and some others will leave the fleet the future of which may by a scrapyard, but they didn’t arrive there up to now. A further and more precise forecast would be too much speculative. By mid-July the first part of this forecast becomes already truth: The »Albatros«, well known to her German fans, is on the way from Egypt to an Indian scrap yard. 24 HANSA – International Maritime Journal 09 | 2021

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