Cruise Lay Up Best Practices: Be Ready to Enter Service

Cruise Ship in Nassau

The key to laying up a cruise ship may be in the preparation to quickly enter revenue service again, according to Per Bjornsen, director, V.Ships Leisure.

“The only option right now is a hot lay-up,” he told Cruise Industry News. “That means the ship runs on its own power, its own systems and there is a crew; a proper crew onboard maintaining the vessel.”

That is a full deck and engine crew and some hotel crew to cater, clean and run various hotel systems.

The ship will thus be ready to resume regular passenger service on short notice.

“You need to make sure the systems are running, going into cabins every day and running the water for example,” said Bjornsen.

Overseeing multiple cruise ships for various brands, Bjornsen said the company was ready to support industry players with a wide network of offices.

“If you want to support your vessel from a shore-based organization, the vessel should be laid up where you have an office,” he said, noting most borders in Europe were closed. “We have the offices, the network and our operation are more resilient.”

V. Ships Leisure is also looking at synergies among its clients and talking to other cruise lines he said, considering putting ships in one place or port, for best practices.

“We are discussing these synergies as they relate to operating costs to see how we can be looking after ships together in the best possible way.”

MSC Announces Temporary Stop to Operations

MSC Seaside

MSC Cruises has announced the decision to temporary stop all its U.S.-based new cruises embarkations for 45 days until April 30.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said: “This is not a decision we took lightly but under the current circumstances, the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities ashore – including our employees and their families – must come first. As a family company with over 300 years of maritime tradition, we felt that this was the right decision to make.”

The Company has already also halted ship operations across all areas considered as high risk for the virus, in the Mediterranean, the Gulf and Asia.

Ships still in operations in South America and South Africa will also end their operations at the end of their current itineraries.

Seattle: Alaska Drives Demand


Quantum of the Seas in Seattle.

 While moving ahead with plans to build a third terminal, the Port of Seattle set another record last year with 1,210,000 passengers on 211 calls and is forecasting a further increase this year to 1,380,000 passengers on 225 calls.

“We are also extending our season starting as early as April 1 with the Grand Princess and closing on Oct. 19 with the Ruby Princess,” said Michael McLaughlin, director of cruise and maritime operations. “Norwegian Cruise Line will also bring a third ship, the Norwegian Sun, joining the Bliss and the Encore at Pier 66. The Sun will sail 11-day Alaska cruises.

“Next year, the new Norwegian Encore will replace the Joy,” he continued. “It is a good example of how Norwegian is keeping their newest and best products in the market.

“Also in 2021, Carnival will replace the Spirit with the larger Freedom.”

Last year marked Seattle’s 20th year as a cruise port, during which it has seen nearly 14 million passengers.

“What stands out over those two decades,” said McLaughlin, “is that even during the recession we continued to grow our market share year-over-year. There was some flattening out in Alaska when that head tax was put into place, but it had less effect on Seattle in that we had entered into berthing agreements with the brands where they needed to meet their annual guarantees. So when they decided to pull ships out of the market as a result of the taxation in Alaska, it had less effect on Seattle.

“Over the long run, the growth trend has been really positive.”

Having released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new terminal last summer, the port has announced three groups that were shortlisted. They were the so-called Cruise Industry Leaders Group, with Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Carnival Corporation and SSA Marine, a Seattle-based stevedoring company; Global Ports Holding and Miami-based Civil & Building North America; and Ports America, teaming up with Jacobs Engineering Group, headquartered in Dallas.

With the goal of having the new terminal ready for the 2023 season, it means Seattle will have three cruise terminals and four berths: Terminal 46 with one berth; the Bell Street Terminal at Pier 66 with one berth, and the Smith Cove Terminal at Pier 91 with two berths.