Small ships popular but proving difficult to get built


Shipyard problems have delayed Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s first ship, the Evrima.

The small-ship cruise sector is booming, but getting its ships built on time is proving to be a big challenge.

Expedition and small luxury ships are among the hottest segments when it comes to passenger demand. But unlike the mega-liners churned out like clockwork by the big shipyards, small ships tend to be built at small yards, where inexperience with cruise work is the general rule.

The latest example is the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, a new entrant to the cruise industry that had hoped to make a splash this winter with its 298-passenger Evrima before the Super Bowl in Miami.

Instead, on Oct. 4, three months before scheduled delivery, Ritz-Carlton announced that the much anticipated Evrima (Greek for “discovery”) would be delayed until June 2020 because of shipyard issues.

In a statement, Ritz-Carlton blamed “delivery and project cost” problems at the Hijos de J. Barreras shipyard in Vigo, Spain, for the delay. 

“With additional challenges around the former shipyard management, both the new board of Hijos de J. Barreras and the board of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are working cooperatively toward a long-term solution for the shipyard,” Ritz-Carlton’s statement said.

Ritz-Carlton joins Scenic Luxury Tours & Cruises, the German line Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Norway’s Hurtigruten in suffering delays, ranging from minor to extensive, in the past two years in attempting to bring their ships to market.

All were building ships of under 600 passengers, and all were being built at smaller, lesser-known yards.

The Scenic Eclipse was delayed several times before making its debut in September 2019.

The Scenic Eclipse was delayed several times before making its debut in September 2019.

The delays make life hard for travel advisors. Many have clients who want to be among the first to experience new vessels. Some agents are themselves booked on inaugural cruises in order to better evaluate new ships for clients.

When ships are delayed and inaugural plans cancelled, it is hard to explain to clients who have blocked out time off and who have high expectations that they will be the first to sample the ships.

“When it hurts the advisors, of course, it hurts us,” said Ann Chamberlin, vice president of sales at Scenic, which christened its 200-passenger Scenic Eclipse expedition yacht in New York on Sept. 10. 

The ship, built in Croatia, was delayed not once but several times. All a line can do, Chamberlin said, is protect agent commissions, re-accommodate passengers and beg both groups for understanding. 

The delivery of the Scenic Eclipse was hurt by multiple issues, including worker strikes, financial malfeasance, management turnover and frozen bank accounts. In February, Scenic owner Glen Moroney invested in Uljanik Shipyard in Pula, Croatia, along with Croatia’s DIV Group and Italy’s Fincantieri to get the ship finished.

Scenic is not the only line to become a shipyard owner. After delays on its 530-passenger Roald Amundsen last year, Hurtigruten bought the Kleven shipyard in Norway to expedite the project.

In March, Hapag-Lloyd cancelled the first two scheduled cruises of the expedition ship Hanseatic Nature because of delayed delivery from the Vard shipyard in Norway. Fincantieri, which owns Vard, said in its most recent financial report that reorganization of Vard is a top priority and that some of its best Italian employees have been assigned to the job.

Lawrence Rapp, a principal at Seawise Consulting, said that many small yards are better prepared to build simpler ships.

In general, Rapp said, “these small yards are not aware of just how complex the projects really are. To get a prototype fully approved by [country] flag and class take much more time than they would anticipate because you have to go through impact-stability calculations, damage-stability calculations. And each time you make adjustments to one of these things, it affects the others and also the functionality of the ship itself.”

In addition, small ships are more often designs from prototypes, rather than copies of previous ships.

“When Carnival or Royal Caribbean are building ships, they will build five, six, eight, 10 of the same class,” Rapp said. “Once the calculations have been gone through and the design has been accepted, it’s a whole lot easier to plan going forward.”

In March, Hapag-Lloyd canceled the first two scheduled cruises of the Hanseatic Nature because of delayed delivery from the Vard shipyard.

In March, Hapag-Lloyd cancelled the first two scheduled cruises of the Hanseatic Nature because of delayed delivery from the Vard shipyard.

Moreover, small yards sometimes have to bring in workers who have cruise experience. 

“If you’re a small yard and you’re undertaking a project that is an order of magnitude bigger than anything you’ve ever done before, you’re probably bringing in a lot of people who are not used to you, and you’re not used to them, and relationships can be difficult to maintain,” Rapp said.

Daniel Schaefer, CEO of Sea Cloud Cruises, is currently building a 136-passenger ship at Metalships & Docks shipyard in Vigo, Spain. The project has been in the works since 2008 when it was at another shipyard that went bankrupt.

“Most of the time it’s that the yards have no experience in what they’re doing,” Schaefer said. 

Small-ship owners are forced to work with them because getting a slot at one of the big yards is next to impossible. 

“Going to Meyer Werft in Germany, you get a slot in 10 years,” he said. “So you have to go to some inexperienced yards and see if you get a berth there.”

One common stumbling block is weight, Schaefer said. And then there’s interior craftsmanship. “That creates a lot of problems. They come at the end because interior work is done at the end. And if you find out that it’s not the quality you were expecting, you don’t have much time to correct it.”

Schaefer said Sea Cloud made its mistakes on a ship built in 2001 and is confident that the Sea Cloud Spirit will be ready for its August 2020 debut. He said the ship is already in the water at the proper weight and ready to be finished.

“Looking at the mock-up quality work, we’re pretty sure our interior workers will do a good job,” Schaefer said.

Fincantieri to buy stake in STX France shipyard

Image result for stx france shipyard

STX France shipyard

An agreement has been reached for the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to acquire 48% of the French shipyard in St. Nazaire that is one of a handful of yards that builds large cruise ships.

The French yard is majority-owned by Korean conglomerate STX with the French government a minority 33% partner. The French government would continue to hold its one-third stake, plus veto power over decision-making, the French daily Ouest France reported.

A navy shipbuilder in France, DCNS, would get a 12% stake and a nonprofit called Fondation CRTrieste would be a 7% partner, the paper said.

The agreement, according to Ouest France, includes “commitments, particularly regarding the sustainability of the site and its activities, as well as investment and the maintenance and development of employment.”

Fincantieri emerged as the only bidder for the STX stake in the French yard, which has been for sale for several years due to financial pressures at STX.

STX France built the Harmony of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International and has contracts for a fourth Oasis-class ship, plus two Edge-class ships for Celebrity Cruises, due in 2018 and 2020.

With the deal, Fincantieri and Germany’s Meyer Werft will be the two major suppliers of big ships to the cruise industry, following Meyer’s acquisition of yards in Finland and Fincantieri’s investment in the STX France facility.

Shipyard visit the MS Artania in the Lloyd Werft

: Details & pictures for major rebuild

First details and background information on the major rebuild of MS Artania in the Lloyd Werft

Saturday afternoon, 04 October 2014, the sun shines from the azure sky, the cry of gulls lies in the warm autumn air and before us is the white hull of the MS Artania of Phoenix Reisen. One might even think of being in a picturesque harbor somewhere in the Mediterranean. But there’s something wrong in this idyllic setting. The more we approach the pretty cruise ship, the clearer it will be seen, at which place we find ourselves – in the Lloyd shipyard in Bremerhaven. In the 335 m long and 40 m wide Kaiserdock II is just the 1984-built, 230 meters long and 44,588-gt, at the time of Princess Diana as the “Royal Princess” baptized MS “Artania” undergone an extensive renovation and modernization – the biggest in its 30-year life history. The total amounts to around 45 million euros, of which a large part attributable to the 4 new main engines.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Even the abbreviated list of renovation and reconstruction reads spectacular and impressive, you then takes a look at the seven-page “Time Schedule”, then the layman can only imagine with imagination that not later than 06 December 2014, the first Guests will check in again on board. Overall, the Lloyd Werft has to deal with 76 days time to the seemingly endless list of tasks to be performed. So in order list are also extensive renovations to the electronics, the alarm and fire detection systems and the exchange of engines for the Davids of the lifeboats.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

The “Artania” is at Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven no unknown, because already in 2006 built the renowned shipyard on the River Weser to the then “Royal Princess” for the British shipping company P & O Cruises for “Artemis”. The Lloyd Werft also took place after the reconstruction of the “Artemis” to “Artania” in 2011 and has correspondingly extensive detailed knowledge of this beautiful cruise ship.

Is headed this spectacular renovation project of Norbert Jepsen (Project Management Phoenix travel), Lino Calzolari (Project Management V.Ships) and Silvia Cattarini Mastelli (Project Management Re-engining). Besides Captain Jens Thorn is 400 regular crew members and workers throughout the shipyard time aboard the MS Artania, 150 employees of different companies in alternate layers on board and from 300 shipyard workers also perform in shifts their work on the ship.

No stop in the hotel sector

The hotel continued operation during construction work in full swing, as the shipyard workers want lodging, and the cabins are cleaned. Hotel Manager Thomas Appenzeller has controlled the situation under control and coordinate all processes routinely and professionally. Despite enormous pressure of time is hectic and stress no trace visible.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

MS “Artania”, an exciting and emotional construction site

We took a look at the 04 October aboard the “Artania” and brought some impressions. Since we almost since their youth as “Royal Princess” know “Artania” and in 1988 for the first time were on board, this visit has also an emotional side to us.The main alterations are summarized here, with pictures and described for the cruise guest who otherwise rarely moves on ships under construction, detail.

We go on deck 4 in the Promenade on board. Where else comfy loungers available and stroll cruise guests relaxed on the teak decks, now working in protective clothing walk around on worn-out carpets between containers and cables. The wood railing is also taped with old carpets and thus protected from damage.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Where else comfortable lounge chair in the Phoenix Bar invite you to a delicious cappuccino or a leisurely afternoon with hot waffles, now compressors, motors, dumpster and roll stand with cover on thick wooden plates which protect the underlying wood decks. The entire teak decks outside are completely redesigned at the end of the shipyard time and partly renewed. Actually, the state is in comparison to other cruise ships still very good, but Phoenix Travel continues its high quality faithful and leaves the ship again polished to a high gloss.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Deck 2 – Standard cabins Cat. I2 / ZI / J1 / J2:

– The cabins received new carpets, curtains, and new upholstery on the chairs.

Deck 2 – Standard  cabins – Kat I2 / ZI / J1 except 2200 + 2201 / J2.

– Complete renovation and redesign of the bathroom, including installing a shower instead of a bath.

Deck 2 – Lobby

– Decorative remodeling including new carpet.

The Lobby on Deck 2 looks at the moment almost as if the last guest just left only. If not already a part of the carpet missing, then one would book the next shore excursion smooth on the idea board in travel agency.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Deck 2 – Restaurant Four Seasons:

– Complete renovation and redesign of the entire restaurant.

If you open the doors to the restaurant four seasons, then you can get a loud “Whoa!” Barely suppress. “Everything is out” would be the short description for the entire state of the current conversion status. The carpets are removed, unscrewed the tables, the counters smash partly in items, only the candlestick on the ceiling are still left. But it is eerily quiet and you close your eyes, and so it is not difficult to remember cozy nights in this restaurant.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

If the “Artania” stands to sea again in a few weeks, then the cruise guest will expect a completely new atmosphere. If you look at a map on the wall, then this increases the voltage to what is created here. Soon blowing a “fresh wind” by the Four Seasons Restaurant and it will fit in the harmonious overall picture already renovated areas.

Deck 4 – Standard cabins

– All cabins received new carpets, curtains and new upholstery on the chairs.

Deck 5 – Standard cabins – Cat H1 / H2 / M2 / XRL.:

– All cabins received new carpets, curtains and new upholstery on the chairs.

Deck 6 – Standard cabins – Cat C3 / H1 / H2 / H3 / O2 / O3.:

– All cabins received new carpets, curtains and new upholstery on the chairs.

Deck 6 – Standard cabins – Cat C3 / H1 / H2 except 6609 / H3 / O2 except 6608, 6611 / O3.:

– Complete renovation and redesign of the bathroom, including installing a shower instead of a bath.

Currently the old baths have been completely removed, the toilets are also renewed in this context.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Deck 6 – Superior cabins – Kat PG2 / ZG / Q1 / Q2.:

– Complete renovation and redesign of the bathroom, including installing a shower instead of a bath.

The next photo shows the view from the cabin aisle behind the wall paneling of two cabins to the drains of the vacuum toilets. The photo illustrates certainly very good, so basically in all vacuum toilets only the thin toilet paper should be thrown! The diameter of the vacuum pipes is significantly lower than conventional toilets, which is the case on all cruise ships.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Deck 7 – Superior cabins – Kat Q1 / R2 / PG2 / ZG.:

– Complete renovation and redesign of the bathroom, including installing a shower instead of a bath.

– New Pullman beds and bedsteads, new carpets, curtains, Neupolsterung of chairs.

Deck 7 – Junior Suites – Kat U4 / S2 / S3 except 7100 + 7102.:

– Complete renovation and redesign of the bathroom, including installing a shower instead of a bath.

– New carpets, headboards, curtains, bedspreads, pillowcases, Neupolsterung of sofas, armchairs and chairs.

The Bornholm suite number 8216 clearly shows how it currently looks in all junior suites on Deck 8. At each cabin door, a plan is attached which documents the work to be done.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

One dares now one step on the old balcony construction, so there is almost something adventurous. The entire steel structure balcony on deck 7 and 8 is removed and replaced with new balconies, new teak flooring, new patio doors, new lighting and new partitions. The old balconies are so far prepared for the degradation and connected only at individual points with the vessel wall – enough to run naturally still firmly around it.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Deck 8 – Gold Suites – Kat V4.:

– Complete renovation and redesign of the bathroom, including installing a shower instead of a bath.

As an example of the extensive reconstruction work in the gold suites we have the Mozart Suite looked at 8202.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Even in these suites bathrooms are already completely removed, expanded the bathtubs.

From the port bridge wing, one can look wonderful on the already distant steel structures of the old balconies. These are not completely removed, leaving large gaps for now. The opportunity is used to remove all corrosion and rust and to make the balconies then ready for the next 15 years.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Deck 8 Royal Suites Cat. W4:

– Renovation and redesign of the entire cabins and bathrooms including balcony, window, furniture, carpet, curtains, decoration.

In the great Emperor Suite and the opposite owner’s suite currently blowing a fresh wind around the corners, because it is missing some of them already windows, doors and balconies.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

The suites will be completely redesigned and rebuilt. Partitions missing, the ceiling panel is off, cables are redrawn, updated windows and balcony doors.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Even in the bathrooms, it does not look different. Here no tile and no wall will remain in place. It is interesting to see that in previous renovations the old tiles were removed but not taped. No unusual procedure but a relic of bygone days, which will now also vanish.

On the bridge of the MS Artania we meet Captain Jens Thorn, who was coming from the engine room and treat themselves to a short breather. “Despite a deadline, all work previously run according to plan and take regular breaks to ensure to keep a clear head,” Thorn explained to us.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

On the bridge of the MV “Artania” receives some innovations in the technical field as well as a new steel structure of the wind shield on both bridge wings.

Deck 8 – Lido buffet restaurant:

– Basic renovation and replacement of the carpet.

Where else can wait tasty food at the buffet stations and afternoon coffee scent is in the air, the curtains are protected from dirt wrapped in blue garbage bags and so far completed the preparations for the renovation. During the yard period, the Lido buffet restaurant serves the shipyard workers for breakfast, lunch and dinner as the main restaurant.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Also on the Lido deck is doing much. The wall windows and all columns are sanded, re-primed and painted.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Deck 8 – Copernicus pool:

– Renovation and redesign of Copernicus pool area. Wellness oasis and relaxation areas.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

On the whole sun deck of the paint is removed from the railings and applied a new primer and fresh paint in the later course.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Deck 9 Pacific Lounge :

– New panoramic window

– New ceiling and lighting design

Hard to recognize the Pacific Lounge on Deck 9, garbage bags, cables and generators, the courts have taken the seating.Partitions create temporarily a dark atmosphere, the otherwise beautiful view is obscured by scaffolding and plastic sheeting, the panoramic windscreen is already partially upgraded and removed the ceiling panel.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

The temporary partition walls were pulled in order to operate in parallel in the other areas without the effects of wind and weather further.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

The areas of the ship that are not renovated or have been renewed under the first restructuring in 2011, now serve as temporary storage for all the furniture. So the Atlantic Show Lounge is currently a major depot for chairs and mattresses.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

In brief, the Atlantic Show Lounge is a place of work professional upholsterers who are new bepolstern a 4-digit number of chairs, armchairs and seats.

The otherwise clear view of the stage is obstructed by tall stacks of mattresses. They will also be reupholstered, checked and if necessary cleaned or replaced.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Everything is covered in the Casablanca Lounge, which was built only 3 years ago in place of the former casino and is accordingly not refurbished.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Unaffected by the renovation work remains the already redesigned Artania Restaurant on Deck 3 and Harry’s Bar and the Boutique.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Lloyd Werft is for Museum

Before the ship, it would currently also very interesting, some already developed and in some cases 30 years located in service components is discovered there. Ausgedient now have the small engines that are used for the easing of David or the lifeboats and have reliably three decades has done its job.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

If you look further on the site of the Lloyd shipyard in order, we find the old steel structures of balcony cabins and the removed bathtubs, each neatly sorted on separate stacks. One might almost think, to move in a small maritime museum.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

This impression is only a few meters further changes, because here already are the new components available. Neatly lined up we discover the new metal structures for the balcony cabins, pre-assembled pipe systems, the new engines for the Davids and the huge main engines for the MS Artania.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

<< HERE >> it goes to the part “MS Artania: Successful installing new equipment in the Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven” and the complete picture gallery from 04 October 2014 weiiteren photos of the construction site there << here >> .