Mixed fortunes for shipyards

//Mixed fortunes for shipyards

The Finnish shipyard where I saw Allure of the Seas nearing completion last week has a long and proud history of designing and building the biggest – and some of the most innovative – cruise ships the world has seen.
But the STX yard at Turku is going to be a very different and much quieter place after Allure sails away, heading for Florida, on October 29.
There are no other ships under construction in the yard; the giant dry dock is being used only to store Allure’s lifeboats, and the fabrication sheds are filled with empty packing cases instead of steel being cut and welded into construction blocks.
And the fact that Turku has been designated European Capital of Culture for 2011 is going to be of little consolation for thousands of skilled workers who will be out of a job within a few weeks.
In complete contrast the Meyer-Werft yard in Germany has a full order book through to at least 2012 and – if the latest rumours sweeping the cruise industry have any foundation – will be kept busy beyond that with a soon-to-be announced order from Norwegian Cruise Lines.
The Papenburg yard – where ships are constructed under cover in giant sheds – has two more Celebrity Solstice class ships to deliver – Silhouette next year and another in 2012. It is also working on Disney Dream and AIDAsol for next year, with Disney Fantasy and two more AIDA ships to follow.
NCL’s biggest ship, Norwegian Epic, was launched in June, and the company has been reluctant to announce what will come next. CEO Kevin Sheehan conceded to me that a newbuild was important to “put some sizzle on the steak” for potential investors, but was cautious to avoid saying when economic conditions would be favourable.
Industry insiders believe that time may be approaching, and it appears unlikely that NCL will turn to STX, in whose French yard Epic was built, after the fraught period during which the initial order for two ships was cut back to one, and the difficult completion period which saw a series of mystery fires on board the unfinished vessel, and a small army of workmen still on board long after the handover.
Meyer Werft have built seven of NCL’s current fleet of ships: and yard owner Bernard Meyer was on board Epic for the ship’s inaugural celebrations.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:22+00:00 7 September 2010|Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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