The cruise industry: An industry worth keeping

With last year’s delivery of the Celebrity Flora, a Dutch yard completed a sea-going passenger ship for the first time in 46 years. SWZ|Maritime’s new cruise special shows the cruise shipbuilding industry is very important for both Europe and the Netherlands.

The last cruise ship built in the Netherlands before the Celebrity Flora was the Prinsendam in 1973. This ship was lost, however, in a fire in the Pacific in 1980. This spring, Shipyard De Hoop is expected to deliver its second newbuild cruise ship and there is hope for more to come.

With building cruise ships again, the Dutch maritime industry joins the Germans (Meyer Werft and MV Werften), French (Chantiers de l’Atlantique), Finnish (Meyer-Turku) and Italians and Norwegians (Fincantieri-Vard) that gained great fame in the construction of cruise ships.

Absolute champions

In this field of shipbuilding, the Europeans are the absolute champions and it is worth the effort. Thanks to cruise ships, the European shipbuilders are still the biggest in the world in annual turnover. That this turnover is so high is because this type of shipbuilding is capital and labour intensive. In simple words: the ships are expensive, and you need a lot of workers to complete a cruise ship. A lot of work means jobs, a lot of jobs.

In Europe, in total almost one million people depend on the maritime industry for their income. Especially in countries like Germany, France, Finland and Italy, that’s often a job on a yard that builds cruise ships. Because next to cruise ships, naval ships and superyachts, we in Europe practically don’t built anything else anymore. Ships for all the other markets, the bulkers, container vessels and (gas) tankers in particular, are nowadays constructed by the Asians, especially the Koreans and Chinese.

Keep it European

And now, the Chinese are also after the cruise market. It was not that long ago that Europe already once lost its cruise shipbuilding to the Asians when in 2007/8 in a surprise move, the South Korean shipbuilding group STX bought a controlling stake in Norway’s Aker Yards. Aker employed more than 20,000 people on eighteen shipyards in Finland, Germany, Romania and Brazil where they built cruise and merchant ships, ferries and specialised vessels for the offshore oil industry. In 2017, STX had to pull out of Europe. Most of the yards were bought back by European parties.

Let’s keep it that way and read in our magazine why it is also worthwhile for the Dutch maritime industry. For our special, we talked to two important suppliers of the cruise shipbuilding industry; Heinen and Hopman and Bolidt. In addition, we take a detailed look at the Celebrity Flora and provide an overview of the European cruise shipbuilding industry.

Picture: After the Celebrity Flora, Shipyard De Hoop is now completing its second expedition cruise ship, the Silver Origin, to be delivered this spring.

Author: Antoon Oosting, editor-in-chief SWZ|Maritime