New Cruise Ship Ordered at Meyer Werft
A new cruise ship order placed at Meyer Werft this week marks the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the German shipbuilder said.
The 229-meter, 51,950 GT cruise ship is scheduled for delivery in 2025 to Asuka Cruise, a joint venture between Japanese firms NYK Group and Anchor Ship Partners. It will be fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The order is significant for the cruise industry and specifically for the Meyer Group, whose three shipyards in Papenburg and Rostock, Germany and Turku, Finland have delivered eight new cruise ships combined over the last 12 months without any new orders amid the global coronavirus outbreak and resulting cruising pause.
Meyer Werft managing director Jan Meyer said the contract is a very important one for the Papenburg shipyard. "New orders are absolutely necessary for our current program for the future with enormously important savings and very many different measures," he said. "We have been able to win our new customer from Japan as a new customer in this extremely difficult global market situation and worldwide competition with the best ship concept, innovations, quality and a very challenging price for us."
Imke Knoop, Meyer Werft's head of sales and design, said, "The pandemic allows shipping companies all over the world to freely choose shipyard locations. The challenge is to survive with our combination of design, quality, innovation and, of course, under ever-increasing price pressure in the face of worldwide, sometimes heavily subsidized, competition. The order has come just in time; so far only one new building has been in our halls for 2025."
Global cruise lines were brought to a virtual standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic, but recently operators in certain regions have been slowly announcing plans for voyages to resume.
The operational pause also brought an end to newbuild ordering, and without a steady flow of orders, Meyer Werft—which had a healthy orderbook prior to the pandemic—expects its capacity utilization will remain at a lower level through 2025 or longer.
"Of course we are delighted about the newbuilding order, but at the same time we have to push ahead with our future program, continue to convert and optimize the shipyard so that we can also deliver the ship with economic success," said Meyer Werft's Thomas Weigend. "Thanks to this order, we now also have a second ship in the works in 2025, namely a small and a large ship. But it remains the case that we still have a lot of work missing for the year 2025. Our production in Papenburg is designed for an annual construction volume of 420,000 GT, but the two ships in 2025 have a total volume of only 182,000 GT."
"The current newbuilding order is not a turnaround from our difficult situation. In Papenburg we are designed for the series production of very large cruise ships," Meyer added. "Now we are building the prototype of a small ship without the option of sister ships. Therefore, it is to be classified as another step among many necessary measures.
"At the same time, it is also a positive signal. It is a completely new customer for Meyer Werft, we have asserted ourselves on a global market against global competition."
Meyer noted that the order is the first in the shipyard's 226-year history where all contract documents and plans were prepared and negotiated via video conferencing. "The effort has paid off," he said.
Meyer Werft said the new luxury cruise ship will incorporate a number of customized solutions, including hydrodynamics optimized for the ship's planned sailing routes, onboard facilities adapted to the needs of Japanese passengers and, as a result of the pandemic, innovations to the air-conditioning systems and contactless controls.
The vessel will have capacity for 744 passengers in 385 cabins, plus 470 crew.