martes, noviembre 19, 2013

Ya no existe el crucero del amor....

Me siento como si me hubieran dado un garrotazo. Debieron hacer un auction de caridad con los props del programa (el de los 70s) Fairplay November 7, 2013 Cruising faces slow growth but healthy orderbook While significant passenger growth remains elusive for the cruise sector, interest in ordering newbuildings continues unabated, writes Robert Willmington The cruise ship fleet in service has been more or less stagnant for the past year. Data from IHS Maritime shows that fleet removals exceeded new ship deliveries by one vessel. Nevertheless, those vessels added to the fleet in the past 12 months were significantly larger than the ships that were taken out of the fleet by demolition. Total fleet removals since last November comprised seven ships with a combined tonnage of around 91,000gt. A number of well-known old favourites were consigned to the breakers’ yards. These included the 24,942gt Saga Ruby of the UK’s Saga Cruises. Better known as the Vistafjord, this vessel was built in 1973 by Swan Hunter and operated for Norwegian America Line and, later, Cunard. Also sold for scrap was the 1966-built 11,200gt Ola Esmeralda, which served for over 30 years for Norwegian operator Fred Olsen Cruise Lines as the Black Prince in the UK market. However, arguably the most famous cruise ship demolished in the past year was the 1971-built, 20,000gt, Pacific, which found fame on mainstream television during the 1970s as the setting for ABC Television Network’s Love Boat series when owned by Princess Cruise Line as Pacific Princess. This series in particular is credited with providing a major boom to the cruise ship sector, especially for the American market, as it showcased cruising to a mass audience (see p66 of October Solutions). Entrants In the past year, new ships entering the cruise sector comprised six vessels with an aggregate tonnage of 552,000gt. These included the 11,000gt La Soleal, which was delivered in June to France’s Compagnie du Ponant by Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard. With a passenger capacity of 264, the La Soleal is a virtual repeat of two sister vessels, the Le Boreal and L’Austral, which were constructed by the same builder during 2010. Not long after delivery of La Soleal the same owner, which is now owned by private equity investor Bridgepoint following its sale by containership operator CMA CGM, contracted a fourth sister, which is due for delivery in spring 2015. This fourth vessel will be based on the Alaska and Australasia markets. Compagnie du Ponant claims to be the luxury cruise market leader in France and francophone Belgium and Switzerland and world leader for Arctic and Antarctic cruises. Also delivered recently for the top end of the cruise market was Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2, which was completed by STX France. This 43,000gt vessel can carry 544 passengers and is targeted at the five-star German market. More mainstream ships completed in the past year include the 145,000gt Norwegian Breakaway, which was delivered by German yard Meyer Werft in April to the Star Cruises subsidiary Norwegian Cruise Lines (see September Solutions, p30-32). During the same period, Carnival Cruise Lines took delivery of two ships for its subsidiary operators Aida Cruises and Princess Cruises, respectively. These were the Aidastella, which was the last of four 71,000gt, 1,600 passenger capacity ships built by Meyer Werft for Carnival’s Germany-focused operation, while the 142,000gt Royal Princess (3,600 passengers) was the first of two sister ships ordered from Fincantieri’s Monfalcone yard (see page 46-47). Finally, MSC Cruises of Switzerland took delivery of the MSC Preziosa, which was the fourth in a series of similar 4,000 passenger capacity vessels contracted from STX France. Interestingly, MSC Preziosa (139,000gt) was originally ordered by Libya’s General Maritime but was taken over by MSC more or less “on the stocks” following the inability of the original owner to complete financing arrangements. European builders In terms of the cruise ship forward orderbook, European shipbuilders continue to dominate this sector. Of the combined 2.58m gross tonnage worth of ships on order, some 89% of this is being built in Europe, with Japan building 9% while the remaining 2% of orders are in the hands of Canada. “Looking beyond 2016, the possibility of competition from China, as well as Japan, is a matter of concern,” said Cruise Lines International Association, which carried out a recent annual economic impact study. The study also pointed that a record 6.26M passengers from Europe took a cruise last year, a 1.3% improvement over the 2011 total. This appears to be a significant achievement bearing in mind the backlash to the Costa Concordia disaster in January 2012; however recent passenger growth figures are a long way from the regular double-digit annual passenger increases seen before the global financial crisis. While passenger growth levels are not what they were, orders for new ships continue apace and those placed in the past year include a contract signed by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) for a second ‘Breakaway Plus’ newbuilding at Germany’s Meyer Werft. This 163,000gt, 4,200-passenger capacity vessel, will be delivered in spring 2017. The initial Breakaway Plus-class ship was ordered in October 2012 for delivery in 3Q15. Pricing levels of the Breakaway Plus pair are understood to be in the region of €700M per vessel with NCL having secured export guarantee financing covering 80% of the contract cost. Breakaway Plus is an evolution of NCL’s previous 146,600gt, 4,000-passenger vessels ordered by NCL at Meyer Werft with the first, Norwegian Breakaway, delivered in this year, while the sister Norwegian Getaway is booked for delivery in early 2014. Earlier this year Meyer Werft won a third Quantum-class (167,800gt) newbuilding from US-based Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) for delivery in mid-2016. “The price and terms of the new ship are similar to the price and terms of the first two Quantum-class ships and the contract is subject to financing conditions,” said RCL. The yard had previously stated that the first two vessels for RCL had cost about €700M each. A union spokesman said the yard’s workforce backed accepting the order even if awarded “under extremely hard” financial conditions, as it would close a gap in the orderbook after 2015. The yard’s boss Bernard Meyer said: “This is a great task and challenge for us, but also a great chance. Just winning any contracts in the current [market] situation is extremely difficult. Newbuilding prices have fallen steadily in the past few years.” Meanwhile, Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) signed a contract with Italy’s Fincantieri for a 54,000gt, 738-passenger, five-star newbuilding in a USD450m deal. To be named Seven Seas Explorer, it is booked for delivery in summer 2016 with the 223m-long ship being built at the Sestri Ponente yard in Genoa. RSSC stated that its new vessel will be a green ship that will include the most advanced environmental systems and state-of-the-art technology. The RSSC brand is owned by Prestige Cruise Holdings, which is in turn owned by private equity fund Apollo. Financing for Seven Seas Explorer is being arranged by Credit Agricole with the support of Italian export credit agency SACE. RSSC presently has three vessels in operation. These are the 700-passenger Seven Seas Mariner (built 2001) and Seven Seas Voyager (built 2003), together with the smaller Seven Seas Navigator, which was delivered in 1999. The addition of the Seven Seas Explorer, RSSC’s first newbuild in a decade, will expand fleet capacity by 39%. Fincantieri’s CEO Giuseppe Bono noted that RSSC’s order adds “another prestigious brand to our client list, thanks to the fundamental synergy created by the country through agencies designated to promote Fincantieri exports”. Surprise One of the more unusual orders placed this year was won by Norwegian offshore shipbuilder Kleven, which took on a contract from an undisclosed owner for a high-specification, 107m-long Expedition Support Vessel. This newbuilding has been specifically designed for long expeditions in rough waters and will have accommodation for 60 passengers with a helipad and helicopter hangar being among its more unusual attributes. Construction will be undertaken at Kleven Verft’s own yard in Norway with delivery due in December 2014. No study of the present cruise ship orderbook would be complete without mention of the Clive Palmer-led project to construct a modern version of the White Star Liner Titanic at Chinese shipbuilder Jinling. While Solutions has been unable to confirm whether a firm shipbuilding contract is in place, model tank testing of the vessel’s proposed hull design was understood to have been concluded as we went to press. Whether Titanic II will be delivered as planned in 2016 remains to be seen. Size profile (vsls) Size (GT) In service On order <=4,999 245 4 10,000 – 19,999 32 1 20,000 – 49,999 65 2 5,000 – 9,999 26 1 50,000 – 99,999 104 4 100,000 – 149,999 48 8 150,000 – 199,999 4 5 200,000=> 2 1 Source: © 2013 IHS Fairplay

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