Meyer Wins First Post-Pandemic Cruise Ship Order From NYK

first post-pandemic cruise ship order
Rendering of the newly order NYK cruise ship (Meyer Werft)

Published Mar 31, 2021 5:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japan’s NYK placed an order for a new cruise ship with Meyer Werft marking the first cruise ship order since the pandemic forced the global suspension of cruising. The news of the order came as Meyer Werft also delivered a large new cruise ship built at its facilities in Papenburg, Germany.

The order from NYK is significant both as the first cruise ship order in more than 12 months as well as a first-time relationship between the large Japanese shipping company and the German shipbuilder. NYK’s previous cruise ships were mostly built at domestic Japanese shipyards with the company only having gone overseas to build cruise ships when it owned the US-based Crystal Cruises. It is believed there was strong competition for the order among the major shipyards specializing in cruise ship construction. While the price of the vessel was not announced, Japanese media is reported its cost in the range of $650 million.

"We have been able to win our new customer from Japan in this extremely difficult global market situation and worldwide competition with the best ship concept, innovations, quality and a very challenging price for us,” said Jan Meyer, Managing Director of Meyer Werft. “This is the first order in the shipyard's 226-year history where all contract documents and plans were prepared and negotiated via video conferencing.”

Meyer, which is one of the leading builders of cruise ships specializing in this niche of shipbuildng, reported a difficult outlook due to the impact of the pandemic on the cruise industry. Last spring, Bernard Meyer said that customers had told them that they no longer needed the cruise ships on order at the yard, but Meyer Werft worked with the customers to reschedule the deliveries and maintain all of its contracts. 

The yard has been taking steps to balance its workforce with the outlook adjusting capacities to anticipate that it would deliver one instead of two large cruise ships per year. Even with adjustments to its operations, Meyer Werft’s capacity utilization will remain at a lower level between 2021 and 2025.

"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," explains Thomas Weigend, Managing Director of Meyer Werft. “Thanks to this order, we now 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 order from NYK is for a 51,950 GT cruise ship due for delivery by the end of 2025. The vessel, which will have a length of 751 feet, will be the largest Japanese cruise ship to date and will feature a range of advanced technologies. NYK reports that the ship will become the first mid-sized cruise ship to be equipped with a dual-fuel engine that supports three types of fuel, low sulfur and marine gas oil in addition to liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The new cruise ship will also be equipped to use shore power and will have a dynamic positioning system that permits it to maintain a position without the use of anchors. NYK says it aims to be innovative with an eco-cruise ship equipped with the latest equipment. As measures against infectious diseases, the ship will also use a ventilation system that takes in 100 percent outside air, a high-performance filter, an ion sterilizer, and touchless elevator technology.

Designs for the NYK cruise ship will be finalized in consultation with Meyer with work scheduled to begin in 2023. The line says that it will be a luxury cruise ship with capacity limited to 85 percent (740 passengers) of its current cruise ship the Asuka II, while also maintaining a similar number of crew. All of the passenger cabins will feature private balconies.

News of NYK’s order came as Meyer Werft completed the handover of the Odyssey of the Seas to Royal Caribbean International. The 169,000 GT cruise ship, which was being assembled at the Meyer building hall when the pandemic struck, is approximately six months behind its original schedule. The ship is the second and final Quantum Ultra class ship, an enlarged version of the previous three Quantum class cruise ships. The new cruise ship becomes the twenty-fifth vessel in the Royal Caribbean International fleet and she is scheduled to begin service in May sailing cruises from Israel.

The delivery of the Odyssey of the Seas marks the eighth cruise ship Meyer Werft has delivered in the past twelve months from its yards in Papenburg and Turku, Finland. Work is currently underway at Papenburg on ships for AIDA and Disney Cruise Line and in Finland on ships for Costa Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line.

Technical data new building for NYK Group
Length: 228.86 meters (750 feet)
Width: 29.80 meters (98 feet)
Tonnage: 51,950 GT
Passenger cabins: 385 cabins
Capacity: 744 passengers
Crew: 470 Crew
Fuel: LNG propulsion