MV Werften Delivers First Cruise Ship in Renewed Operation
The naming of the new expedition cruise ship Crystal Endeavor at the MV Werften shipyard in Germany on June 26 was celebrated as a turning point for the shipyard which was hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. More than a year behind schedule, the 20,200 gross ton vessel is the first polar-class expedition cruise ship built in Germany and the first ocean going vessel delivered by the shipyard which was started by Genting Hong Kong.
“Crystal Endeavor’s naming ceremony is a sign of Germany’s relaunch as a shipbuilding location and I am honored to be named Godmother, and proud for our region and country to play an important role in the story of this unique ship,” said Manuela Schwesig Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the region where the shipyard is headquartered. “Our shipyards are innovative high performers, with highly motivated experts and know-how acquired over decades. The employees at MV Werftem have successfully driven the transformation process from containership production via special-purpose shipbuilding to cruise ship construction in the last few years, demonstrating that even under difficult circumstances they can achieve top performances.”
At the beginning of June, Germany’s Federal Government along with the State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania provided new financing to help the shipyard to continue operations. MV Werfted closed in the spring of 2020 blaming the COVID-19 related restrictions and the impact of supply chains. Last fall Germany provided initial bridge loans to the shipyard so that work could resume on the nearly completed Crystal Endeavor. In the new package provided by Germany’s economic stabilization fund, MV Werften received a $286 million subordinated secured loan facility as well as $71.5 million in a silent participation specifically for the costs of completing the Crystal Endeavor and continuing work on Genting’s 208,000 gross ton Global Dream cruise ship under construction at the shipyard.
Due to the delays in construction and financial difficulties at Genting Hong Kong, which is the parent of the shipyard and Crystal Cruises, the company had withdrawn from a sale-leaseback agreement with Crédit Agricole that had been set up to finance the Crystal Endeavor. As part of the German rescue package, Genting is also receiving a $374 million post-delivery financing facility for the expedition cruise ship.
“Today is a landmark day as we christen Crystal Endeavor, the first and only Polar Class Six (PC6) expedition yacht to be built in Germany, and a testament to Crystal’s award-winning design and MV Werften's superb German engineering,” stated Tan Sri Kok Thay Lim, the Chairman of Genting Hong Kong.
The cruise ship is part of the industry’s expansion into luxury, exploration cruising. Measuring 538 feet in length, the company boasts that she is the fastest, highest-performance, and most spacious expedition mega-yacht in its sector with a passenger space ratio of more than 100. Her Polar Class PC6 classification enables her to navigate Arctic and Antarctic regions and redundancies, including 100 percent additional lifeboat capacity to handle extreme polar conditions. She accommodates a maximum of 200 passengers and features amenities ranging from six restaurants and a casino, to a glass-covered, two-story solarium, a spa and a fitness center, as well as various lounges. For expeditions by air and by water, she carries two helicopters, 18 Zodiacs, 14 kayaks, and a six-guest submersible. Her maiden voyage is scheduled to commence in Reykjavík on July 17.
Speaking at the ceremonies, Colin Au, Genting Hong Kong’s President and CEO, also renewed the company vision for the shipyard. In addition to building the two large cruise ships for Genting, they are promoting a plan to build 90,000 gross ton cruise ships carrying 2,000 passengers in a standardized design. Au described a concept where major hotel brands would purchase and customize the cruise ships marketed to their loyalty programs with Genting Hong Kong overseeing day-to-day operations on a management basis.