Royal Caribbean, Hapag-Lloyd Join Cruise Spending Spree

Hapag-Lloyd's expedition cruise ship design.

By The Maritime Executive 2016-10-10 18:18:55

Royal Caribbean has signed a memorandum of understanding with shipbuilder Meyer Turku to build a new class of cruise ships that will be powered by LNG.

The new cruise ships will join Royal Caribbean's fleet under the project name Icon.

The vessels will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024. In the meantime, the company said, it will begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, and will also run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum class vessels being built in the next several years.

Hapag-Lloyd’s Polar Orders

In the latest of a string of cruise ship orders globally, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has confirmed its order for two luxury expedition cruise ships with shipbuilder Vard.

Both vessels are specially designed for cruises in polar regions in the Arctic and Antarctica, but are also prepared for operations in warm water destinations such as the Amazon river. 

The vessels will be approximately 16,100 gross tons, about 138 meters long and 22 meters wide. Each vessel has seven passenger decks, with accommodation for 230 passengers in 120 cabins and suites. 

The hulls of the vessels will be built by Vard’s shipyard in Tulcea, Romania, and delivery is scheduled from Vard Langsten in Norway in the first quarter and fourth quarter of 2019 respectively.

Earlier this year, Vard announced an agreement with French luxury cruise company Ponant for the construction of four luxury, ice-class expedition cruise vessels, for delivery in 2018 and 2019. The vessels will be based on a series of ships Ponant ordered from Fincantieri between 2010 and 2015. Among other features, they will have an underwater observation lounge and a transparent-sided, stern-facing swimming pool. All passenger cabins will have ocean views and private balconies.

Fincantieri Order Rumors

The news of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises order confirmation coincides with rumors that Norwegian Cruise line is negotiating a six cruise ship order with Fincantieri. The Italian press reported that the 130,000 gross ton ships would cost about $700 million each and the first is expected to be delivered in 2022.

Norwegian Cruise Line placed an order with Fincantieri earlier this year for the construction a sister ship to Seven Seas Explorer for its Regent Seven Seas Cruises business scheduled for delivery in 2020.

The first steel was cut for Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam in July. The vessel is due for delivery from Fincantieri’s Palermo yard in Italy in November 2018. The 99,500 gross ton vessel - the 15th in the fleet - is the second Pinnacle Class vessel for Holland America Line, joining sister-ship Koningsdam that sailed its first cruise in April 2016. As its sister ship, Nieuw Statendam will be almost 300 meters long, with accommodation for up to 2,650 passengers in more than 1,300 cabins.

Fincantieri and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), China’s largest shipbuilding conglomerate, signed a joint venture agreement in May for the design and construction of cruise ships exclusively intended for the Asian market.

More LNG Newbuilds

In September, Carnival Corporation signed a memorandum of agreement with Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku for three additional next-generation cruise ships. Carnival said two of the new 180,000 gross ton LNG-powered ships are designated for the world's most popular cruise brand, Carnival Cruise Line, and will be built by Meyer Turku at its shipyard in Turku, Finland, with delivery dates expected in 2020 and 2022. The new ship for P&O Cruises U.K. will be built by Meyer Werft at its shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, with an expected delivery date in 2020.