Genting Hong Kong Buys Lloyd Werft – Other Cruise News: Silversea’s Fourth Expedition Ship – Queen Mary 2 Refit Details
by Kevin Griffin
Following on the order of five Crystal ships from Lloyd Werft and reports in August, it has now been confirmed that Genting Hong Kong is taking a majority interest in the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven. And last Friday, Silversea announced that it would convert its 296-berth Silver Cloud to an Ice Class polar expedition ship. Finally, Cunard Line has confirmed the appointment of SMC Design as lead contractor for the 25-day Queen Mary 2 refit scheduled to take place at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg next spring.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Genting Hong Kong Buys Lloyd Werft
On August 10, The Cruise Examiner reported that following its five-ship Crystal Cruises order with Lloyd Werft, Genting Hong Kong was in discussion with the Bremerhaven-based shipyard regarding acquiring a significant ownership stake.
That interest, said last month to be worth at least 25%, has now been announced as €17.5 million for a 70% interest in Lloyd Werft and half ownership of the land on which the shipyard is situated.
Lloyd Werft has been selected for the construction of three new 100,000-ton 1,000-berth polar class vessels for Crystal Cruises and two new river vessels for Crystal River Cruises.
Today’s shipyard survives from the once-powerful Bremer Vulkan, which went out of business in 1997.
Together with Lloyd Werft, Bremer Vulkan delivered the 1,928-berth Costa Victoria in 1996, while Lloyd Werft itself completed the 2,002-berth Norwegian Sky in 1999.
The Norwegian Sun followed from Lloyd Werft in 2001 on a hull built at Wismar, while the Pride of America was completed in 2004 on a hull started at Pascagoula, Mississippi.
By acquiring a majority stake in Lloyd Werft, Genting Hong Kong has acquired in house expertise for building new ships for both its upmarket Crystal brand and the newly expanding Star Cruises brand, which fifteen years ago ceded most of its newbuilding program to the nascent Norwegian Cruise Line for its then-new Freestyle Cruising program.
Genting Hong Kong also has on order two 3,364-berth cruise ships at Meyer Werft in Papenburg for delivery to its Star Cruises operation in Asia in October 2016 and October 2017.
It also has an equity stake in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, whose fleet now numbers 21 ships operating for Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent seven seas Cruises.
Genting Hong Kong’s latest subsidiary had its beginnings in 1857 and initially focused on the ship repair business. It did not move into the conversion and newbuilding business until the 1970s.
The yard, consisting of six docks and a mile-long pier, covers 64 acres, and in addition to cruise ships has built mega yachts, pipe-laying vessels and other merchant ships.
The Lloyd Werft name stems from its origins as the in-house ship repair yard of Bremen’s North German Lloyd, which merged with competitor Hamburg America Line in 1970 to form Hapag-Lloyd.
Lloyd Werft’s first major cruise ship job was the conversion of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique’s s.s. France into the 70,202-ton cruise ship Norway in 1979/80 for the then Knut Kloster-owned Norwegian Cruise Line.
As it happens, the yard’s new owners, who once owned half of Norwegian Cruise Line, still have a minority shareholding in that company.
It was also Lloyd Werft that lengthened the 1,500-berth Norwegian Dream (now SuperStar Gemini) and Norwegian Wind (now SuperStar Aquarius) by 130 feet each in 1997 and 1998, and was responsible for the earlier mid-life refit that converted Cunard Line’s 1,750-berth Queen Elizabeth 2 from steam turbine to diesel-electric propulsion in 1986/87.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Silversea’s Fourth Expedition Ship
Silversea Cruises last week announced that it would be moving the 296-berth Silver Cloud to its ultra-luxury Silversea Expeditions fleet in time for the 2017/18 Antarctic season.
Destined mostly for polar waters, she will be converted into an Ice Class ship during an extensive refurbishment scheduled to start in August 2017, with delivery scheduled for November 2017.
As an expedition ship, the all-suite Silver Cloud will accommodate 260 guests. She will also sail on itineraries to non-polar regions, but when sailing in the Arctic and Antarctic, her guest complement will be restricted to 200.
Silversea first entered the expedition business with the 132-berth Prince Albert II in 2008. Renamed Silver Explorer in 2011, this ship was joined in that same year by the 106-berth Silver Galapagos. In March 2014, the 124-berth Silver Discoverer became Silversea Expeditions’ third ship. Silver Cloud will thus become the fourth and largest in the expedition fleet.
According to Silversea ceo Enzo Visone, “Silver Explorer’s polar expedition cruises have proven hugely popular with our guests. By converting Silver Cloud into an ice-class ship for our expedition fleet, we will be better positioned to meet the increasing demand for comfortable adventure travel, particularly to the Arctic and Antarctica, places that are best explored by small ships specially equipped with ice-strengthened hulls.”
The Silver Cloud will be the only ultra-luxury ice-class expedition ship to offer four dining options in addition to the main dining room, as well as in-suite dining.
She ship will also have the highest space ratio and highest staff-to-guest ratio (nearly 1:1) among luxury ice-class expedition ships.
As an expedition ship, Silver Cloud will be equipped with a fleet of 18 Zodiacs for shore excursions in polar, coastal and fluvial environments.
Queen Mary 2 Refit Details
Cunard Line has appointed SMC Design to lead the redesign of Queen Mary 2’s interior spaces during her forthcoming major refit at the famous Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in 2016. The Cunard flagship will undergo an extensive 25-day refurbishment between May 27 and June 21 that will see new interior designs introduced.
Included in the changes will be fifteen new single cabins, something the ship has not featured in the past, and thirty additional Britannia Club cabins for single-sitting passengers in the Britannia Restaurant, while the overly popular kennels will be expanded to cater for demand.
With an increase from twelve kennels to twenty-two, it is quite possible that Cunard may make more money from the kennels than it does from weddings held on board.
The appointment of SMC Design is the first of several information releases Cunard has planned for the near future. London-based SMC Design was founded in 1994, and specialises in the maritime sector.
The design team has worked on many ships from small luxury yachts to some of the largest ships ever built. It also has a history of working with Cunard.
SMC managing director Andy Collier was part of Queen Mary 2’s design team fifteen years ago, as the first Atlantic liner to be built for over 35 years.
The new Queen Mary 2 designs will focus on updating iconic art deco lines and subtly introduce classic deco touches. The original Art Deco Queen Mary, now berthed in Long Beach, has been a major source of inspiration for these new ideas.
With new signature Cunard colour schemes, new carpets, new furniture as well as more decorative fixtures and fittings throughout the largest ocean liner in the world, the design approach will ensure the flagship retains her leading position.
Over the past eighteen months Cunard has also been busy consulting and testing many different ideas with thousands of past and future guests across the world.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)