Cruiseships from Far East?
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Monday, January 26, 2015

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Cruiseships from Far East?


News that Carnival and probably P&O as well are looking to the Far East for their next generation of cruiseships should not come as a surprise. The handful of European cruise shipbuilders which have held a monopoly for so long were always going to reach a point where they could not meet desired delivery dates given the current spate of ordering. It is a trend which is only going to become more pronounced as times goes on and it would come as no surprise if other leading players were forced down the same path. It's ironic that one of the first companies to explore the possibilities of the Far East is Carnival subsidiary, Holland America Line, one of the most up-market operators in the world. For the doubt which Western cruise operators have always had is the Japanese and South Korean yards' ability to delivery tailor-made quality which will certainly be a prime requirement for Holland America. There is also the question of price, a topic not much talked about in cruise industry circles where a high contract price has almost become a badge of honour. But there can be no doubt that prices have been creeping up in the last few years even if some yards still maintain they do not make much money - if any at all - out of these highly-valued contracts. The Japanese, notably the Mitsubishi shipyard, have spent more than a decade trying to get into the international cruise market. Now they have apparently been joined by the South Koreans. Given the interest from owners which was lacking in the past when there was always a perfectly viable European alternative, the Far East may now have its best chance yet to achieve its long-term cruise industry ambitions. So far only one cruiseship, Crystal Harmony, was built in the Far East, by Mitsubishi. She is a fine ship, but also a loss-making one for her builder. So her sister was built in Finland at huge loss of face to the Japanese. At present these reports are very much off the record with no official confirmation. But the trend will surely grow. More information: Lloyd’s List (David Mott)


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