While the global cruise industry remains at a standstill, with cruise lines extending their resumption deadlines due to the Coronavirus pandemic, shipyards across Europe are resuming work building the world’s next generation of cruise ships.
Fincantieri ceased all work in mid-March as the Coronavirus pandemic ravaged Italy, forcing a nationwide shutdown to control the spread of the virus.
It forced Princess Cruises to delay the delivery of its new ship Enchanted Princess, while Royal Caribbean announced that the refurbishment of its Oasis-class mega-ship Allure of the Seas would be delayed.
Last week, with social restrictions slowly being eased across Europe, Fincantieri opened up again.
The company, which operates several shipyards in Italy, said in a statement that the re-opening process will be spanned out over several weeks, with work ramping up gradually.
The re-opening of the shipyard will be welcome news for cruise lines, which will be relying on the delivery of their new ships to get passengers back to sea after the global cruise suspension ends.
New cruise ships, and bow-to-stern refurbishments on the scale of Allure of the Seas, typically attract a lot of attention from passengers and enable cruise lines to charge higher fares, with increased on-board spending as well.
Fincantieri is also building Costa Cruises’ new Dubai-bound Costa Firenze and Silversea’s new luxury liner Silver Moon, both due to launch this year. It’s unclear if the shutdown will result in their delivery dates.
Holland America Line’s new ship, Nieuw Ryndam, is only due next year and therefore unlikely to be affected.
Another leading cruise shipyard, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, located in Saint-Nazaire, France, is also resuming limited work from April 27.
Engineers will work in shifts, with no more than a maximum of 50 percent of the production team on site at any given time, according to the yard.
Chantiers de l’Atlantique is currently in mid-build for MSC Virtuosa, due for delivery in late 2020 (and due to homeport in Dubai next year).
Royal Caribbean’s new Oasis-class ship Wonder of the Seas (sailing from Dubai next year) and Celebrity Cruises’ new Edge-class ship Celebrity Beyond, both due for delivery next year, are also under construction at the shipyard.
Meyer-Werft in Germany did not close, but did enforce strict social distancing rules on workers, resulting in the construction delay of a number of ships including P&O Cruises Iona.
Carnival’s largest ever ship, Mardi Gras, is being built at Meyer-Werft’s Turku shipyard in Finland, where work also did not stop. The shipyard said this week that Mardi Gras is on track for delivery, despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
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