Ocean-going Cruise Vessels Newbuilds in European Yards by Capacity in Passengers, 2015-2018

Ocean going Cruise Vessels Newbuilds in European Yards by Capacity in Passengers 2015 2018

Source: CLIA Europe (2017). Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Economies of Europe. Brussels: CLIA

Although conventional merchant shipbuilding has declined in Europe since the late 1970s in the face of low-cost competition from the Far East, the European industry has been more successful in retaining market share in some specialist sectors. The most important is cruise ship construction, in which the European industry has been the world leader for nearly 50 years.

The yards in Italy, Germany, France, and Finland are the most important suppliers and account for most ships due for delivery. Germany and Italy are leaders, with 70% of the order book. Europe offers an abundance of specialist skills and sophisticated technology in navigation and outfitting, which support European cruise ship construction and allow yards to maintain a competitive edge. The outstanding reputation of European yards has meant that US cruise lines have continued to order ships from European shipbuilders. Thus, most oceanic cruise ships constructed in the second half of the 2010s were built in European yards.

Although other non-European yards have the capacity and technology to build cruise ships, they may not have project management capability, aptitude, or the desired balance of labor and skills required to deliver a cost-effective result within a required budget in the contracted delivery time. However, Far Eastern yards have been studying the market diligently, and prospective orders have been reported for yards in China. Japan had orders for a few ships, but its market participation has been sporadic, with previous ships delivered between 1998 and 2004. Most cruise ships serving the European market are dry-docked in Europe, together with a number of North American ships summering in the region. European yards also undertake major conversions such as replacing main engines and inserting a mid-body to lengthen the ship.