Posted February 18th, 2019
What Do You Know About The World’s Biggest Shipyards?
Scenic recently came under pressure for postponing the launch of its forthcoming ocean ship, Scenic Eclipse, for the third time. Strikes at the shipyard in Croatia, amongst other things, have led to the cruise line having to make the difficult decision to delay the launch of the luxury vessel until August.
Whilst they are obviously doing everything they can to deliver the ship without compromising on the ‘six-star’ experience that travellers expect, much of the criticism has been directed at the decision to build the ship at the Uljanik shipyard rather than at one of the more commonly used and highly rated shipbuilding facilities around the world.
All of this proves that where a ship is built does matter, but how much do you actually know about the leading names in this often unseen industry?
Based in Italy and headquartered in the city of Trieste, Fincantieri is the biggest name in shipbuilding. As well as having yards all over the world that specialise in everything from offshore rigs to coastal ferries, the main Italian base has seen demand rise significantly for its cruise ship prowess in the last decade or so. In fact, since 1990, the company has produced 85 cruise vessels and more than half as many again (47) are currently under construction.
The company is expanding fast, with a presence in Europe, America, Australia and China (amongst other locations), and is the go-to name within the cruise industry. With the ability to produce some of the most technologically advanced vessels in the world and over 250 years of experience behind them, it’s easy to see why so many cruise lines turn to Fincantieri. The latest ship that the yard has started work on is Silver Moon, set to become the next luxurious member of the Silversea Cruises fleet in 2020.
Having started with two wooden sheds in 1795, the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany has grown to be one of the largest and most trusted cruise ship suppliers in the world. Today, the company has two state-of-the-art covered docks which are capable of holding the giant vessels that are making serious waves in industry at the moment. The family-owned organisation has managed to move with the times by continuously investing in its infrastructure and technology.
Whilst the shipyard is responsible for building five of the 10 largest cruise ships currently in existence, it was also the site where the largest (and last) vessel was launched in the classic way. Nowadays, ships are floated out by flooding the dock in which they were built. However, when Homeric was completed, in 1985, she was slid into the water sideways via a serious of hydraulic levers, causing a giant splash when she finally broke the surface.
The Meyer Werft shipyard is such an integral part of life in Papenburg that it has become a tourist attraction in its own right. Not only do people line the banks of the River Ems to see new ships take the plunge for the first time, but around 300,000 visitors arrive every year to tour the facility. The ‘Visiting the Ocean Giants’ experience uses multi-media and interactive exhibits to show how a cruise ship is built.
Chantiers de l’Atlantique
Located in Saint-Nazaire, at the mouth of the Loir River, Chantiers de l’Atlantique is not quite as well known as the other companies on this list but still a big player in the world of cruise shipbuilding. In recent years, the company was known by the name STX France, but has since reverted back to its historic moniker following the bankruptcy of former parent company STX Offshore & Shipbuilding.
As well as cruise ships, Chantiers de l’Atlantique has built a large number of naval vessels over the years. One name that sits proudly on the list of ships to emerge from this dockyard is that of Queen Mary 2, the only true ‘liner’ still sailing today.
Just like Meyer Werft, the French company gives anyone interested in the engineering side of cruising the chance to tour the giant warehouse. If you do, you’ll explore a city within a city, complete with streets, impossibly tall cranes and highly innovative production techniques. Tours last for either one or two hours and will show you every step of the process.
If you would like to sail on board some of the mammoth cruise ships brought to life in these world-renowned shipyards, the Fred.\ Cruises team will help you plan the perfect holiday. Call us on 0800 035 0701 or contact us via the website.