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Spain’s foray into cruise ships / ANALYSIS

Shipyards formerly specialized in the offshore segment are now focusing on orders from the luxury sector. “But incentives need to be revised”.

SPAIN has been building frigates, corvettes and oceanographic vessels, but not cruise ships; that segment is almost entirely in the hands of two naval shipyards, namely German group Meyer Werft, and newly allied Fincantieri-Chantiers de l’Atlantique. However, a few weeks ago a shipyard in the city of Vigo, on Spain’s Atlantic coast, has been awarded a contract to build a luxury cruise ship for the Ritz-Carlton group.

This raises the question of whether this is a one-off deal, or if Galicia and Spain will attract more new shipbuilding projects geared to this segment. Hijos de J.Barreras, a Vigo company which for 120 years has manufactured passenger and freight ferries, as well as deep-sea vessels, announced building works for a luxury cruise ship at the beginning of the summer. This will measure 190 meters in length, and will carry up to 149 passengers and 246 crew members.

Far from the colossal size that the likes of Royal Caribbean or the MSC all go for lately, the vessel resembles more closely the type of cruise yachts that many hotel groups use to cater for a particular customer niche (particularly in Germany).

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