Fred Olsen Quits Liverpool

I’m from Liverpool, so you would expect me to say this is terrible news, wrong, I hope this withdrawal should stop the politics of the Liverpool Cruise problem and find a solution.

The excellent http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/captain-greybeard/ has kindly pointed out that Fred Olsen has quit Liverpool, with Marketing Director Nigel Lingard quoted as saying ‘They still haven’t got their act together, so we are pulling out’. Not really a good sign for the port.

For those not in the know, Liverpool received EU funding to develop a £19 cruise berth, originally intended for day visits by vessels only. Legally only day visits are allowed, not full turn around facilities such as baggage handling and customs, as that would mean the EU funding was unfair state aid.

Southampton, the UK’s largest Cruise port, rightly so, has objected to this unfair state aid.
This has meant cruise ships requiring full turnaround facilities have had to use Langton Dock, a selection of Portacabins next to a scrap mound, not as idyllic as the waterfront cruise berth, nor as central. The issue has been followed by the local news papers in both Southampton and Liverpool.

Now hopefully, Fred Olsen will have opened the eyes of the city leaders who will try to tackle the problem and finish the problem once and for all. Previously it had been mentioned that Fred Olsens calls at Liverpool had provided £4m to the local economy, surely in the times we are in this is not something to be throwing away. However since Thomson Cruises had previously wanted to base a vessel in the city, way back in 2008, but dropped the plans when it emerged it would not be allowed to use the new cruise berth, estimates say this was worth £4.5million to the local economy.

In nearly three years this problem has sucked £8.5million out of the local economy, and that is of lost Business to rivals, not even Business which we could have gained from operating as the full terminal. While I understand things take time, surely this issue should be resolved nearly three years on.

In the rise of ‘ex-UK’ cruises, with the increasing cost of flying, surely Liverpool is missing out too much, Cruise schedules for the next few years are being set, and it will take years to get Liverpool involved if any more time is wasted.

So is this a £19,000,000 white elephant? Let us Know! Comment, Twitter, Facebook. 😀

Thanks,
Liam

Links:
Liverpool Daily Post Coverage of the CRUISE WAR!
http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/get-on-board/

Thomson Withdrawal back in 2008
http://blogs.travelweekly.co.uk/blogs/cruise-lines/2008/11/thomson-abandons-liverpool.html

The Southampton View
http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/8937861.City_must_pay_back_public_money_in__cruise_war_/

Norwegian Cruise Line – A Simple Business History.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has a complex and difficult history, and despite being the first ‘modern’ cruise line born out of the cruise boom in the Caribbean it has been slow to adapt to market trends and has been dwarfed by competitors Carnival Corporation & PLC and Royal Caribbean.

Norwegian Cruise Line was founded by Knut Kloster and Ted Arison, as Norwegian Caribbean Line with a small cruise ferry, the success of which was very quick and soon addition vessels where launched, not much notice was taken to the fledgling industry until in the 70’s NCL acquired the world’s largest passenger vessel, SS France, and converted her into the Norway. Upon arrival the Norway was the world’s largest cruise ship and developed the idea of the vessel being the destination in its self.

In 1972 Ted Arison left Norwegian Cruise Line to found Carnival Cruises, he reportedly took money from reservations and records with him to fund the new start up, this left NCL in total disarray. Carnival launched with the Mardi Gras, marketed as a ‘fun ship’ the vessel was still being reconstructed from its previous operation as a transatlantic liner.

On the maiden voyage of the Mardi Gras its went aground, which competitors at first found amusing, however it was quickly realised that the Mardi Gras was blocking all other vessels from leaving the harbour. A clever bartender launched a new drink named Mardi Gras on the rocks. From then onwards a strong rivalry developed between the lines, who actively try to out smarten each other, when NCL and Royal Caribbean vessels pass Carnival ships, they regularly announce that Carnivals ships are the ‘Kmart of the sea’. Kmart being a low class US discount store.

In the mid 90’s with a resurgent Royal Caribbean and growth from P&O owned Princess Cruises, as well as long standing nemesis Carnival Cruise Lines, NCL collapsed into bankruptcy; it hastily merged all of its brands together into the main Norwegian Cruise Lines brand. This destroyed the consistency of the product and of the slain brands the goodwill and image that had been built up over years.

In an attempt to revolutionise the cruise market NCL seized the opportunity to develop a ‘freestyle’ cruise model, this gives guests a wider variety of restaurants and activities as well as allowing them to eat when they want, rather than at set meal times, as had previously been the norm. This has become the main ethos of NCL today.

In the 2000’s the line was still haphazardly losing market share to its core rivals, namely Carnival Corporation,  and Star Cruises of Asia launched a bidding war with Carnival for NCL. Star Cruises won, and a large new building project was started at the line, as well as the disposal or transfer of some of the older tonnage. Under the leadership of Star, NCL began a plan to launch a fleet of vessels flagged in the United States, and received official government approval for the plans.

The American line, based in Hawaii, was launched named NCL America, its all American staff was expensive and the operation never made a profit. In the face of these problems Star sold half of the business to Apollo, the American private equity group, the American based fleet was shrunk to one vessel.

Two new vessels where ordered, with a third planned, from STX Europe. These vessels where coded as the F3 class, standing for Freestyle 3, the third evolution of NCL’s signature product. Following the investment by Apollo and a management shakeup construction was stopped on both vessels and the third cancelled. This is due to Apollo wanting more of a say in the vessels onboard amenities.  The outcome was the cancellation of the second vessel entirely and the cost increase for the first vessel. This vessel has since been launched as the Norwegian EPIC. Unusual in the industry as a sole vessel, as cruise ships usually have multiple sister ships.

In October 2010, NCL announced it was planning to list on the stock market and that it would be building two new ships slightly smaller than the Norwegian Epic. A return to the market is expected to be difficult as NCL is still significantly smaller than Royal Caribbean INC and the market leader, who is dual listed Carnival Corporation & PLC. Carnival Corporation & PLC was formed following the merger of the British owned P&O Princess Cruises PLC and the American Carnival Corporation. Finally after nearly 30 years NCL appears to be back on track to maintaining a solid and profitable business.

weblinks:
www.ncl.co.uk
LEARN MORE?
Devils on the Deep Blue Sea, By Kristoffer A. Garin, A book about the dreams, schemes and showdowns that built America’s Cruise Ship Empires.

Windstar’s New Owners

Windstar is one of my favourite Cruise concepts, the ships look great, Actually I’ve just ordered ‘Wind Star: The Building of a Sailship’ as my summer read. I dont know what its like yet, but once I’ve read it I will post a review!

Recently Windstar has had a troubled ownership under Ambassadors International, however having gone through the bankruptcy court it has been acquired by Anschutz Corp for $39 Million, If only i had won the EuroMillions! This beautiful three ship fleet now has a chance to focus on growth as part of a large corporation, Anschutz Corp have described the purchase as a long-term investment, just what this little line needs.

I wish Windstar a happy new future under its new owners, and a new ship wouldn’t go a miss! A smaller version of STX’s EOSEAS perhaps? But More on EOSEAS later!

Hello world!

Welcome to The Crociere.co.uk Blog,

Well this is set to be the main focus of the website at the moment, I hope my opinion on events will interest you and motivate you into discussion, Just a little about me.

I’m twenty have enjoyed ships for as long as I can remember, To be honest i havent been on many cruises only on the Queen Mary 2 & Ocean Village, with one more booked for Allure of the Seas this time next year.

I have chartered my own 350 passenger ferry for a party cruise but that just turned out to be a financial disaster, but during that time I learnt alot, developed my interests and learnt what I was good at and what I wasn’t.

I’m from Liverpool, one of the worlds great maritime cities and have worked for Maersk Line, the worlds largest container line. I take an interest in other parts of the Maritime Industry however my main interest is in that of the Cruise Industry, once I have finished Uni it is something I would like to look into.

The aim of this website is to bring more opinion and UK centric view on Cruising into the main, I hope to develop the website to allow more interaction between users, and to become and interesting and reliable cruise website.

Well I hope you like it, I hope to build some more critical mass before making effort in promotion.

Thanks & Regards,

Liam