UK shipyards poised for the return of the cruise industry

14 Jan 2022

UK shipyards poised for the return of the cruise industry

Over the past two years, the cruise line industry has been significantly setback due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Recruitment is at an all-time low because of a lack of jobs, and mechanics and engineers are not required. However, there are now some green shoots of recovery, and we move into a world that is vaccinated against the worst effects of the virus.

Cruise Lines Returning to Service

There’s some good news! Although recent lockdowns have caused more cancellations and setbacks to the cruise industry, there are some signs that things will soon return to normal. UK ports have welcomed the news that nine cruise ships are preparing for summer voyages.

These nine cruise ships include Britannia and Iona from P&O Cruises, Queen Elizabeth from Cunard Line, Borealis and Boletti from Olsen Cruise Lines, TBD from MSC Cruises, Viking Venus from Viking Cruises, and Regal Princess and Sky Princess from Princess Cruises.

Cruise Market Recovery

The Cruise industry is a travel and entertainment industry, so you would think that it falls under the same policies as other sectors. Unfortunately, the cruise industry was hit with a “no sail” restriction at various points throughout the pandemic, mainly during the lockdown periods.

This has made it twice as hard for the cruise industry to bounce back from downtime. Although recent lockdown restrictions have left the vessels anchored in the harbour once again, the overall success of the vaccination program means companies can start planning for summer.

Condition of UK Shipyards

But, the Covid pandemic is not the only challenge to the cruise industry in the UK; there are other obstacles to overcome. Once the heart of global shipbuilding, the UK industry has been in decline for decades, thanks in part to lower-cost vessels builtin in Asia, but that’s also changing.

Thanks to significant government investment in recent years, some of the old UK shipyards are being revitalised and used to build and service some of the biggest cruising vessels in the industry. Although nothing like the size of what it was before, UK shipbuilding is recovering.

UK Shipyards Building Cruise Ships

Last summer, Harland and Wolff, the shipyard in Belfast responsible for building HMS Titanic over a century ago have hosted three Viking Cruise vessels for repairs. Although this is nothing like the scale of commercial shipping the yard is familiar with, it is a positive movement forward.

A situation like this is not unfamiliar in the UK as global shipping brands take to UK waters for recreation or passages to Scandinavia and Europe. The good news is that with such a long and illustrious history as a shipbuilding nation, the UK has plenty of ports waiting to welcome ships.

UK Shipyards Poised for Future

At the end of the day, shipbuilding is a political game; governments choose to invest in the industry or not, which influences the costs of procurement. At one time, shipbuilding wasn’t viable, but with the success of the cruise industry, UK shipyards are poised for a bright future.