The UK’s busiest cruise port played host to a second brand new cruise ship in as many weeks as Hapag-Lloyd bought Europa 2 (2013/42,830 gt) to Southampton. The new five star plus luxury vessel was delivered to their German owners at STX France’s Saint Nazaire shipyard on 26 April. Ironically, Europa 2 was followed into port by Saga Sapphire, a previous Europa, built back in 1981.
Europa 2 is claimed to provide more space per passenger than any other cruise ship in service. Up to 516 passengers will be served by eight restaurants and six bars. The ship will be formally christened in Hamburg on 10 May ahead of embarking on her maiden voyage to Lisbon.
Recent significant investment in a new passenger terminal and improved berthing at Portsmouth International Port is paying dividends with an increasing number of cruise ship callers. While the number of visitors is increasing year on year it’s still unusual to have two ships call on the same day. Today was one of those rare days.
The port hosted calls by two small but very different vessels. First in was Passat Kreuzfahrten’s MV Delphin (1975/16,214 gt). The traditional 400-passenger ship is Hamburg-based and serves the German market. It was later followed by the Hurtigruten expedition cruise ship, MV Fram (2006/12,700 gt). She is named after the original ship of the name used by the famous Norwegian polar explorers, Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen.
Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) has introduced OOCL Berlin (2013, 141,003 gt), the second 13,208 TEU vessel to join the OOCL fleet this year. The container carrier was officially handed over at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard on Geoje Island, South Korea in March. Ten of the ships are on order.
OOCL Berlin will be deployed on Loop 4 of the Asia–Europe service with a 77-day rotation of Ningbo, Yangshan, Yantian, Singapore , Suez Canal , Le Havre, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Suez Canal, Jeddah, Singapore, Yantian and back to Ningbo.
Norwegian Cruise Lines’s latest cruise ship stopped by at Southampton following delivery on 25 April. MV Norwegian Breakaway (2013/146,600 gt) is the first of two Breakaway class ships that the Papenburg-based Meyer Werft shipyard is building for NCL.
The new ship, which can accommodate 4,000 passengers, will be based in New York, hence the rather extravagant paintwork adorning her bow. After her naming ceremony on 12 May Norwegian Breakaway will head to Bermuda to start her seven-day cruises. Her sistership, MV Norwegian Getaway will launch in Miami on 1 February, 2014.
No, not a new Chinese takeaway, but the latest container ship to emerge fresh from a South Korean shipyard. The German-registered MV Hong Kong Express (2013/142,295 gt) is the fourth of a class of ten 13,200 TEU box ships being introduced by Hapag-Lloyd.
The latest new arrival is also the fourth brand new container ship to make an appearance at Southampton this year, with many more to come. The deluge of new container ship capacity entering service around the world is not being met by demand, with many shipping companies struggling to make a profit. The trend for larger and more efficient ships may turn the tide.