Cruise and Leisure: Changing tides in 2019

This year, the global cruise market has experienced record growth figures as well as becoming increasingly diverse with big, established incumbents and smaller startups each vying for market share. Although different in scale, these sectors overlap in a bid to create new experiences in new locations. V.Ships Leisure has responded to these changes in the market by growing partnerships and investing in the crew to provide the best, tailor-made services available to providers of any kind, in their efforts to deliver exciting new experiences for passengers.

To this end, V.Ships Leisure has spent the last six months evolving and improving, with major partnerships signed with some of the most exciting projects in the industry, including Antarctica21 and the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection (RCYC). We are adapting to our clients’ needs and ensuring that we remain a flexible provider, able cater to the major cruise groups, as well as leveraging our scale and systems for independent operators and startups to compete in the same field as the huge conglomerates. For the RCYC, we will be providing a tailored suite of management services for the three custom-built ultra-luxury yachts. This ground-breaking project will be delivered through our depth of resources, and cutting-edge technology platform, ShipSure. This ability to offer a bespoke service allows us to expand our presence globally, including forging a relationship with Astro Ocean, and building a local presence in China.

Newbuilding in the cruise sector continues to accelerate, with 24 new ships due to enter service this year. With unparalleled technical expertise, and having built strong relationships with major yards all over the world, V.Ships Leisure is uniquely placed to add value from the construction stage onwards. Taking on the technical management of the Spirit of Discovery for Saga Cruises, is one example of this, building on a partnership with Saga that has extended over five years of collaboration to deliver Saga’s first ever purpose-built cruise ship.

To maintain the highest levels of service, we have committed to recruiting, engaging, and retaining the best maritime talent. Last year, we transformed our crew management methods by introducing a new app for seafarers to search for assignments, as well as enhancing dashboard metrics to analyse ongoing crew management, which has improved crew performance and commitment.

Alongside this, we offer training that focuses on the skills that will be needed for the future growth of the industry. For example, we have been particularly proud to offer Polar Code certification in response to the industry challenge of sourcing sufficient senior deck officers with Polar Code certification and experience with ice navigation, as demand increases for cruising to popular arctic destinations. The availability of specific training for crew provides both solid foundations for seafarers to progress their own careers but also allows us to offer the best, and most experienced crew available to our customers.

Looking forward to 2020, V.Ships Leisure is engaged in developing other partnerships across the globe and continuously shaping and adapting to the industry’s ebbs and flows.

Per Bjornsen, Director, V.Ships Leisure