How To Turn Risk Into An Opportunity: Part 3 – Other Cruise News: Residential Yacht Njord Announced – Brodosplit Launches Quark’s Ultramarine

by Kevin Griffin

This week sees The Cruise Examiner’s guest editor Jennifer Holland deliver her third article in a four-part series concentrating on the perceptions of risk in the cruise industry. Elsewhere in these days of non-stop Covid-19 bad news in an industry that has been devastated we are pleased to have some good news. Ocean Residences has set in course a program to build an 85,000-ton residential yacht to be called the Njord. And this weekend, Brodosplit launched Quark Expeditions’ new 200-berth Ultramarine in Croatia.


How To Turn Risk Into An Opportunity (Part 3) (Dr Jennifer Holland)

(* This is the third instalment of a four-part series exploring perceptions of risk in cruising, with the aim of shining a light on positive ways the cruise industry can use the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to “come back stronger than ever”. The fourth and final article will put forward recommendations for the future of cruising.)

Dr. Jennifer Holland - Cruise & Tourism Researcher - Industry Consultant - Secretary, Geographies of Leisure & Tourism Research Group (RGS) - Research Fellow, Royal Geographical Society

Dr. Jennifer Holland – Cruise & Tourism Researcher – Industry Consultant – Secretary, Geographies of Leisure & Tourism Research Group (RGS) – Research Fellow, Royal Geographical Society

There is a specific segment of travellers who will never go on a cruise.  It is not that they don’t understand what cruising is or have constraints that prevent them from going on a cruise. This group specifically choose to reject cruises.

This week will explore “non-cruisers”, and why some people will never cruise as they perceive too much risk in cruising, and why this segment is not worth investing resources in trying to attract. A cruise in this article refers to the modern mega-ship experience.

My research found there are three key groups: repeat cruisers, potential cruisers and non-cruisers, and each group will respond differently to the Covid-19 crisis.

Even during times of outbreaks, studies show passengers still trust and feel safe and this should be reassuring to cruise lines and industry that the message was getting through.?

Cruisers trust that measures taken are appropriate. Overwhelmingly, my study found cruisers view a cruise as a ‘safe’ holiday and place significant trust in the cruise companies and officers and crew to look after them. Cruisers are very loyal.

When I did my PhD research, I was unable to find a single person to interview who had been on a cruise and did not want to go on another one. That in itself is an interesting finding. Once people have been on a cruise, they love them and become very loyal to the product. What’s not to love…unpack once and wake up somewhere new every day with every detail taken care of?

The group that will be most impacted by Covid-19 concerns are potential cruisers who might have been thinking about taking their first cruise. Potential cruisers are vital to the re-emergence of the cruise industry and right now need reassurance for not only health concerns, but also for financial and functional risks.

They are worried about the risks of being “stuck” onboard in quarantine, or being on a cruise when it is suddenly cut short due to an outbreak and they have to fly home or worse, have the cruise cancelled and risk losing the hard earned money they have entrusted to the cruise line. They are also affected by social risk, in that friends and family may worry about them taking a cruise. The response from this group is hard to predict, and much will depend on the image they held of cruising before the crisis.

For non-cruisers, Covid-19 is irrelevant as the reasons for this group to reject cruising go far beyond health concerns. Non-cruisers worry about the social and psychological risks of going on a cruise, and these are by far the most important factors in how they make their holiday choices.

Social risks are concerns about not being “the type of person” to go on a cruise.  They worry about being trapped onboard, but not by the confined, enclavic space of a ship but rather trapped by the other people.  Actually, both cruisers and non-cruisers worry about being forced to interact with what they see as the ‘wrong’ people.  They worry about having nothing in common or worry about not knowing what to say or would feel anxious about their socio-economic status.

Non-cruisers worry about being forced to have a scheduled group experience and can’t express their personality and individuality.
Many non-cruisers see a cruise holiday like being on a conveyor belt in a factory where they are forced to be the same as everyone else and have no control or freedom.

In terms of psychological risk, they see cruisers as being old, boring and needing to be looked after.  They reject cruising because they see themselves as different and seeking real, authentic experiences where they can really experience the destination.  They see a cruise as a shallow, superficial and constraining package holiday with not enough time to make meaningful connections with locals in the port communities.  They see a cruise as a manufactured and contrived experience.

Some non-cruisers purposely dis-associate and distance themselves from cruise holidays which has led to the recent rise in ‘cruise-shaming’.  This is similar to flight-shaming, where some people perceive cruise ships as polluting, unethical and providing little benefit to local communities and seek to ‘shame’ people who choose to cruise.  My research found some non-cruisers even boast about and feel pride in NOT having been on a cruise and find value in being able to say they had never been on a cruise.

Nevertheless, there is a very small number of non-cruisers who may consider adventure and experiential cruises such as small yacht or sailing holidays.  The rise in demand for exotic and off-the-beaten-path holidays suggest an opportunity right now for growth in this niche, but this is a very different experience to a mega-ship cruise product.

Which is why it is not worth investing resources in trying to attract this group, as the reasons to reject cruising are far deeper and connected to how they see themselves and have nothing to do with the typical concerns for not going on a cruise. That’s why no amount of marketing or being made aware of the incredible variety of different cruise experiences and brands will change their minds.

Resources are better invested in attracting potential and repeat cruisers, who feel the opposite. Cruisers in my study spoke about the freedom they felt onboard to be able to let go and really be themselves. Understanding the important role of self-concept can also help encourage brand switching or increasing brand loyalty by understanding how to turn these risks into an opportunity.

For non-cruisers, risks to self are more important in deciding whether or not to go on a cruise than worries about health risks or anything else. Ultimately, we choose holidays that reflect who we think we are and how we want to be seen by others.

(* These articles are based on the research conducted in the UK which explored the influence of risk on deciding whether or not to choose a cruise for a holiday, and examined risk in cruising in relation to physical, health, social, psychological, time-loss, opportunity-loss, performance and functional risks.)


Residential Yacht Njord Announced

m.y. Njord (Artist impression courtesy Ocean Residences and Brodosplit

m.y. Njord (Artist impression courtesy Ocean Residences and Brodosplit

DIV Shipbuilding has announced that it will build a new residence ship, to be called the Njord throughout combines efforts of its shipyards in Norway and Croatia. She will be only the second such ship, after The World.

Vessel                       Njord       The World
Year Delivered        2024            2002
Gross tonnage       85,000        43,199
Dimensions         950′ x 110′     644′ x 98′

DIV owns the Kleven Verft shipyard in Norway and the Brodosplit shipyard in Croatia, and both yards will work on the 950-foot residential yacht for Ocean Residences. Ocean Residences is offering 118 apartments aboard with configurations from two to six bedrooms and is mooted to be planned as a private yacht. Delivery is planned for 2024.

Both yards have built luxury expedition ships. Brodosplit completing Oceanwide Expeditions’ 180-berth Hondius in 2019 and working on fleet-mate Jansonnius for 2021. Brodosplit also launched Quark Expeditions’ 200-berth Ultramarine just this Saturday.

Kleven also built Hurtigruten’s 530-berth Roald Amundsen in 2019 and Fridtjof Nansen in 120, as well as three of Hurtigruten’s more traditional coastal boats (1996, 1997 and 2002).

m.y. Njord - Outside deck spaces (Artist impression courtesy Ocean Residences and Brodosplit

m.y. Njord – Outside deck spaces (Artist impression courtesy Ocean Residences and Brodosplit

Among the new residential yacht’s other amenities are six restaurants and bars, a golf simulator, billiards room, outdoor movie screen, gourmet market and shops and culinary studio.
In addition will be two helicopters, two submarines, a fleet of 10 Zodiacs, two dive and fishing boats, a mud room for expedition activities, and four limo-style tenders for ship to shore transfers.

Tomislav Debeljak, chairman and ceo of the DIV Group, said: “In these changing times I am pleased to confirm that we have the full support of the governments of both Croatia and Norway who share our enthusiasm for this important project. It is expected to generate employment for thousands of highly skilled people in the years to come, from welders to engineers.”
Kristian Stensby, chairman and ceo of Ocean Residences Development, added: “I am delighted to confirm the signing of an agreement between our company and DIV Shipbuilding. DIV Shipbuilding has been appointed as the official shipyard to carry out the construction of the Njord.”

The World (Photo courtesy The World Resident Holdings)

The World (Photo courtesy The World Resident Holdings)

In 1990, Stensby founded Premier Cruises, where he acted as chairman and ceo until 1997. He also served with Kloster Cruises Ltd, parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Viking Line and Royal Cruise Line. In fact, if you look at the proposed new funnel on this vessel it includes the old Royal Viking Line logo 2002, he founded Ocean Group LLC, and became involved in 2007 in a project to develop a residence ship concept with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. The 42,699-ton ship was scheduled for delivery in 2010. As the 2008 recession intervened, she was never completed.

Kristian Stensby, announced a similar ship for Four Seasons back in 2007 for 2010 delivery. On social distancing, this ship will have more space per passenger than any passenger ship in existence. 118 residential apartments on 85,000 tons. If we guessed at an average of three guests per apartment that would be a passenger space ratio of 240, compared to Crystal’s mooted 100 on Crystal Endeavor.

Quark Expeditions Ultramarine (Rendering courtesy Quark Expeditions July 2019)

Quark Expeditions Ultramarine (Rendering courtesy Quark Expeditions July 2019)

Brodosplit Launches Quark’s Ultramarine

A revolutionary expedition ship, the 200-berth Ultramarine was launched on Saturday the16th at the Brodosplit shipyard in Croatia for Toronto-based Quark Expeditions.

Quark’s new Ultramarine was designed for operation in the polar regions. When launched in 2020, the 200-passenger ship, designed by LMG Marin, will offer an unparalleled expeditionary capability and array of adventure options.

At over 13,000 gross tons, the new ship will launch twenty Zodiacs from an internal hangar with four embarkation points. For spectacular flight-seeing, heli-skiing and to access places too remote for Zodiacs, the ship boasts two simultaneously operable heli-decks.

Ultramarine Launched at Brodosplit (Credit: EdoStuff Aviation)

“This ship will be an unrivalled operational base for polar expeditions”, said Andrew White, Quark Expeditions president.

“Our guests travel with Quark to maximize their expedition experience, in the hands of the most experienced expedition team in the industry, we will get you off the ship and into nature further, faster and safer than ever before.”

The new ship has an exceptional 40-day operational capability. This extended range, in combination with the helicopters, will make extraordinary destinations such as the Ross Sea and the remote western Antarctic “Phantom Coast” safely accessible.

(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd and a director of specialist cruise operator Culture Cruises Ltd, both of London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

(Dr Jennifer Holland recently completed her PhD at the University of Brighton. Her thesis explored tourists’ perceptions of risk in ocean cruising and provides practical implications for industry. Jennifer holds a BA (University of Alberta, 2000) and MTour (University of Otago, 2004), and has been involved in cruising and tourism for 17 years. She has worked for Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, among others. Her research on risk in cruising has recently been featured on the BBC, CNA, and Skynews. email: @jenniholland14

(See the last columns)