Royal Caribbean International boosts ship building in Saint-Nazaire

With the world's biggest three cruise liners under construction simultaneously, 2015 promises to be a bumper year for the ship building sector in France, spearheaded by Nantes Saint-Nazaire.

With the world's biggest three cruise liners under construction simultaneously, 2015 promises to be a bumper year for the ship building sector in France, spearheaded by Nantes Saint-Nazaire.

 

Each year between now and 2019, a new cruise ship will take to the waters from the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire: the Oasis 3 (A34), recently named Harmony of the Seas, will be delivered in April 2016, the Oasis 4 (B34) in 2018 and an MSC cruise liner in 2017.

 

More than 6,000 passengers on board

Built using the most innovative materials, these two new ships, the Oasis 3 and 4 - part of the Oasis of the Seas series - commissioned by the American operator Royal Caribbean, will be more economical and slightly bigger than their two predecessors.

With 16 decks and 2,700 cabins, the Harmony of the Seas will be a giant of the seas: 360 metres long and 60 metres wide, it will be able to accommodate up to 6,360 passengers and 2,100 crew members!

royal caribbean international paquebot france

On the Harmony of the Seas (Oasis 3), cabins will be equipped with "virtual balconies", exclusively developed for Royal Caribbean to give guests 3D outside views

 

Royal Caribbean International, a new customer for Saint-Nazaire

Each of these ships represents an order worth in excess of €1 billion, breathing new life into Saint-Nazaire's ship building industry. A former customer of Aker Yards in Turku, Finland, where the first two ships in the oasis series were built, American operator Royal Caribbean International is a new customer for Saint-Nazaire's shipyards. STX stepped in ahead of the Finnish operator following funding problems and signed a contract relating to the construction of the Oasis 3 and 4 liners with Royal Caribbean in December 2012.

Royal Caribbean international harmony of the seas
Photos credits: B. Biger - STX 

Shipbuilding jobs created

In order to fulfil the orders, the Saint-Nazaire shipyards are constantly seeking new recruits. Some 300 people have been taken on in the past two years, and job offers continue to flow, not only to meet the needs of STX, but also those of subcontractors and temping agencies, estimated to represent around 4,000 jobs in Saint-Nazaire.

 

A site dedicated to the production of cruise ship cabins

For the construction of the Oasis 3, a purpose-built site dedicated to passenger and crew cabins has been created. The plant, with its new, high-speed production line manned by 150 employees, churns out 20 cabins per day. Pre-fabricated cabins that cost one third as much as they would were they to be built on board, according to STX.

 

Suffice it to say that ship building is buoyant in Saint-Nazaire as other sectors look on, green with envy.