Author Topic: Ships being sold, orders cancelled, ships scrapped due to COVID-19  (Read 21506 times)

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Online Rob Lightbody

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QE and QV do have heavier bow plating and a higher freeboard than other Vistas to deal with the Atlantic for instance.

Hi there - I've heard people say that, but never seen any evidence of it.  I have always wondered if it was just a rumour that Cunard saw no reason to correct, so that they could be called "ocean liners".  I would be delighted to be proved wrong with some actual shipyard/cunard paperwork.

Is QM2 safe?  I'm still unconvinced.  Would love to see some sums of how much money she earns compared to normal cruise ships.  She has relatively few passengers on board for her size, even after the recent additions, and her unique design must increase pretty much all costs.  If she's so hugely profitable and safe... why is there only one of her...
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Thomas Hypher

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With regards to QV and QE's "ocean liner features", I will never forget how Cunard's marketing implied they were true ocean liners in their early days, "true Cunarders", and "worthy successors" to the likes of QE2 for that matter. Quite a few people were taken in by all that marketing guff back then. Anyone who was onboard QV or QE2 on their tandem (such as my Dad and Auntie on QE2 and a good family friend on QV) and anyone who's seen the photos and videos will know quite how starkly the difference between QV and QE2 was shown at times in those North Atlantic swells. I am glad Cunard eased off on that marketing angle and now markets the ships largely for what they are and what they are good at. QV and QE not crossing the Atlantic particularly often (much like other cruise ships and despite the marketing back when they were new) since their respective "baptisms of fire".

Cunard themselves mentioned said "ocean liner features" back in the day in their own media and in documentaries such as the one made on QE's construction if I recall correctly.

With regards to QM2, I gather she, despite her low passenger density for her size, currently meets demand on the transatlantic. Not to mention she was doing more transatlantics a year in recent years than ever pre-COVID. The transatlantic demographic has also been getting younger which will help her cause, and dare we hope might give her a running mate/replacement in the further off future if the demand is maintained (which I can't see why it wouldn't judging by the numbers of fans of the transatlantic in the younger generations such as mine).

My concerns with QM2 are more immediate in that if both sides of the pond are not vaccinated in a reasonable timeframe (one headline I read said the US may not be vaccinated enough for 3 years!) then a major part of her use and design is null and void for the foreseeable future, and particularly in these increasingly desperate times financially speaking the corporate world will be even more ruthless than normal in order to allow a corporation's core business to survive for as long as possible. The vaccinations really can't come soon enough in so very many ways.

Maybe this is really where her dual purpose nature will shine through however, perhaps mimicking SS Rotterdam?

This is also where any sale of Cunard would surely have to be as a fleet, if it were to happen, in order to be practical? In my opinion, it would be an all or nothing situation as Carnival would need to be clear of Cunard if they got to the point of selling the brand, and the buyer (yet another private equity firm or maybe the Chinese?) would want the whole hog for prestige, fleet flexibility, and getting their money's worth reasons.

Regarding the new Cunard ship, her statistics and design such as having the highest passenger density of the current fleet but being markedly smaller than QM2 and also being yet another HAL design variant leads to my opinion that Cunard is becoming more and more generic within Carnival Corp as the years go on. I think there could be a time when they become like HAL is today, a brand with no ocean liners who's main operation and headquarters are far, far away from their origins both in actual distance and in scope. Why build unique ships when it isn't economically competitive to do so, let alone build a true ocean liner, when you can have fleets of the same class of cruise ships operating under different brands in name only to serve a few very popular cruising destinations around the world. A globalisation of cruising as such. P&O Cruises is also changing according to friends and family and perhaps they'd follow the above path too? But maybe I'm just too cynical, jaded, spoilt by what we experienced on QE2, too snobby, or going down the "1984" rabbit hole too much here. It would be wonderful to be proven wrong, also from a career point of view.
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2 in her new life, in Dubai, in January 2020 and August 2022.

Offline Barumfox

I do not believe that it has posted here that sadly Magellan has now now joined her CMV fleetmate Marco Polo as well as ex-Carnival sister Grand Celebration on Alang's beaches, and the Ocean Dream, originally Tropicale, after only one Carnival new-build, Jubilee, having been scrapped prior to the COVID outbreak.

In relation to Cunard's position and whether it could be sold off like Azamara, this cannot be ruled out until cruising has resumed and the ships are earning their keep again. If this is problematical and the planned new Cunarder does join the fleet as planned, the QV could be at risk of transfer / sale if it is felt that maintaining the three ship fleet of the last decade is more appropriate. In a new post-COVID world packing a significantly higher number of passengers into a not that much larger ship may need to be rethought. This could affect higher density ships elsewhere - 5000-6000 passengers in one hull rather than two or three may have made economic sense previously but could be problematical going forward.

Despite being the oldest I also  feel QM2 is least at risk due to her specialist role, prestige  and comparative size. It was noticeable that no Carnival Group ship exceeded her GRT  until the new LNG ships now being completed such as Mardi Gras and Iona despite rival lines having dome so a number of years ago. This seemed to be partly due to not wanting to eclipse probably the most famous passenger ship still sailing and which acted as a figurehead for the whole group.

In terms of whether QV/QE were strengthened over standard Vistas this seems unclear - Philip Dawson, a credible author, refers to this in his books on them published in 2010 but with no additional details whilst the glossy books produced for Cunard ahead of their maiden voyages included a reference to 'high tensile' steel being used - whether this was different / of higher quality / greater thickness / stiffening than say Arcadia I do not know - would probably need an expert to look at the building specifications of each to be absolutely sure. Dawson does state that the Vista design was stronger comparatively then other designs of similar size designed for shorter routes. I don't think the QV/QE has a higher freeboard but they are 11.36 metres longer - four standard sized cabins widths according to Dawson, inserted between the two nests of lifeboats forward of the machinery.

I was fortunate enough to be on the infamous maiden (tandem) transatlantics of both QV and QE and was impressed with the way that they generally handled the conditions. There were reports of damage being sustained - particularly on the QV during a seven night crossing - but from early afternoon on the final day she gutsily maintained 23.7 knots - her official maximum speed - in order to make the planned three ship entrance into NYC with QM2 and QE2 the following morning. Being on the QV we not only had the better view - of QE2 - but also I would argue the better viewing / filming platform as Deck 3 forward is very handily sheltered compared to the boat deck of the QE2, which also had no equivalent to the Commodore Club to enjoy the forward view once the bit below the bridge was closed.

It was noticeable that three years later eight nights were allocated (not seven) for the QE's maiden which was sensible but hitting a Force 11 on the final morning at sea again put the schedule at risk as we reduced speed to 7/8 knots for a while whilst we enjoyed the view of the greatest show on earth from the CC, but we again made NY on schedule after conditions eased - I believe extra miles had also been 'banked' earlier in the voyage in anticipation of the storm.

I would have thought that if QV had received significant damage from her maiden voyage, this would have resulted in changes to QE's specification as the latter's build was not started until eight months later and there would have been time to design in extra strengthening.

Hopefully fears for Cunard will turn out to be premature but with the ban on cruise ships until March 2022 announced  by Canada this week the short term future for cruising seems more uncertain than ever - its one thing making cruise ships safe for passengers, its quite another to convince countries it is safer to let them call at their ports. Global vaccination may be the only way.

Gary.



Offline Clydebuilt1971

I read on social media this morning that mv Astoria - the 1948 built vessel which was on charter to now defunct cruise line CMV - is to be sold at auction.

I fear the worst for the old girl now.

mv Astoria Arrested, To Be Auctioned

Online Rob Lightbody

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I read on social media this morning that mv Astoria - the 1948 built vessel which was on charter to now defunct cruise line CMV - is to be sold at auction.

I fear the worst for the old girl now.

mv Astoria Arrested, To Be Auctioned

Thats a shame.  What a famous ship!  I told my nephew, who is doing a Marine Engineering degree, her fascinating history a while back, and he made a point of going to see her when she was on the Clyde.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Astoria
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Offline Thomas Hypher

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MV Funchal has also just been sold via auction (sealed bids again) with contradicting reports as to her future. One report suggests she's been sold to US investors, another report saying she's listed for scrap on a tonnage website or some such.

With the general trend with these things, I too fear the worst but perhaps in vain I also stay hopeful that another ship might just buck the trend and "make it". Also in Astoria's and Funchal's cases they have the odds stacked even more against them when their fully operational contemporaries have bitten the dust so readily.
« Last Edit: Feb 15, 2021, 02:24 PM by Thomas Hypher »
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2 in her new life, in Dubai, in January 2020 and August 2022.

Offline Rod

Would love to go on a ship that size!!

Offline Thomas Hypher

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Another video on MV Astor at Aliaga shipbreakers, by an urban explorer channel I subscribe to with some excellent documentary quality footage. I gather it is rare to be able to get footage and photos at Aliaga, let alone anything like this, amongst the recent load of cruise ship scrappings at Aliaga - outside of the cruise ship's being beached and unlike the photos streaming out of Alang and onto Facebook. They have also visited (illegally and in dicey circumstances) several other laid up ships such as FNS Colbert which spent time as a museum ship before being scrapped in a somewhat similar way to HMS Plymouth's sad end.


« Last Edit: Apr 15, 2021, 01:15 AM by Thomas Hypher »
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2 in her new life, in Dubai, in January 2020 and August 2022.

Online Rob Lightbody

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That Astor video is very sad indeed.  She looks not just in lovely condition, but has some nicely designed spaces, and a wooden deck.  I would have enjoyed being on board her very much and I'm pretty sure, had I lived in the South of England, that I would have been.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Thomas Hypher

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That Astor video is very sad indeed.  She looks not just in lovely condition, but has some nicely designed spaces, and a wooden deck.  I would have enjoyed being on board her very much and I'm pretty sure, had I lived in the South of England, that I would have been.

Agreed, it made very depressing viewing :( . And as you mention, yet another teak deck bites the dust.
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2 in her new life, in Dubai, in January 2020 and August 2022.

Offline Barumfox

Columbus has now joined former CMV fleetmates Magellan and Marco Polo on the beach at Alang.

I have not seen any update on Astoria since her failed auction in February - presume she is still at Rotterdam?

Satoshi (ex-Pacific Dawn, would be Amy Johnson) is at Bar in Montenegro after making her way from Panama after her failed residential ship venture - although is supposed to be heading to Alang as well I believe.

Offline Thomas Hypher

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Sad, but not surprised to see Boudicca was beached at Aliaga in the last couple of days. Black Watch probably isn't far behind but there isn't any way for us to tell as both ship's AIS have been inactive for around two months now. Boudicca appeared to be beached under tow judging by the double rope arrangement at her bow (for ocean going tug towing) and the tug at her stern pushing her onto the beach in the video. She's already lost her lifeboats and tenders before beaching and I would imagine, taking into account all of the above, that she was dead ship and perhaps has been for quite some time.

https://www.cruiseharbournews.com/boudiccascrap.html?fbclid=IwAR2fzWgVKi4B02NFt4mvxBLMYFViUliE6yj8C1NXztUiSn8m_BGvg6qdwxw
« Last Edit: May 18, 2021, 06:29 PM by Thomas Hypher »
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2 in her new life, in Dubai, in January 2020 and August 2022.

Offline June Ingram

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I had heard about this, Thomas, and thanks for verifying and for more information.
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Online Rob Lightbody

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Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

 

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