Germany Where Most American Cruise Ships Are Built

Spectrum of the Seas Build Meyer Werft Shipyard Papenburg Germany
Spectrum of the Seas Build Meyer Werft Shipyard Papenburg Germany
Meyer Werft Shipyard Papenburg Germany
Meyer Werft Shipyard Papenburg Germany

Spectrum of the Seas is taking shape block by block. Spectrum of the Seas is Quantum class is a class of cruise ship from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. With a unique construction process underway, mega-blocks of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class ship are built in Neptun Werft (Rostock, Germany) and transferred via hydraulics onto a pontoon, which will travel down the Ems River to the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.

Spectrum of the Seas is set to debut in 2019 and will be the first Quantum Ultra ship that will specifically be designed for guests in China and the Asia-Pacific region, and will feature cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities.

Spectrum of the Seas length is 140 meters (459ft), height 11.7 meters (38 feet) and width 41.5 meters (136 feet).

Meyer Werft Shipyard
Meyer Werft Shipyard

Meyer Werft Shipyard is where 40 cruise ships have been built since 1986. Ovation of the Seas,  Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Norwegian Joy,  Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, World Dream, Genting Dream, Disney Dream, Celebrity Reflection and AIDAStella  are recent builds at the German shipyard.

Why Cruise Ships Are No Longer USA Built

Cruise ships operating in United States waters and/or operated by American companies have not been built in the United States since the failure of Project America. Project America was the result of the U.S.-Flag Cruise Ship Pilot Project Statute passed by Congress in 1997. Project America was the designation for a contract between American Classic Voyages and the Litton Ingalls Shipyard of Pascagoula, Mississippi. The contract was to build two cruise ships, with an option for a third vessel.

Litton Ingalls Shipyard of Pascagoula, Mississippi
Litton Ingalls Shipyard of Pascagoula, Mississippi

Litton Ingalls Shipyard  was  founded by Robert Ingersoll Ingalls, Sr. of Birmingham, Alabama in 1938, on the East Bank of the Pascagoula River in Mississippi. Ingalls was located where the Pascagoula River runs into the Gulf of Mexico. The shipbuilder now owns 800 acres of land.

The intention of the project was to revitalize the U.S. passenger cruise shipbuilding industry. These ships were to be the largest cruise ships ever built in the U.S., with the first planned to enter service in early 2003. Ingalls had delivered the last American-built large cruise ships, Brasil and Argentina, in 1958.

In late 2002, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) contracted Northrop Grumman Corporation, the owner of Ingalls, to buy all of the materials, equipment and work performed on the two Project America vessels. All of the materials were towed to Germany and the first ship was completed at Lloyd Werft Shipyard in Bremerhaven.  This ship was named the Pride of America and entered service in 2005.

In exchange for the purchase of the Project America materials, NCL lobbied heavily for an exception to the Passenger Vessel Services Act, which prohibits foreign built ships from operating between U.S. ports without making a foreign stop in between. The exception was granted and three NCL ships operating Hawaii itineraries were allowed to fly the U.S. flag – Pride of Hawaii, Pride of America and Pride of Aloha.

USA Union Ship Building

Litton Ingalls Shipyard now owned by Northrop Grumman Corporation, which is a leading producer of ships for the United States Navy and has built nearly 70 percent of the U.S. Navy fleet of warships. The company hires union workers from five unions, which explains how in the U.S., the industry got priced out of the worldwide cruise ship building market.

The five unions are Pascagoula Metal Trades Council (PMTC) and the local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), International Association of Machinists (IAM), United Federation of Special Police and Security Officers (UFSPSO) and Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU).

Last month, the five unions signed new contracts which cover 11,500 employees. As part of a four-year extension, a $2,500 lump sum payment will be awarded in March 2018 to all eligible employees; a 65-cent raise on the journeyman rate will come on March 11, 2019, a 67-cent raise on March 9, 2020, and an 82-cent raise on March 8, 2021. All eligible represented employees will also receive a $2,500 ratification bonus, which was paid on Dec. 14, 2017. The two lump sum bonuses, not including wages for the 11,500 employees total $57.5 million, which ultimately will be paid by the U.S. government and American tax payers, not the cruise industry and cruise passengers.

The average Ingalls Shipbuilding salary ranges from approximately $33,000 per year for Structural Welder to $65,985 per year for Senior Cost Accountant. Average Ingalls Shipbuilding hourly pay ranges from approximately $22.07 per hour for Pipefitter to $28.00 per hour for Foreman. Additional benefits include healthcare, paid time off for vacation and personal time, short-term disability benefits which pays 100% of base weekly earnings for six weeks, then 50% for the next 20 weeks. There is also an employer matched savings plan for IRA and 401k.

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Video: Spectrum of the Seas’ Mega-Block Float Out