The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the cruise industry, with new ship orders few and far between. Helsinki Shipyard, one of the few shipyards to receive a new cruise ship order during the pandemic, has now delivered its final cruise ship, the SH Diana, to Swan Hellenic. As the ship sets off on her delivery voyage, the future of Helsinki Shipyard and the cruise industry remains uncertain. In this article, travel journalist Kevin Erickson takes a closer look at the delivery of the SH Diana, the challenges faced by Helsinki Shipyard, and the future of the industry.
- Helsinki Shipyard has delivered its final cruise ship, SH Diana, to Swan Hellenic, reflecting changes in design for versatility.
- The delivery of the ship marks the end of new ship orders for the shipyard, which will now shift its focus to repairs and luxury yachts.
- SH Diana is larger than her sisters, the SH Minerva and SH Vega, and is equipped with large tender boats and Zodiac boats for immersive experiences.
- Helsinki Shipyard is in talks with Davie Shipyard of Canada to acquire its assets due to its long history and experience in building Arctic ships.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the cruise industry, with new ship orders few and far between. Helsinki Shipyard received the order for its third cruise ship, the SH Diana, from Swan Hellenic in October 2020, marking one of the few new cruise ship orders placed during the pandemic. The delivery of the SH Diana marks the end of new ship orders for Helsinki Shipyard, which will now shift its focus to repairs and luxury yachts.
The SH Diana departed from Helsinki on April 1st and is currently on her delivery voyage, transiting the Kiel Canal in Germany and sailing to Gibraltar before arriving in Italy, where she will begin cruising. With a passenger capacity of 192 and a crew of 140, she is the largest ship in Swan Hellenic’s fleet and is equipped with large tender boats and Zodiac boats for immersive experiences.
The End of New Ship Orders for Helsinki Shipyard
Helsinki Shipyard has faced its share of challenges in launching its cruise ships, including contract complications with Russian finance firm GTLK, which was caught by sanctions on Russian financial institutions. Helsinki Shipyard was able to declare GTLK in default and sell the second and third ships to Swan Hellenic, which arranged new financing. The first ship, SH Minerva, was also purchased by Swan Hellenic but remains laid up in Uruguay while the firm works to complete the transfer from GTLK’s ownership.
In addition to its challenges, Helsinki Shipyard is now in talks with Davie Shipyard of Canada to acquire its assets, due to its long history and experience in building Arctic ships. Helsinki Shipyard had received an order to build a large Russian icebreaker, but the Finnish government later denied an export license due to the war in Ukraine and EU sanctions. As a result, the yard has not been able to secure new commercial building contracts and has shifted its focus to providing maintenance work and launching an expanded offering for luxury yachts.
The delivery of SH Diana marks the end of an era for Helsinki Shipyard, as it shifts its focus from new ship orders to repairs and luxury yachts. However, with its long history and experience in building Arctic ships, the yard remains an attractive asset for potential buyers like Davie Shipyard. With the cruise industry slowly recovering from the pandemic, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Helsinki Shipyard and the cruise industry as a whole.