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luckyinpa

any cruise ships built in the USA?

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Posted (edited)

been downloading and watching many cruise specials these days. watching them put together the 7 seas now. gets you itching to go.

 

but you never see the USA building a ship so got me wondering if they do?

 

fun fact..someone forgot to put ballast in a ship 100 years ago . it sank. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Principessa_Jolanda_(1907)

Edited by luckyinpa

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I believe some Paddle boat "cruise ships" and river cruise ships are built in the US.

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Blount Shipyards built ships for the 'American Cruise Line' - I think there is some shared ownership of the firms.

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Sadly, it is unlikely that an American shipyard will ever again build a large cruise ship.  Not that we don't have the yards or the theoretical capabilities, but our yards are not very competitive cost-wise. 

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24 minutes ago, TheOldBear said:

Blount Shipyards built ships for the 'American Cruise Line' - I think there is some shared ownership of the firms.

I think that is incorrect

Maybe you are thinking of Pearl Seas

 

Most ACL ships were built  by  Chesapeake Shipbuilding

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How about the Lewis R French.   However, she was built in 1871 so maybe she doesn't count. 

 

Here is her history -

 

 

Built by the French brothers and named for their father, the schooner Lewis R. French was launched in April, 1871, in Christmas Cove, Maine. She is the last schooner remaining of thousands built in Maine during the 19th century. Due to some luck and love, the French has carried an assortment of cargoes for various owners around the Northeast for over 130 years! She freighted bricks, lumber, firewood, granite, fish, lime, canning supplies, Christmas trees, and now people.

 

DON

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2 hours ago, luckyinpa said:

been downloading and watching many cruise specials these days. watching them put together the 7 seas now. gets you itching to go.

 

but you never see the USA building a ship so got me wondering if they do?

 

fun fact..someone forgot to put ballast in a ship 100 years ago . it sank. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Principessa_Jolanda_(1907)

The SS United States was constructed in the US

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Our manufacturing is not competitive for a number of reasons. Taxes, regulations, materials, etc. The current admin has done lots of work to make it more competitive, but made in America is still more of a branding than an actual business move though.

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A bit of history regarding ship building and government support in the US during the 20th century:

https://www.maritime.dot.gov/content/shipbuilding-program-us-maritime-commission

 

Europe continues to invest heavily in this industry and I believe dominates the high building of cruise ships:

https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/maritime/shipbuilding_en

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On 7/29/2020 at 10:11 AM, luckyinpa said:

but you never see the USA building a ship so got me wondering if they do?

 

When it comes to large cruise ships the US does not have the skills or experience to build anything like that. The last large passenger ship completed in the US was the SS United States 68 years ago. Pride of America was a heavily government funded attempt to get two non military ships built in a US yard. Pride of America had to be towed to Germany to be completed. The Jones Act had to be fiddled for her to be registered in the US and the second ship was never built.

Cost isn't the decider. Once the skills are lost no amount of money cancels that out. The UK hasn't built a large passenger vessel since Queen Elizabeth 2 and couldn't do it now. The US builds large military vessels where cost and timelines are secondary ,  

 

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18 minutes ago, taglovestocruise said:

When it comes to large cruise ships the US does not have the skills or experience to build anything like that. The last large passenger ship completed in the US was the SS United States 68 years ago. Pride of America was a heavily government funded attempt to get two non military ships built in a US yard. Pride of America had to be towed to Germany to be completed. The Jones Act had to be fiddled for her to be registered in the US and the second ship was never built.

Cost isn't the decider. Once the skills are lost no amount of money cancels that out. The UK hasn't built a large passenger vessel since Queen Elizabeth 2 and couldn't do it now. The US builds large military vessels where cost and timelines are secondary ,  

 

 

 

I believe you are referring to the PVSA, not the Jones act which is for cargo.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ColeThornton said:

 

 

I believe you are referring to the PVSA, not the Jones act which is for cargo.

I believe it was twisting the Jones Act in their favor. Mostly about crew and how to flag a half foreign and half American built ship as built and flagged in the the US.  This was about 15 years ago.

From the NYT.

As American ships, these three vessels could benefit from a century-old law, the Jones Act, intended to protect the American shipbuilding industry by barring foreign carriers from cruising domestic routes. As a result, while Norwegian Cruise's rivals in the Hawaiian market have to touch base in a foreign port, generally Mexico or Canada, thousands of miles and five sailing days away, the Pride of America, Pride of Aloha and the third ship will be able to island-hop in the fast-growing Hawaiian market without having to put in at a foreign port. Originally  NCL Pride of America  had to make a stop at fanning island as a foreign port.

Edited by taglovestocruise

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, taglovestocruise said:

I believe it was twisting the Jones Act in their favor. Mostly about crew and how to flag a half foreign and half American built ship as built and flagged in the the US.  This was about 15 years ago.

From the NYT.

As American ships, these three vessels could benefit from a century-old law, the Jones Act, intended to protect the American shipbuilding industry by barring foreign carriers from cruising domestic routes. As a result, while Norwegian Cruise's rivals in the Hawaiian market have to touch base in a foreign port, generally Mexico or Canada, thousands of miles and five sailing days away, the Pride of America, Pride of Aloha and the third ship will be able to island-hop in the fast-growing Hawaiian market without having to put in at a foreign port.

No...it was the PVSA, not the Jones act. The Jones Act governs the transportation of merchandise (cargo).The PVSA governs the transportation of passengers. If the NYT said it was the Jones Act they were wrong. in fact the Jones Act wasn't a century-old law at the time the article was likely written either. It was enacted in 1920. The PVSA would have been over a century old at the time, having been enacted in 1886.

 

 

Edited by njhorseman

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5 hours ago, taglovestocruise said:

... Once the skills are lost no amount of money cancels that out. The UK hasn't built a large passenger vessel since Queen Elizabeth 2 and couldn't do it now. The US builds large military vessels where cost and timelines are secondary ,  

 

 

I have wondered if faced with a similar circumstance, could the US build ships at scale like was done during World War 2.  My hope is that skills can be resurrected if need be.   

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6 hours ago, taglovestocruise said:

Cost isn't the decider. Once the skills are lost no amount of money cancels that out. The UK hasn't built a large passenger vessel since Queen Elizabeth 2 and couldn't do it now. The US builds large military vessels where cost and timelines are secondary ,  

 

 

The last cruise ship built in the UK was the Vistafjord, which was built at Swan Hunter in 1973, a few years after the QE2. While smaller than the 50's & 60's liners, she was a little bigger than some of the other early 70's cruise ships.

 

One of the most luxurious ships of the times, it was on par with the original 3 Royal Viking ships.

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8 hours ago, SelectSys said:

 

I have wondered if faced with a similar circumstance, could the US build ships at scale like was done during World War 2.  My hope is that skills can be resurrected if need be.   

Unfortunately, the thing that made the shipbuilding "miracle" of WW2 is also the thing that ruined both the US merchant fleet and the US shipbuilding industry, and that is the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.  This Act, designed by President Roosevelt to position the US to meet the global demands of the global war he saw coming, paid subsidies to shipowners to build ships in US shipyards.  If the ship were US flagged, the US government would pay the difference in cost between building the ship in the US versus building it overseas.  A similar operating subsidy covered the cost differential of operating a ship as a US flag ship opposed to operating under a foreign flag.  Unfortunately, after the war, this construction subsidy continued, so that as the standard of living rose in the US, and the cost of shipyard labor in the US grew with it, no effort was made to modernize the shipbuilding industry, since the cost differential was merely passed to the US government and the taxpayers.  These subsidies continued until ended by President Reagan.  As a result, instead of using the US's ability to develop new technologies and new procedures to reduce costs in shipbuilding, we stagnated and passed the cost to the US taxpayer.  So, today, our shipbuilding industry is in no way competitive with foreign shipbuilding, especially when those foreign yards receive government subsidies.

 

Another problem with shipbuilding in the US is the average age of shipyard workers, which is 55 years old.  Young workers do not want to spend the time learning the trade, and do not want the long, dirty, all weather working conditions in shipbuilding.  No, I don't foresee anything like the shipbuilding response to WW2 happening again in the US.

 

There are ships built in the US, mostly with loan guarantees from the US government, and built to meet the Jones Act or PVSA market, and so protected from foreign competition, and therefore the construction cost does not matter as much.  As for building a large cruise ship, the actual construction of the ship could be done by most of the yards in the US, it is the outfitting of the hotel that we lack experience and infrastructure in.  But, even in Europe, most of this work is done by subcontractors, not shipyards, and in many cases, many miles away from the shipyard.  Cabin modules are produced and trucked to the yard for installation, and public spaces are built within the ship by contractors who have the experience of building these spaces on cruise ships, again, not by the shipyard workers.  But, again, cost would be the major concern, as virtually everything made in the US is more expensive than things made overseas, just because our standard of living is higher.

 

As for the Pride of America, the "US built" requirement of the PVSA only applies to the hull and superstructure, and only requires a certain percentage to be US manufacture, while all equipment, outfitting, and machinery is allowed to be foreign manufacture, so with the exception of the "assembled in the US" clause, POA nearly meets the US built requirement.  There was no "twisting" of the PVSA to get the POA into the Hawaiian service, it merely needed an exemption to the "US built" clause, which other ships in the past have received.  A ship does not need to be built in the US to be a US flagged ship, there are many foreign built ships flying the US flag, but those ships cannot carry cargo (Jones Act) or passengers (PVSA) on strictly domestic routes (no foreign ports, or cargo/pax from one US port to another).

 

And, another inaccuracy in the NYT article quoted above, is that the POA did not "originally" have to stop at Fanning Island, as she was PVSA compliant, with her "built" exemption, from the beginning.  The Norwegian Star, which used to sail in Hawaii, did use Fanning Island as a foreign port, and towards the end of the time that the Pride of Aloha (Norwegian Sky) was sailing in Hawaii under US flag, we did make runs to Fanning, but that was to fulfill a contractual agreement between NCL and the Republic of Kuribati (Fanning Island) to keep the exclusive lease on the compound.

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The MV Tustumena is an ocean-going USA built passenger ship for the Alaska Marine Highway System.  It mainly provides ferry service between Bellingham, WA and Alaska ports but it does have overnight cabins and sit down meal service.  The US shipyard that built it in the 1960s is still in existence but has not produced a new-build since the 1980s.  Due to the vessel's age a replacement has been designed but I've not found a reference to indicate that a build contract has been signed.

 

It will be interesting to see if a US shipyard can build a replacement.  Although ferry passengers don't expect cruise ship amenities there is a heighten expectation of comfort in basic accommodations compared to sixty years ago.  And there certainly wasn't an ADA in the 1960s.  A replacement ship will have to be widely accessible.  (A shipyard in Philadelphia, PA is building replacement training ships for the maritime service academies.  But those will be working ships with basic group sleeping accommodations.  They don't carry passengers and the cadets must be physically capable of climbing stairs, ladders, and stepping over water-tight doorways.)

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7 minutes ago, BlueRiband said:

The MV Tustumena is an ocean-going USA built passenger ship for the Alaska Marine Highway System.  It mainly provides ferry service between Bellingham, WA and Alaska ports but it does have overnight cabins and sit down meal service.  The US shipyard that built it in the 1960s is still in existence but has not produced a new-build since the 1980s.  Due to the vessel's age a replacement has been designed but I've not found a reference to indicate that a build contract has been signed.

 

 

Almost half their fleet is in layup right now including 2 of their mainliners (Columbia and Malaspina) due to either COVID or insufficient funds to operate or repair.  If they had plans for new builds, I'm sure they're on hold for a while.  

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14 minutes ago, BlueRiband said:

The MV Tustumena is an ocean-going USA built passenger ship for the Alaska Marine Highway System.  It mainly provides ferry service between Bellingham, WA and Alaska ports but it does have overnight cabins and sit down meal service.  The US shipyard that built it in the 1960s is still in existence but has not produced a new-build since the 1980s.  Due to the vessel's age a replacement has been designed but I've not found a reference to indicate that a build contract has been signed.

 

It will be interesting to see if a US shipyard can build a replacement.  Although ferry passengers don't expect cruise ship amenities there is a heighten expectation of comfort in basic accommodations compared to sixty years ago.  And there certainly wasn't an ADA in the 1960s.  A replacement ship will have to be widely accessible.  (A shipyard in Philadelphia, PA is building replacement training ships for the maritime service academies.  But those will be working ships with basic group sleeping accommodations.  They don't carry passengers and the cadets must be physically capable of climbing stairs, ladders, and stepping over water-tight doorways.)

The MV Kennicott is a larger ship built in 1998 for AMHS, and its builder, Halter Marine is still building ships today.  It has the same amenities as the Tustumena, 3.5 times the passenger capacity, four times the cabins, and being built in 1998 it meets all ADA requirements.  I have no doubt that replacements for the AMHS ships could be built in the US, as I will say again that hotel accommodations on passenger ships are no longer built by the shipyard, but by outside contractors, and more closely resembles the modular home business than shipbuilding.  And, as noted, Chesapeake Shipbuilding builds small cruise ships for American Cruise LInes, Edison Chouest yards are building river boats for Viking River, and Blount builds their own ships in their RI shipyard.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, chengkp75 said:

Chesapeake Shipbuilding builds small cruise ships for American Cruise LInes

You undoubtedly know this, but others may not...American Cruise Lines and Chesapeake Shipbuilding are sister companies. Note this comment by American Cruise Lines' CEO Charles A. Robertson in a 2018 interview. ( Charles A Robertson passed away earlier this year and was immediately succeeded by his son Charles B. Robertson)

 

https://www.travelagentcentral.com/cruises/charles-robertson#:~:text=At the helm of the,industry since the mid-1970s.

 

"When the line builds new vessels, it does so at Chesapeake Shipbuilding, its own shipyard in Salisbury, MD. Building your own ships does have its perks, according to Robertson: “It certainly streamlines the process and there’s never an argument with the shipbuilder.” "

 

Chesapeake Shipbuilding also builds vessels, mostly tugs, for other companies.

Edited by njhorseman

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8 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

Unfortunately, the thing that made the shipbuilding "miracle" of WW2 is also the thing that ruined both the US merchant fleet and the US shipbuilding industry, and that is the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.  This Act, designed by President Roosevelt to position the US to meet the global demands of the global war he saw coming, paid subsidies to shipowners to build ships in US shipyards.  If the ship were US flagged, the US government would pay the difference in cost between building the ship in the US versus building it overseas... 

 

These subsidies continued until ended by President Reagan.  As a result, instead of using the US's ability to develop new technologies and new procedures to reduce costs in shipbuilding, we stagnated and passed the cost to the US taxpayer.  So, today, our shipbuilding industry is in no way competitive with foreign shipbuilding, especially when those foreign yards receive government subsidies.

 

Another problem with shipbuilding in the US is the average age of shipyard workers, which is 55 years old.  Young workers do not want to spend the time learning the trade, and do not want the long, dirty, all weather working conditions in shipbuilding.  No, I don't foresee anything like the shipbuilding response to WW2 happening again in the US.

 

Thanks for the background on this subject!  It's always interesting to hear the perspective of someone who is from the actual industry being discussed.  As always government subsidies, regulations and tax policies can distort investments and decision making as well as have those famous, "unintended consequences."

 

Government subsidies and  policies are now shoving many young kids into studying pseudo subjects, or at least non marketable education, at universities leaving them fit only to work at Target, wait tables or other Mac-job rather than having a true skill.  The Germans have always been good in this regard in terms of emphasizing skills.  The consequence of all this is an aging skilled labor workforce with no obvious replacements as you suggest above.

 

I work in a somewhat similar industry to ship building in that it is both very high tech and yet also requires highly skilled physical labor.  We face similar challenges where the top trades can earn much more than what most university degrees will pay.  As a result of this, we are needing to create our own apprentice programs to capture young people and show them a different way to be successful.

 

The only way ship building would likely return in scale would be in response to a war-like conditions of the past or a collapse of the current trading regimes.  It would be a challenge, but it probably could happen over time.  True necessity is still "the mother of invention."

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3 hours ago, BlueRiband said:

The MV Tustumena is an ocean-going USA built passenger ship for the Alaska Marine Highway System.  It mainly provides ferry service between Bellingham, WA and Alaska ports but it does have overnight cabins and sit down meal service...

 

It will be interesting to see if a US shipyard can build a replacement.  Although ferry passengers don't expect cruise ship amenities there is a heighten expectation of comfort in basic accommodations compared to sixty years ago.  And there certainly wasn't an ADA in the 1960s...

 

Washington state yards continue to produce ferries for their system as well.  These ships, however, are quite simple and only provide seating space and just as importantly space for cars.  I believe all of their fleet has been retrofitted or built to comply with ADA requirements.

 

A US yard could do it, it's just going to be expensive

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The Tustumena and year-older Matunuska overnight ships have but one HC cabin.

 

In reviewing the Alaska service for these replies I found that the cost and operation of the system is under debate within their state legislature.  It's currently a state government run operation by the Alaska Department of Transportation.  Thus funding for the replacement of the Tustumena is delayed.  If they have a "short list" of potential yards it doesn't appear to be publicized.  According to their specifications the current Tustumena is the only vessel in their fleet which has ocean-going capability and has the draft, beam and overall length to service all of the ports on their system. 

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On 7/30/2020 at 4:20 PM, taglovestocruise said:

When it comes to large cruise ships the US does not have the skills or experience to build anything like that. The last large passenger ship completed in the US was the SS United States 68 years ago. Pride of America was a heavily government funded attempt to get two non military ships built in a US yard. Pride of America had to be towed to Germany to be completed. The Jones Act had to be fiddled for her to be registered in the US and the second ship was never built.

Cost isn't the decider. Once the skills are lost no amount of money cancels that out. The UK hasn't built a large passenger vessel since Queen Elizabeth 2 and couldn't do it now. The US builds large military vessels where cost and timelines are secondary ,  

 

 

Sorry disagree with your comment.   If the US can build multi billion dollar much more complex  Aircraft Carriers, do not believe that it would be difficult for use to switch over to cruise ships.  Unfortunately, our government is against us.   

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