Pandemic or Not, Cruise Ship Drydocks Continue

Norwegian Breakaway

There may be an uptick in cruise ship drydocks in 2021 as the global fleet prepares to return to service and cruise operators take the opportunity to get work done as well as necessary classification society inspections without the penalty of taking a ship out of revenue service, according to the 2021 Drydock Report by Cruise Industry News.

In some cases, big ticket items have actually been moved up, such as Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings taking the opportunity to fit exhaust gas cleaning systems to the Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway two years ahead of schedule.

"Look, ships have to drydock, they have to stay within the classification society rules," said Mark Kempa, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, speaking on the company's year-end and fourth quarter earnings call on Feb. 25.

"And what I can tell you is, while we have pulled back on our capital expenditures and some of that is related to investments and enhancements that we would have made during drydocks, we are not stopping drydocks.

"Drydocks have to occur by class. And there are certain investments that we’ve continued to make. A good example of that is, some of the scrubbers on the Breakaway and Getaway. They were scheduled to be completed in early 2023 and because the ships are out of service and going through their normal, drydock periods, we’re able to install those sooner.

"And get the benefit once we restart operating," Kempa continued. "But I think when you look at the ships going forward, and you look at the cost structure on the ships. By and large, we’ve always said this, the cost structure on a ship is generally a highly fixed cost structure."

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