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Thursday, March 22, 2018

“Five star” ship will set a new level for Russian river cruises

In Russia begins large-scale program to upgrade the river cruise fleet: the first in decades, a domestic airliner. The demand for these cruises and the ships projected huge, and the liner must be it domestic: foreign not suitable for a number of parameters.

Yesterday at the shipyard “Lotus” in Astrakhan region (part of United shipbuilding company, ASC) was held to lay the first in many decades of passenger cruise ship

“This is a real historical event. Build bulk carriers, tankers building small pleasure boats are building, and this ship was not built”

Vladimir Putin expressed the hope that this ship will be the first but not the last and will be built a series of such ships. “I have no doubt that this series will be in demand… in this case passenger carriers… and will serve as a real revival of passenger transportation along the rivers and development of domestic and inbound tourism”, – said Vladimir Putin.

“This is a real historical event – the first time in nearly 60 years began to build a cruise ship. Build bulk carriers, tankers building small pleasure boats are building, and such ships are built” – said the newspaper VIEW, General Director of “Marine Engineering Bureau” Gennady Yegorov.

It is the engineers of his office and developed the ship concept PV300VD, which should be built within three years. The project belongs to the St. Petersburg team of engineers of “Marine Engineering Bureau – SPb”, which has been working in Russia for 16 years. As Egorov, he is the owner of two separate companies – one office is located in Odessa, the other in St. Petersburg. But for Russia’s development took place in the Northern capital.

Historical injustice

Such ships were not built in the Soviet Union. “The last judgment in the USSR was built in 1959-1960 – two river cruise ship “Soviet Union” and “Lenin” at the Gorky plant”, – says Egorov. And then the river cruise ships of the USSR began to buy abroad until 1989-1990. However, it was not entirely foreign ships. “They were built-to-order and project, which were developed specially for Russia, for operation in Russian conditions. They built in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria,” – says the Director of domestic tourism of the cruise company “Vodohod” Andrei Smolin. In fact, the Soviet Union used the production capacity, but engineers were still Soviet. But after 1990, Russia river cruise ships have already stopped to build, even from foreign platforms.

Since then, the river passenger navigation lives at the expense of the Soviet legacy. Buy imported used river boats Russian companies could not. And it’s not even about the money. What they are doing, simply is not suitable for operation in Russian conditions.

“Shipping conditions in Russia are rather severe. Security requirements – the lees of the ship, its size, much more serious than the European rivers. Roughly speaking, there are simpler designs, so they are cheaper. Our rivers and lakes, reservoirs do not allow to operate foreign ships. Therefore, we need to,” says Smolin.

It is no coincidence that the new ship will have a class “river – sea”. This class of vessel is needed in order to be able to go out into large lakes, for example, in the Onega and Ladoga, says Smolin.

“For the XXI century on the Rhine have launched more than 110 river cruise ships with cabins. But their size does not suit us, and most importantly, they have the same river, other – peaceful and quiet. We have Ladoga and Onega, a large reservoir, where the decent excitement. So our river cruise ships are much more powerful,” adds Egorov.

That’s why it was so important to draft a new ship that can carry tourists along the Russian rivers, and to establish its production.

“To infinity to use the legacy of the Soviet Union, we can not, therefore, the issue of a new passenger shipbuilding was raised for 10-15 years. Court we have have become outdated, they are 50-60 years in the future 5-10 years, more than half of the fleet will become worthless. Of the 120 ships that were used back in 2008, now in the left navigation 96, and their number is constantly decreasing,” says Smolin.

Russia has engaged in the revival of river cruise shipping company a few years ago, before the fashion for import-substitution. But even then, it was about the organization of production exclusively within the country. It is not only additional jobs and additional taxes, but in General, the development of national shipbuilding.

The concept PV300VD developed “Marine Engineering Bureau – SPb” in 2010-2015 specially by order of the Federal Agency of Maritime and river transport of Russia within the Federal program “Development of civil marine engineering for 2009-2016 years.” The state customer and coordinator of the program is the Ministry of industry and trade of the Russian Federation.

And here at the appointed time in 2016 – began construction of the head ship. Completion is scheduled for 2019. The cost of a liner will, according to various estimates, from 2.5 to 3.5 billion rubles. The payback period is called 15 to 20 years. While in terms of the creation of up to three such vessels.

Tourist prospects

First, a new ship like in season (may to October) operate in Russia via the Moscow – Saint-Petersburg, then to take tourists from Moscow to Samara and Rostov-on-don, and in winter to carry tourists in the Red sea: Rostov-na-Donu – Yalta – Odessa – Istanbul (Turkey), Istanbul (Turkey) – Alexandria (Egypt).

However, now talking about navigation in the Crimea, in Sevastopol, and also in Sochi, on plus more interesting for domestic tourists circular cruise on the Caspian sea. Here is not so strong competition, as in the Red sea, and the route is interesting for tourists not only from the Caspian sea region, but also from other countries.

“For the year in Russia, we objecive about 450-500 thousand persons, from them about 100 thousand foreign customers. Now the number of foreigners declined by almost half in 2014 for obvious reasons – not going after the events in Ukraine. But increased demand from Russian tourists,” – said Smolin.

According to him, an average of one cruise day is 4-5 thousand rubles per person. Uncomfortable on the ship, the price can be 2.5 thousand rubles a day. When talking about the ship class Suite with balcony cabin twice a standard, the price is 9-10 thousand rubles per person per day.

Minimum tour lasts three days. Normal duration is 7-10 days. There are also long cruises – 14-21 days. For example, the cruise Moscow – Astrakhan – Moscow lasts 21 days. “These cruises go, and they are bought, as a rule, in the first place,” says Smolin.

Experts believe that the potential for development of cruise tourism with an elegant new ship is big. “The current ships do not meet a certain level of comfort. A 10-metre cabin is not quite what you need. The new boat cabins are much larger. Today, there are ships mostly three stars, but the new ship will have a 4.5–5 stars,” says Smolin. Egorov believes that the demand for cruises from tourists may increase from the current 350 to 450 thousand people to 1 million and above.

Buyers of the new ship should be “Mosturflot” (enters in GK “Sea and river shipping company), “Vodohod” and “Orthodox”, said the Ministry of industry and trade. Given the high cost of ships, it is planned to lease them to the operators on lease. “Vodochody” they say that within three years they would buy, while only one or two such ship. But overall market should be at least 10 such ships in the next 5-10 years, and in the longer term – dozens of river passenger ships, which will replace the outgoing old Navy.

Features of the ship

The main “trick” of this four-deck ship, Egorov notes, is that it can move like rivers, and seas. Now in Russia there are only river boats.

In addition, it will be a modern and comfortable boat: the area of each cabin is approximately 16-43 sqm, including a balcony or French balcony (usually double cabins).

In fact, it will be a “floating hotel” with the device full of balconies/terraces, on the nose will be a review of salon, “Sunny” deck consists of two parts: on the roof of the wheelhouse with setrootbyname and awning deck with sliding closure from bad weather, pool and bar.

The ship also provides meeting rooms, bars, children’s room, beauty salon, gift shop, fitness centre, Solarium on the sun deck. Also on the ship, everything is thought out for people with disabilities.


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