The Business Of Managing Cruise Ships Is Booming

Credits: Josiah Weiss/Unsplash
  • The market for cruise shipmanagement is thriving.
  • The growth of cruise shipmanagement is bringing competition and opportunities.
  • In 2022, Anglo-Eastern Univan Group acquired Cruise Management International (CMI) and CMI Leisure Management (CMIL) from shareholders, including SunStone Maritime Group.

A recent news article published in the Riviera states that cruise shipmanagement is thriving.


CMIL president and chief executive Dietmar Wertanzl tells PST he is excited about the opportunities the acquisition is bringing. We are now part of a much larger, stronger company and will have a significantly broader scope. Anglo-Eastern is one of the world’s leading ship managers and we are excited to have such a strong parent with more horsepower.” 

The takeover of CMI and CMIL allows Anglo-Eastern to enter the cruise industry, a new sector for the company. Mr Wertanzl says, “Anglo-Eastern primarily manages non-passenger vessels, but our two businesses share the same values and synergies we can each build upon, plus our hotel sector is a nice extension of its brand.”

Anglo-Eastern is the world’s largest provider of independent shipmanagement services, with full management of more than 650 vessels, more than 1,800 shore-based staff, and 30,000 active seafarers.

Its acquisition by Anglo-Eastern is already proving beneficial for CMIL, which is creating a new digital platform for hiring crew and managing their experiences. CMIL is working with its new parent on the app. “They already have a template, and we are working to tie into that,” says Mr Wertanzl.

CMI and CMIL will continue to operate from Miami.

CMIL has 12 ships in operation this year and will provide the hotel management of Albatross Expeditions’ Ocean Albatross next year.

The shipmanagement company is still seeing challenges after the pandemic. “We are still facing global issues. The logistical challenges have not gone away, though we hope they will, with less headwinds and more tailwinds. By Q3 and Q4 this year, it should improve. People are excited to travel again, and we are pleased to have 12 ships in operation to help them do just that and enjoy memorable experiences,” says Mr Wertanzl.

A big focus for CMIL is sustainability and accordingly it has launched its Green Initiative Programme 3.0. This takes the principles of recycling, reducing and re-using.

Mr Wertanzl says, “Sustainable practices are very important to us and takes precedence at Anglo-Eastern, which is committed to shaping a better maritime future through carbon-neutral shore operations and decarbonising its managed fleet. Our programme dovetails nicely with this and is constantly evolving through the adoption of new best practices. Currently, we are looking at everything from chemicals to plastics and how to do better.” 

Dream Cruises fleet

Elsewhere, V.Ships Leisure has been taking care of Genting Hong Kong’s cruise ships after its collapse.

The company has managed the full Dream Cruises fleet: Genting DreamWorld Dream and Explorer Dream as well as the Crystal fleet: Crystal SerenityCrystal Symphony and Crystal Endeavor.

V.Ships Leisure chief executive Per Bjornsen tells PST, “We worked closely with the banks and all the related parties during the collapse. We are proud of the role we played stepping in to care for the crew and vessels in the immediate aftermath and over the past year as the ships have gradually found their future homes.

“It was challenging, and we worked round the clock. Not only did we use our own team, but also colleagues in other teams, including crewing and GMT, our travel company. GMT’s managing director went to the Bahamas to speak to seafarers there and arranged charter flights as there simply wasn’t sufficient airlift capacity for the number of crew. We supported the industry, and we pulled on our resources to make it all happen.”

Aside from this major event, V.Ships Leisure has been growing substantially with start-ups and newly independent cruise lines. Its recent contracts include Azamara and Swan Hellenic.

Mr Bjornsen comments, “There are a lot of new developments and projects within the ultra-luxury cruise sector.” He also singles out the opening up of China and its large potential cruise eco-system as providing work and opportunities for shipmanagement.

“We can add a lot of value to start-ups and new brands and make them more efficient,” says Mr Bjornsen.

A major focus for the company is its digital platform, into which it has invested a “massive amount” in and continues to do so. The company has had its digital platform ShipSure for 20 years but launched the 2.0 version prior to the pandemic.

Speaking about the latest version of ShipSure, Mr Bjornsen says, “We have much more data-driven and predictive management, and we use artificial intelligence for insights and trends on safety enabling pro-active action. There is no end, we will continue to develop it.”

Commenting on the cruise shipmanagement market, he observes, “Shipmanagement is thriving. Whereas prior to Covid there was continual consolidation, now there are new entrants and cruise lines being bought and sold. While there is more competition, there are also opportunities for us.”

Wilhemsen Ship Management

Meanwhile, Wilhemsen Ship Management is looking to grow its cruise business. Its vessels include Viking Star and Viking Neptune.

Wilhelmsen Ship Management president and chief executive Carl Schou tells PST, We have had a controlled growth as we believe quality operations is the main driver in this segment and we need to be able to deliver according to owners’ expectations. We are looking at growing our cruise business. We have been involved in several cruise projects, the majority being in the high-end part of the market.”

Looking at the main challenges and trends within the cruise shipmanagement market, he says, “Crew shortage has always been an issue and we have experienced rapid growth in the past few months with limited growth in the crew supply.

“We see there are several new projects being developed in different segments, such as expedition, leisure, etc. Cruise bookings are experiencing a very strong growth and have had a strong rebound after Covid, and I think we will see further growth in the cruise market.”

Wilhelmsen Ship Management is collaborating with a company which is currently serving the Chinese market. “There is huge potential in this region and we are involved in several projects here,” says Mr Schou.   


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Source: Riviera


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