V.Ships: Expedition Operating Partner

“We offer the full range of services to the expedition market – technical, hotel, catering, crewing, port operations and itinerary planning,” said Per Bjornsen, director, V.Ships Leisure, in the 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News.

In addition to crew management for Mystic Cruises, V.Ships was recently awarded a contract by Antarctica21 for the technical management of the 100-passenger newbuild Magellan Explorer. The work includes crew management, according to Bjornsen, who told Cruise Industry News in April that they were in the process of preparing the vessel for service entry.

The Magellan Explorer is under construction in Chile slated for delivery in September. She is being built to Polar Code and will launch service in Antarctica.

In 2017, V.Ships was also awarded a contract by Scenic for technical and hotel operation management, as well as port operations and itinerary planning, for its first new ocean-going expedition vessel, the Scenic Eclipse.

Magellan Explorer

Another recent addition includes Piano Land for Twinkle Cruises, providing complete marine, technical and hotel start-up and operations management.

“Independent operators and startups can leverage our scale and systems to compete with larger cruise companies. Because of our range of services, we can customize our contracts based on location and the size of the business,” Bjornsen added.

“Our partners also benefit from our investments in systems and technology,” he continued. “Our ShipSure 2.0 app enables us to be more transparent to our clients, providing real time insight into procurement, crew lists, certifications and more. This tool creates an important level of trust which is important for technical management and outsourcing. It also includes a planned maintenance module, which otherwise is an extra cost.”

For crewing and training, V.Ships can draw on its own network of offices around the world  for skilled seafarers for the expedition segment.

Project Embark is an app that lets seafarers track their careers, certificates and training requirements, and interact with shoreside colleagues digitally.

A Polar Code training program is also offered. It has two parts, basic and advanced, and the interactive e-learning has been approved by the Bahamas flag.

“We are able to offer the basic training to a large number of deck officers,” Bjornsen said, “to prepare them for the advanced part which has to be taken at a training institute supplemented by sea time.”

“We see growth in all segments and regions of the cruise industry,” Bjornsen said. “And with our global reach we can compete in every market.

“In the cruise sector, we provide services to more than 100 vessels – from manning to e-learning, project management of scrubber installations, repair teams to crew travel – we can function not just as a technical manager, but as a partner for outsourcing.”

For expedition operators, Bjornsen said that whether to build or go second-hand would depend on the product, and if secondhand tonnage is available, which means faster entry and lower startup costs.

If the product is a lifestyle brand entering the industry with new standards, a newbuilding or major conversion would be the best solution.

About the Expedition Market Report:

The 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News is a comprehensive overview of the booming expedition market, profiling 39 operators, over 40 new ships and projecting capacity growth through 2027. The 196-page PDF is a deep dive into all aspects of the expedition cruise market.

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