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Cruise ships vs yachts

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by axavierhansz, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. axavierhansz

    axavierhansz New Member

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    Hi guys. Complete novice to the world of ships and yachts, but here to learn. Was just looking at random yacht listings when I noticed that many cruise ships and ferries and cargo boats actually cost less than yachts 1/3 the size.

    For example
    1980 CRUISE SHIP, 528 PASSENGERS Power Boat For Sale
    Several more around the same price level and there was one older one that went for like 5 million, and another that was literally around 2 million.

    My question is: fuel efficiency problems aside, why the huge price discrepancy? Obviously those large ships were used but the price discrepancy between them and similarly aged yachts is still massive. Does this imply that a new 150 foot yacht costs more than a new 500 foot cruise ship? Why can't a yacht builder just make the hull of a cruise ship/ferry/cargo ship with yacht amenities? I would imagine that would be no more expensive than making and furnishing separate living quarters for 3000 people. And if they can, why don't they? Who wouldn't want a floating city to be their yacht? I'd imagine there would at least be a decent market for this.

    Thanks to everyone who is willing to entertain this absurd question.
  2. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    It is like comparing a Bentley with a used city bus...

    You can for sure take a cruise ship hull and make it a Superyacht, but you are not saving any money.
  3. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Very well put.
  4. axavierhansz

    axavierhansz New Member

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    Ok thanks for giving no useful information

    For one thing, I get the Bentley vs used city bus analogy. But a boat is also a home when you're at sea. If I had to actually LIVE in a car I'd pick a used city bus any day of the week over a Bentley Continental. Wouldn't you?

    Second of all: why is it a Bentley vs used city bus scenario? Obviously a 100 million dollar superyacht would be much much more luxurious than a 5 million dollar used cruise ship, but I cant imagine that retrofitting the cruise ship to be highly luxurious would cost anything close to 100 million. I've never retrofitted a ship so I could simply be extremely ignorant, but how can interior decorating cost that much money? And many features that require structural changes e.g. swimming pools would already be on the cruise ship. Want a giant bedroom for the lady and gentleman who owns the ship? There's going to be plenty of rooms once meant as gathering places for large numbers of tourists that are now obsolete, which can be refurnished to be bedrooms or lounges.

    Not trying to start an argument here. Just trying to explore why the yachts cost so much. Is it simply the prestige of owning a yacht that makes people willing to pay so much? Or is there actually something physical going on that makes the yacht worth every penny?
  5. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    You must compare the two in reality to know why a superyacht is more expensive. But if you consider that the structure/hull of a yacht represents around 10 percent of the total cost, it may be easier to understand why taking this from a cruise ship is not where you can make any savings.
  6. RB480

    RB480 Senior Member

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    A lot of it depends on your standards. Have you ever seen the exterior finish alone on a cruise ship vs a super yacht?

    I think the better analogy is a city bus vs a large celebrity tour bus. Same goes for a private luxury jet vs an American airlines 707.
  7. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
    Rub a dub dub

    Finally, someone understands the OP's query.

    The AA 707 would be gutted and refitted to the new owner's desire.

    Think Motor Yacht Suri.

    Think Motor Yacht Suri - Google Search

    One could also add Motor Yacht Wyuna (IMO 5393907) to the mix.

    Think Motor Yacht Sherakhan, for a refit example.

    motor yacht sherakhan - Google Search
  8. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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  9. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
    Someone took an old boat and converted it to the boat (yacht) of their desire (dreams), for less (perhaps).

    Are they not examples of the original thought and query?

    Google Motor Yacht Prinses Margriet and compare to Google of Motor Yacht Sherakhan. :rolleyes:
  10. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I know the Skipper of SURI, he has nothing good to say about the original conversion at all.

    I was on it in Whangarei, NZ in October 2009 (less than 2 yrs after it's "delivery")when it was having a rebuild to get it to the condition and operational level the Owner wanted at the outset.

    Most conversions are a nest of Vipers at best, they are usually done on vessels that have passed their economic viability in one area or another.

    As to the OP's initial question,What are the advantages of a yacht designed and built over a commercial ship made into a yacht.

    Not much if you want quality and longevity
  11. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    Dear K1W1,

    I am frankly disappointed that your yachtie-inspired commentary regarding refits has fallen below your thresholds of professional analysis and challenges even my capacity to suspend disbelief, as I find your perspectives to as inaccurate as they are inarticulate.

    Did your friend, "Captain Incompetent" (of whom I know far too well), happen to mention that the SuRi project changed from being a shadow support vessel for a 50 meter, shiny white, Hakvoort motor yacht to become a yacht in its own right half way through the project?

    Did he mention that SuRi was fully refit to IACS Class (Bureau Veritas) standards and was the runner-up in 2007 Showboat's Refit of the Year category?

    Did he remind you that the Owner of SuRi sent the yacht to NZ in order to have her exterior lounge located on top of the wheelhouse fully enclosed, air conditioned and furnished to luxury yacht standards? A major refit item.

    And did your friend tell you that the Owner of SuRi was so happy with his conversion project that he sold his 50 meter Hakvoort in order to use only SuRi as his primary yacht?

    And were you also apprised of the fact that the Owner took SuRi back to the shipyard this year to have her cut in half and a 50 meter extension added to her mid-body?

    This all surely sounds like the actions of a very unsatisfied customer responding to the vagaries of an ill-conceived yachting option.

    Finally, our worldly and wise engineer, did you bother to include your disclaimer that most of the world's greatest superyachts return to the shipyard within 6 months of delivery to have a laundry list 6 fathoms long of warranty items to be repaired?

    To respond to the OP's query, commercial ships are built to be relatively bullet-proof and serve long lives with thousands of miles at sea, virtually trouble free. To take a sound steel hull with robust machinery and proven systems, upgrade them to current standards while adding some elegant veneers, marble, granite and carpet, is a a very efficient and cost effective way to enjoy the comforts and pleasures of very large yacht at a fraction of the cost.

    But that's just my opinion.....I could be wrong ;-)

    Stan
  12. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Going back to the OP:s question, again, it was about the price difference between a used Cruise Ship and a new Superyacht of the same size.

    Looking at the Cruise Ship in the example, I think a conversion to Superyacht finish will cost as much, perhaps even more, as building a new Superyacht from scratch.

    Then of course, not all people think it is necessary to have Rolls Royce finish outside and in, this is where you can make savings.

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  13. carelm

    carelm Senior Member

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    Stan,

    I think the extension was 11 meters, bringing the new overall length to 203 feet or so. Just looking at some of the pictures, the re-fit was really nice. As you mentioned, a vessel that is already proven will likely be more reliable once all the systems are upgraded.
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The problem is that when a commercial ship is usually for sale for a low price, it has outlived it's useful life, many times it has been neglected and run as long as possible at that point with minimal maintanence in the end because the company or owner knows that they are soon going to scrap it or sell it off. Sometimes they're even sold because they will no longer pass inspection and it's cheaper to sell it off than it is to bring it back to ship shape condition. So I'd say 9 out of 10 of these commercial ships would not make a financially viable yacht conversion, because just the expense of rebuilding systems, replacing hull plating, etc etc are unfeasible or not worth the return. Yeah, I think that if an owner finds the 1 out of 10, and has the proper yard convert it, the proper engineer overseeing and designing it, the proper structural or naval arcitecht to layout the new interior spaces then it can be very nice. But if any of those people aren't right in that equation, you'll end up with a mess, versus just having Feadship or Lurssen build a purpose built megayacht to your needs.
  15. axavierhansz

    axavierhansz New Member

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    Hi all
    Thanks for replies.
    This is what I got out of the discussions so far
    Commercial ships sold for low prices are generally rubbish. It will be difficult to find one that hasn't been neglected, although a small number of great deals do exist.
    If, somehow, one was found, then a conversion to a luxury yacht is in fact feasible
    The cost of such a conversion is likely to rival the cost of a new luxury yacht from scratch. However it is possible to not furnish the interior quite so lavishly, and reduce cost.
    A successful conversion of a good-condition commercial ship will likely superior to a yacht of the same size and price because the commercial ship was built with heavy duty and long-term abuse in mind.
    Past conversion projects have proven to be highly satisfactory.

    Anything missing? incorrect? anything anyone else want to add?

    One more question: Is the price of a mega yacht put into mostly gadgets, mostly furnishings, mostly profit margin, or mostly structural?
    Thank you very much everyone
  16. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Mostly into fit and finish ten times higher than a cruise ship.
  17. carelm

    carelm Senior Member

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    Lars,

    Suppose the fit and finish were de-contented somewhat to be five or so times higher than a cruise ship? How would that affect prices? However, I'm not sure megayacht owners are very price-concious.
  18. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    Let see... next yacht... choice.. Hummm????

    On the one hand buy old rust bucket tramp steamer... and fix it up better than new...
    One the other hand buy new custom made jewel of a yacht...

    On the one hand $200,000... on the other $20,000,000.00

    On both hands wait 2-4 years...

    On the one hand it totals out at $20,200,000... on the other $26,000,000

    One the one hand have friends and everyone in the marina comment, after a pause , "how quaint... "
    On the other hand have the comments, after a pause, "spectacular..."

    On the one hand the wife comments... "Quelle est la profondeur de l'étang ... ça sent comme le bœuf et le fromage!"

    On the other she comments..."Quelle est la profondeur de l'étang ... a le prêtre bénit... ?"

    On the one hand you fall asleep by the dull thud of an antique diesel...
    One the other you notice your Rolex makes noise.

    On the one hand your crew has tattoos on their forearms...
    On the other above their butts...

    On the one hand you have something for life uniquely yours...
    On the other after a few years you build something even more impressive and sell the other... before it gets a shabby shame...
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  19. sunchaserv

    sunchaserv Member

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    Resale on a yacht built by an established well reagarded yard would be expected to be much better than a conversion. Most affluent owners do understand DCCF analysis includes residual value.
  20. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    Interesting conversation, so let's try to put a finer point on actual costs for a conversion vs new build.

    Surely, if money is no object and of no concern, build new but with a quality shipyard to retain maximum return on the investment. Saving money with poor quality is of no savings at all. The cost of an asset is based on for what you can sell it relative to the original cost.

    To the yacht conversion arithmetic, my experience of doing a dozen of these over the past several years is that you can find quality steel hulls with excellent commercial machinery and systems with a 60 - 70% success rate. You must not just measure hull plate thickness versus original, but be sure to inspect interior frames, girders and longitudinals. If they have been coated and maintained properly, a half inch steel hull that is 20 years old is every bit as strong as a half inch steel hull built in Poland (or anywhere else) yesterday.

    Keep in mind that commercial ships are designed and built to operate on the high seas 24/7/365. In the world of yachting where 2000 hours is a big year that accounts for 3 trans-Atlantics on the milk run, the commercial equipment is hardly tested. The commercial endeavors that originally support vessel operations often change in the world of maritime commerce, so just because a ship is not longer viable for her designed business application does not mean that she is not still a worthy and useful vessel for other purposes.

    You can see on the internet how little commercial vessels can cost. You then add rebuilds of main engines that are seldom more than $500k each (my experience, to Class), some hull plate repairs, plus upgrades and repair of existing systems, etc., are not so expensive either. If you buy a ship with good bones (which they normally are in commercial enterprises), the repair and update of them is neither difficult nor inordinately expensive.

    So, where are the cost savings versus a proper yacht? It is hidden in all the places that you do not normally touch or see. The extreme dollars hide in the shiny white, Awlgrip painted plumbing, piping, bilges and engine rooms. Add on the polished stainless over the exhaust insulation, chrome kits on engines, etc., etc. and the dollars grow exponentially while making every detail of the ship's innards try to resemble the owner's bath. Wonderful to experience, expensive to deliver.

    The bottom line is that you can have a very safe, efficient, seaworthy ship that has technical spaces which look like someone actually works there and not a new car showroom, while still enjoying luxury accommodations and interior finishes that are every bit as comfortable, modern and wonderful as any Feadship or Oceanco. If your boatswains locker does not need to look like the boot of a Rolls Royce, a conversion could be in your future.

    Exterior paint is expensive, yes, but a fine paint job with excellent fairing can be executed on a commercial ship to yacht quality for, say, $5 million for 100 meters of ship, while a 100 meter new build yacht will cost $2 million per meter to build. There is a lot of room to save money without sacrificing comfort, spaciousness or too much style. Style is the hard part capture and likely where compromise is required. If you think the Hummer is sleek, you could be a conversion customer!

    My rule of thumb estimate is that you can save half the money and half the time converting a commercial hull versus building the same size yacht new from scratch. It may not have the sleek lines and latest EPA rated engines, but for 2000 hours underway per year, what is the relative carbon footprint compared to flying your jet to meet her?

    The track record for the resale of conversions has basically returned the owners their original investment and the follow-on owners have made their own improvements and recouped some of those investments as well upon resale. A quality ship of even 20 years of age can only decline so much, and it is certainly not "fiscal cliff" of new build depreciation.

    A 60 meter yacht conversion with yacht quality interiors, marble, granite, steam room, gym, etc, with a faired, Awlgrip paint job can be delivered in IACS Class for around $15 million, but don't expect to put on your make-up in the engine room reflections... ;-)

    The above is offered based on crawling the bilges of many rust buckets and too many tired scows over the past 20 years and none of it is written in stone, only my personal perspectives.

    Going to sea is an all encompassing joy, as long as you have "a tall ship and a star to steer her by." Try not to let money keep you away and try to keep in mind that bigger is not better. 100 meters is NOT yachting, it is shipping.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my countrymen, and joyous, healthful celebration of the season to all.

    Stan