Published on 05 Aug 2021
BSM Cruise Services has formed a joint venture with the Hurtigruten Group for the provision of technical and crewing related services to their expedition fleet.
Together with Rescompany, BSM Cruise Services now can offer a one source ship management software covering both, full technical and hotel management.
After more than a year’s standstill due to COVID-19, the cruise industry is gradually reopening. However, the current pandemic and changing demands call for new ways to conduct cruises in the future. Service providers in the industry must adapt to strengthen their competitiveness and to ensure continuous sustainable growth. Ship managers and their unique expertise will play a crucial role, dealing with the operational aspects of running ships for owners as they diversify their product range. Over the last year, BSM has been growing its footprint at this juncture aiming to offer innovative solutions and an enhanced customer experience as cruise liner operators bounce back from the global pandemic impact.
Ushering in expedition cruises with Hurtigruten
With the return to service of many cruise ships, some companies like Hurtigruten are already looking ahead and gearing up to increase capabilities and address trends through strategic partnerships. Aiming to capitalize on the anticipated demand in expedition cruises in the post-COVID-19 era, the world’s leading adventure travel group decided to team up with BSM Cruise Services as an experienced maritime partner with technical management expertise to help them continuously grow in this cruise segment.
In BSM Cruise Services, Hurtigruten has found a strong partner deeply rooted in the maritime industry, with a far-reaching global network, proven processes, and systems as well as technical expertise. Together, the two companies established in February the Hurtigruten Technical Services to act as the dedicated technical operations organisation managing Hurtigruten’s fleet of expedition cruise ships.
Headquartered in Hamburg and with offices in Manila and Mumbai, Hurtigruten Technical Services now has six ships under management. The joint venture is led by Frank Oertel as Managing Director of Hurtigruten Technical Services. He is also the Director of Operations for BSM Cruise Services.
Going from strength to strength with Resco
The Schulte Group recently acquired hospitality software solutions firm Rescompany. As a developer of ship-to-shore hospitality software solutions and web applications, Rescompany (Resco) has built unique competences that highly complement the Group’s digital strengths. While Resco will continue to go to the market as a distinct brand, the software company and BSM Cruise Services, the dedicated cruise services arm of BSM, will leverage synergies and combine resources under the Schulte Group umbrella to fulfil the digital needs of the cruise industry.
Cruise operators are on the lookout for fully integrated web-based solutions to reduce complexities and allow seamless data exchange and communication among crew members at sea and on shore, as well as with external partners. By interfacing Resco with smartPAL, MariApps Marine Solution’s maritime software suite, the Schulte Group will be able to offer an unrivalled product to the industry and allow the customers of BSM Cruise Services to achieve greater efficiency and accuracy when it comes to daily operations.
Learn more about BSM Cruise Services
In 2019, the international cruise shipping industry infused USD 154.5 billion in worldwide economic activity and generated 1.2 million jobs according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). But the landscape changed entirely in 2020 because of the global health crisis. As nations went into lockdowns, cruise operations had to be suspended and the industry incurred heavy financial losses. Worse, COVID-19 put cruise ships in a bad light due to high-profile cases of deadly outbreaks on board and the logistical challenges in repatriating passengers and crews at the onset of the pandemic. Fast forward to 2021 and cruise ships are getting ready to sail anew.
Time to ask Martin Springer, Managing Director of BSM Cruise Services, for an outlook:
When will the cruise ships finally sail again?
We already see more and more vessels being put back into service, including one of Phoenix Reisen, a Germany-based cruise ship operator under full technical management of BSM Cruise Services. The vessel left for its first voyage since the breakout of the pandemic on 10th of July, taking all safety and wellbeing measures for the crew members, passengers, and the communities it will visit into consideration. We are very delighted to see that Phoenix Reisen´s ships are sailing again. Due to their very supportive management and ownership structure, we jointly have been able to use the layup period to continuously improve the ships. It is a proud moment to see them sail again.
What preparations are cruise operators taking and how is BSM Cruise Services as ship manager supporting its customers?
Until herd immunity is reached via vaccinations, preparations herald a new kind of cruise travel – involving wearing of masks, physical distancing, and vaccinations. It also requires substantial investments for the upgrade and maintenance work on the vessels to adhere to health-related requirements, including thermal scanner installations, UV lights in elevators and air conditioning system improvements. Credentials are important to validate these efforts, that’s why BSM Cruise Services is proud to have received the SafeGuard Certification from Bureau Veritas to prove it adheres to stringent protocols that minimise the spread of coronavirus aboard passenger vessels.
When do you expect things will have fully returned to normal?
With more cruise ships returning to service, there is already a tremendous interest from those wanting to go on a cruise holiday. While the number of reservations this year is modest, the 2022 bookings are ‘crazy’ and reflect the pent-up desire to return to cruising. Still, the strong demand does not guarantee immediate full recovery for the industry, just yet. It may be restarting but the journey will be long before it can bounce back to its former glory. BSM Cruise Services and its team of highly skilled individuals passionate about cruise will be with its clients in this recovery journey every step of the way. Our aim is not just to be a part of the cruise industry but to actively shape and influence it.
Do you believe the cruise industry has lost attractiveness to investors after the pandemic?
At BSM Cruise Services, we have no doubt the industry will be able to fully bounce back given its resilience. We have proven our commitment through continuous investments into our service offering. Recently, BSM Cruise Services was able to secure another exciting customer with Ambassador Cruise Lines out of the UK. Being backed by institutional investors and a very experienced executive management team, this newly formed cruise line shows that also the financial world believes in the recovery of the market.