“Important signal”: Meyer Werft books new cruise order

Events are coming thick and fast at the financially troubled Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg these days. The latest news: a new order for a cruise ship.

Meyer Werft calls it “an important signal for Papenburg as a shipbuilding location”: the Japanese Oriental Land Company (OLC) has placed an order for the construction of a Wish-class cruise ship for the Japanese market.

Bernard Meyer signed the contract to build the ship in Tokyo. Delivery to the Oriental Land Company is scheduled for 2028. The company operates the Disney theme parks in Japan under license and plans to take the first cruises on the new ship in early 2029.

“I am very pleased to have signed this important order in Tokyo today and to have won another customer from Japan. This is an important building block for the long-term future of shipbuilding in Papenburg,” says Bernard Meyer during the signing ceremony. The shipping company NYK also recently ordered a newbuilding in Papenburg from Japan.


Meyer, Bernard, Oriental Land, Yoshida
Kenji Yoshida, COO of Oriental Land Company, and Bernard Meyer sign the order in Tokyo (© Meyer Werft)


Turbulent days for Meyer Werft

These are turbulent days and weeks for Meyer Werft: Financial difficulties, job cuts, “rescue meetings” with politicians, and the start of construction of converter platforms for the offshore industry (as a subcontractor for Dragados from Spain). The company is struggling with a large liquidity gap, with a shortfall of around €2.8bn by 2026. Despite a relatively good order situation, there are difficulties in pre-financing newbuildings and servicing a bank loan. A restructuring consultant has been brought on board.

The shipyard is of great economic importance for the region in the north-west of Lower Saxony. It employs several thousand people in the company itself as well as many suppliers based in the region, whose most important customer is the shipyard. Minister of Economic Affairs Olaf Lies recently pushed for the shipbuilder’s holding company to move back to Lower Saxony from its current headquarters in Luxembourg and for a supervisory board to be installed in the company structure.

So now new business again. “With this new order, we are continuing our partnership with Disney and at the same time gaining the Oriental Land Company, also a long-standing partner of Disney, as a new customer. This shows that companies from all over the world rely on the quality of Meyer Group,” said CEO Bernd Eikens. Thomas Mazloum, President Disney Signature Experiences, emphasised the long-standing partnerships with the shipyard and the Oriental Land Company. “We are delighted to be working with both of them to bring Disney Cruise Experiences to the Japanese market,” said Mazloum.

The shipyard has already delivered the first ship in the Wish class, the Disney Wish, to Disney Cruise Line in 2022. The two sister ships “Disney Treasure” and “Disney Destiny” are already under construction in Papenburg and will be delivered in 2024 and 2025.

PIM - FY21 DCL - Wish - Phase 2 - Trade - POS Advertising (Windo
The “Disney Wish” at sea (© Meyer Werft)

About Oriental Land Company
Founded in 1960, Oriental Land Co. owns and operates the Disney theme parks in Japan under an agreement with Disney. The company opened Tokyo Disneyland in 1983 and Tokyo DisneySea, Disney’s first ocean-themed theme park, in 2001, and operates Tokyo Disney Resort, which includes hotels, a monorail and a retail, restaurant and entertainment complex. Tokyo DisneySea’s eighth themed marina, Fantasy Springs, recently opened in June 2024.

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Copyright: © Meyer Werft

Caption: The "Disney Wish" at sea (© Meyer Werft)