In the first major transfer to the Cyprus ship registry in recent years, Royal Caribbean re-registered its new ‘Spectrum of the Seas’ under the Cypriot flag, coinciding with the cruise giant’s plans to open a Limassol office for its eastern Mediterranean operations.
The office will open in the first half of the year.
The Miami-based Royal Caribbean Group said the decision followed the company’s first commercial sailing from the port of Limassol in July 2021.
“This was made possible by a unique and special relationship that was fostered between Royal Caribbean Group, the Cypriot government and authorities over several years to build a credible long-term cruise business for Cyprus,” it said Monday.
Deputy Shipping Minister Vassilios Demetriades hailed the decision as a vote of confidence in the island’s maritime sector and the Cyprus shipping register.
“The trust the company has shown in the Cyprus flag creates conditions for further strengthening of this cooperation, which will bring significant benefits both for Cypriot shipping and generally in the consolidation of Cyprus as a quality cruising centre.
“This further strengthens our tourism product, contributing substantially to the local economy,” he said.
The 18-deck cruise ship was built in Germany and delivered in April 2019, flying the Bahamas flag.
After a brief itinerary from Shanghai to ports in East Asia, the Spectrum of the Seas cancelled cruises following the coronavirus outbreak that impacted the industry.
It resumed full operations in 2022, calling on 154 ports, with a capacity of 4,200 to 4,900 passengers.
Royal Caribbean said the Limassol office “will support ship operations as the company looks to develop its Eastern Mediterranean business.”
“Cyprus continues to rank as one of the top shipping registries globally and has a well-established shipping and ship management centre,” said Ruth Marshall, Vice President, International General Counsel and Managing Director of Royal Caribbean Group.
“The government of Cyprus has provided invaluable assistance to us, and we are excited to grow our Mediterranean business from Cyprus,” she added.
Deputy Minister Demetriades welcomed Royal Caribbean to the “big Cyprus shipping family.”
“The benefits to tourism and our wider economy are clear, and we look forward to introducing Royal Caribbean Group passengers to the warmth and hospitality Cyprus offers.
“We will continue to contribute to positive change for global shipping and to support the company and its seafarers in this new chapter of its operations – as we do for all shipping companies that place their trust in Cyprus.
“During the pandemic, Cyprus facilitated the repatriation and crew changes of more than 65,000 sailors, while the national vaccination program benefited 40,000 sailors.
“The above, together with the services and incentives we offer as part of the ‘SEA Change 2030’ strategy, placed Cyprus firmly on the global cruise map”.
In December, the world’s fourth largest oil tanker company, Frontline, based in Bermuda and controlled by John Fredriksen, a naturalised Cypriot citizen, decided to register its fleet under the Cypriot flag.
Meanwhile, in 2019, two of P&O Ferries’ six vessels registered under the Cyprus flag as the British cross-Channel operator activated its Brexit plans to mitigate the impact of a disorderly departure from the EU.
Later the same year, Greek ship owner and operator Angelakos (Hellas) SA said it registered all eight newbuild cargo vessels under the Cyprus flag following their delivery from shipyards in China.