Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

How to build a cruise ship. Visit to the Meyer-Werft shipyard!

Well that was an interesting day!

A few days ago, I had been searching for possible future overnight spots and came across one listing that said you could overnight in your motorhome and visit the cruise ship factory. That piqued my interest, so I did some more research.

The next thing you know, I'm online booking us two tickets at €12 ($17.75 CAD, $14.25 USD) per person to do the Monday 1:00pm self guided tour!

The privately owned Meyer-Werft company has been building ships at the Papenburg, Germany location since 1795! They built their first cruise ship in 1986, and building ocean going cruise ships is now their main business, along with river cruise boats and ferries. They also build some specialty ships.

We arrived at about 12:30pm and the big parking lot was pretty busy. We followed the sign directing motorhomes to the back of the lot where there were maybe 10 other motorhomes parked.

Of course the first thing you see is the huge ship AIDAcosma which was only launched on July 10th.

The new AIDAcosma cruise ship.

This big floating crane looks pretty small against the 20 story high ship.

It looks ready, but there is still three months of work to be done.

The AIDAcosma began construction in August 2019. It typically takes 18 months to build a ship this size, however they are behind schedule due to Covid. Besides the 18 months of actual physical construction, there is also at least a year of design and logistics planning that goes into it prior to construction.


It is a hive of activity.

Due to Covid, visitor tickets are sold in restricted numbers, and you have to block off your visit at set times where you are then spaced out as much as possible from other people. The visit is now all self guided, and unfortunately all media presented is entirely in German. There are several sit down videos to watch, and you are allotted two hours to complete your visit.

Part of the tour includes the model museum. Every ship they build has a very accurate scale model built as well.

Inside the model museum.

The Pont Aven ferry was built here in 2003.

The Radiance of the Seas was launched from here in June 2000.

The Livestock Express was built specifically for shipping livestock.

Look how detailed the model is!

A depiction of the miles of tubes and pipes and cables inside the ship.

The newest Disney cruise ship Wish is currently under construction indoors. Seeing the actual construction was the main thing I was interested in, but unfortunately you don't get a very good view of it. We were kind of disappointed in this part of the tour. There is only a short section of windows overlooking the building dock and you can't get a very good look at things.

Disney Wish under construction.

Scheduled to launch in May of 2022.

Everything is modular. Once the hull is built, everything else is built in sections and loaded on the hull. Like a giant lego! All of the cabins are prefab and are built offsite including plumbing and furnishings prior to being loaded onto the ship. The walls of the cabins are magnetized and simply attach to each other. 

The inside of a cruise ship before the paint and decorations go on.

They had a couple of the modular cabins on display.

A couple of welders working on another section.

Me, with a propeller display.

Building more modular sections of the ship.

When each section is complete, it will be lifted in place by huge cranes.

Interesting stuff. We took about an hour and a half to do the tour. Overall, I found it more enjoyable than Ruth did, but she still liked learning about it.

We decided to stay parked overnight, along with four other motorhomes. After supper we went for a walk.

We finally got far enough away to be able to fit the whole ship into one shot.

Finishing work on the top level water park.

In three months it will be finished.

The AIDAcosma.
It's pretty impressive!

Sometime in late October, it will be guided by tugboats about 50 kms (30 miles) up the narrow Ems River to be freed into the North Sea for sea trials. It's first scheduled paying customer voyage will be a repositioning cruise on December 22nd from Hamburg to Canary Islands.

The Meyer-Werft shipyard.

AIDAcosma statistics...

Owner: Carnival Corporation

Cost: €790 million ($1.18 billion CAD, $940 million USD)

Fuel: Liquified Natural Gas

Cruising speed: 33 knots ( 61 km/h, 38 mph)

Passengers: 5,400

Cabins: 2,600

Crew: 1,500

Length: 337 m / 1106 ft

The older buildings were incorporated into the newer.

Today, we are headed south!

We received word that our friends Dave and Bonnie have arrived in Frankfurt and are making their way to their motorhome Romy who is waiting for them at the same dealer where we picked up Max. We plan to meet up with them at some point over the next few days!

Corded Stick Vac. Take 71% off at checkout using coupon code BUXXXHNE

And in Canada...


  1. OMG 18 months for a build!? It puts in perspective Canada's shipbuilding.

    1. Oh I wonder how much the repositioning cruise to the Canaries is? Very INteresting-- especially the magnetized walls.

    2. I am sure you could find out the price using the internet.

      We found the whole making of the ship interesting and how it is done in sections. Any yep, the staterooms were neat on how they are made off site and then brought to the ship and put together using the magnetic walls, totally amazing!

  2. Wow!Fascinating, I would love to go round the shipyard & will definitely add that stop when we get around to visiting Germany. I would probably struggle to fit everything into 2 hrs! I am going on P&O Iona in January, the same size & style to Aida Cosma, I will keep looking through the paint & finish to imagine what it was like when being built! Thanks for the post, I will be interested to see how your night went as Park4Night reviews say it gets a lot of loud cars until late...

    1. It was definitely an interesting experience but we were disappointed to not have been able to see more of the actual ship building part of the tour. You really only get to see a small part of it, you certainly don't get access to the full shipyard itself. It also might have made a difference if they had something big happening in the facility at the time, where they were having to use the big crane and maybe be moving one of the big sections into place but unfortunately that wasn't the case for us.

      The P&O Iona was built at this facility and will be taking her first paid customers in just a couple of days from Southampton. I remember seeing a model of her in the model room of the museum as part of the tour. I am sure you are going to love your trip.

      We actually had a good night's sleep. Yes, there were the young people with their cars making some noise but by the time we went to bed around 11pm they left shortly after that. I am not sure that we would want to stay there on a weekend night though, we think it would be worse then.

  3. Have you ever considered taking a cruise? It makes me anxious just reading this post, it's the last thing I would consider doing (even pre-covid). I am NOT a boat person! Safe travels. J

    1. I agree even though I am a boat person . Floating apartments with casinos . Not my cup of tea !

    2. I have taken a cruise before but it was only a four day "party" cruise from Tampa, Florida, stopping at Key West and Cozumel, Mexico and then back to Tampa for work. It was probably not a good example of a cruise but it certainly turned me off cruise. I had a pile of fun with my fellow workers but the cruise itself didn't impress me, so much so that I wouldn't go out of my way to go on another one. Kevin on the other hand has never been on one but would like to go on one just to see what the fuss is all about. I know that he wouldn't enjoy the stopping at the different ports and only having so much time to see the area/city, it would be like a big tease to him. And, if we ever did do a proper cruise, I think we would look at going on a smaller ship with less people. I would definitely consider doing one that goes to Antarctica though!

      BJ, I agree with you, definitely not my cup of tea either!

    3. In 1999 we took a 7 day small ship cruise out of Juneau, AK and loved it. The ship had a max of 71 passengers, as I remember. We took the cruise the last week of May and only had about 23 passengers. About the same number of crew members as passengers. We went up into Glacier Bay and then down into a Fiord. We got to kayak around some small icebergs and did some hiking in the rain forests. We have never been on one of the big "party" ships, and don't plan on going. With the small ship the fun is the wildlife and scenery, not the entertainment on the ship. I forget how much we paid, but it wasn't cheap, but not overly expensive.

    4. Now, that is the type of cruise I think both Kevin and I would enjoy. Actually the one cruise we would really like to do is the one that leaves South America and goes into the Antarctica, and doing it on a small ship would be the most enjoyable way, similar to the one that you did in Alaska. It certainly sounds like you really enjoyed your cruise.

  4. I would love to go on a tour of a cruise ship to see how they function, especially the kitchens.

    1. Yep, that would be interesting but on this tour you don't get to see stuff like that!

    2. Here is an interesting article I remember reading a few years ago:

    3. It is hard to even imagine how much food all that is and what goes into preparing the food on a cruise ship. Also the amount of food the majority of people eat on a cruise ship! That was definitely an interesting article, thanks for posting it Elaine.

  5. I took a Carnival Cruise for high school graduation back in 1986 and it was great, but the room was tiny. Now, I would be too claustrophobic to go. I've seen too many reports of ships being stuck at sea or wild seas flooding the decks. I'm a chicken, I'll admit it.

    1. I think that tiny rooms on a cruise ship are a thing of the past. I can't say that with certainty but judging by some of the models, which I know of course are some of the more expensive rooms/suites but with the huge new ships and knowing that people never liked the tiny rooms, I think that they are probably a little bigger now. Plus, you really don't have to spend much time in your room when you have a huge ship that you can wander all over and that has seats all over the ship.

      Lol, I have to admit that part of cruising definitely wouldn't be something that I would want to experience either. We know quite a few people though that jut love going on cruise. We are quite happy to just cruising around in Max. :-)

  6. Replies
    1. Lol, at least it is all private money and not public money funding it!

  7. Talk about job for life at that company.

    1. Kevin read where the average employee works there for 16 years. I bet the company treats it's employees well.


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