This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
Cruise ship overhauls and revitalisations are becoming an increasingly large business for the world’s shipyards. As a growing number of cruise lines move to update older ships and incorporate newer amenities into their existing vessels to meet changing guest demand, the Navantia Shiprepairs facility in Cadiz, Spain has emerged as one of the leaders in this specialised segment.
Navantia entered into the cruise ship repair and refurbishment market at the perfect time, just as operators were deploying more ships in Europe on a year-round basis. The shipyard completed its first major revitalisation project onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Splendour of the Seas, which included now routine work such as fitting a ducktail weighing more than 300 tons.
The Royal Caribbean refit, and the shipyard’s close proximity to major shipping routes, helped Navantia to quickly build its reputation in the business. Since 2011, the shipyard has developed long-term relationships with some of the world’s biggest cruise lines and successfully completed more than 47 cruise ship renovations. Royal Caribbean has been one of its key customers, entrusting Navantia with several major projects, including the 2015 dry dock of Allure of the Seas, which was the world’s largest cruise ship at the time.
On numerous occasions, the shipyard has also been able to accommodate multiple, simultaneous revitalisation projects, thanks to its two graving docks and one floating dry dock. The yard also has 3,000 metres of dock space and large storage areas that can hold materials before, and during, projects.
By the end of 2018, Navantia had completed several significant upgrades that demonstrate its skills and expertise in renovating older vessels to ensure they meet modern standards and remain innovative for guests. In mid-April, Navantia’s team carried out an intensive four-week project to convert TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 1 into the new Marella Explorer for its UK-based sister brand Marella Cruises. This was followed by a US$120 million makeover on Royal Caribbean International’s Mariner of the Seas in May. Similar projects followed in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Planning is critical to the success of the projects and the team often starts as much as two years in advance – Navantia currently has reservations for cruise ship refits booked until 2021. A typical revitalisation will last between two and five weeks and will encompass a broad range of projects, from installing ducktails and new cabin blocks, to overhauling pod propulsion units, fitting exhaust gas cleaning systems, renewing steel and piping, and carrying out surveys and certification work. In addition to completing the technical aspects of the refurbishments, Navantia manages the workflow, coordinating with various subcontractors to maximise operational efficiencies and maintain a safe work environment.
To strengthen its position as the world’s second busiest cruise ship repair yard and maintain its traditional commercial vessel repair activities, Navantia aims to add to its existing infrastructure, improve logistics and enhance the project management side of its operations. Now that it has the specialised skills and experience to perform successful cruise ship revitalisations, Navantia Cadiz has a strong outlook for the future.
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