A tough new challenge for The Deluxe Group

Karen Argue and David Jenner explain to Rebecca Gibson how The Deluxe Group’s agile approach helped it to overcome several obstacles during a renovation on Marella Discovery

A tough new challenge for The Deluxe Group
A new adjustable LED lighting system illuminates the pool area in The Glass House

Boasting a contemporary beach club vibe, The Glass House indoor pool and dining venue is set to wow guests when Marella Cruises’ Marella Discovery resumes sailing later this year. Previously decorated in a Greco-Roman style, the space was fully renovated by turnkey contractor Deluxe in early 2021.  

“The custom-made shutters dividing the space into private niches, the cabana-style sunbeds and the specialist hardwood decking combine together to create a space that epitomises exclusivity and relaxed luxury,” says Karen Argue, business development manager at The Deluxe Group. “Guests are sure to love it.” 

Deluxe collaborated with Marella Cruises’ product development, hotel refurbishment, and technical operations teams to select the colour palettes, style and the specifications of the materials for everything from pool tiles to furniture and wall coverings.  

“We chose materials that can withstand moisture and humidity from the indoor pool, as well as the demanding conditions of a marine environment,” says Argue. “We also ensured the new catering, waste management and recycling areas were compliant with US Public Health regulations in case Marella Discovery ever sails US itineraries.”  

In line with TUI Group’s Step Lightly strategy, Deluxe focused on using sustainable materials where possible. “We used honeycomb aluminium to reduce the depletion of valuable natural resources,” explains Argue. “Plus, we collaborated with specialist lighting designers to install a prototype LED lighting system that will save energy and can be altered throughout the day to create different ambiences. The system can be further developed for integration across the Marella Cruises fleet.”  

The Glass House refurbishment is one of the most challenging Deluxe has ever completed, primarily because the whole project had to be planned and executed in accordance with new Covid-19 restrictions.  

“We were operating using a completely new set of rules,” explains David Jenner, head of marine at Deluxe. “We introduced stringent procedures at our headquarters and worked with Marella Cruises to safeguard our team and the ship’s crew.”  

Prior to beginning work, Deluxe needed to complete an in-depth technical survey of The Glass House, but access to the ship was limited to protect crew. “To combat this, we scanned the space to capture accurate, photorealistic 3D images and measurements, then created a digital twin of The Glass House,” says Jenner. “This allowed us to plan the project remotely and prefabricate bespoke fixed items in our factory before installing them onboard.”  

Unusually for a renovation project of this size, work was carried out while Marella Discovery was anchored off the south coast of the UK, rather than in dry dock.  

“The only way we could get supplies onboard was for the crew to either sail the ship into nearby Portland Port for a short period of time or bring goods onboard by tender,” says Jenner. “We had to be very flexible and sometimes had to adapt plans due to high winds and safety concerns. We also developed robust contingency plans and vetted our supply chain to source backup options to ensure we could provide a consistent service and meet deadlines.” 

Working on the water also hindered practical tasks, such as installing new flooring. “We coordinated with the captain to adjust the ballast and list the ship a few degrees to counteract the force of the sea, which allowed us to apply screed and ensure the subfloor was completely level,” says Jenner.  

“On top of this, our team had to wear masks, physically distance, follow designated access routes and undergo twice-daily temperature checks, regular Covid-19 tests and team tracking. Despite the challenging conditions, everyone had a positive and optimistic attitude, which contributed to the project’s success.” 

Marella Cruises was impressed with Deluxe’s adaptability, skills and expertise. 

“The team members go above and beyond, often thinking outside the box, to deliver projects on time and on budget,” says Andrew Menzies, head of technical operations at Marella Cruises. “They have proven to be unflappable during our latest project, which has been completed with the vessel out of service, at anchor and under the most stringent conditions due to the pandemic. Deluxe adapted to all these challenges to ensure that it delivered a successful project for us.” 

This article was first published in the 2021 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
01 July 2021

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