This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Spring/Summer 2019 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
Every cruise ship operator has their own specific demands when they ask a shipyard to repair their vessels. Meanwhile, the condition of various onboard components varies substantially, as does the accessibility of work areas and transport routes, and the amount of time available to carry out projects. All these factors – and many more – have a significant impact on the planning and timing of a project, so each individual one presents both the operator and the shipyard with new challenges. However, it is possible to draw parallels between the numerous cruise ship projects and identify current and recurring trends.
The growing demand for cruises is one trend that is changing how operators approach ship refit and upgrade projects, with many adding new decks, or extending existing ones, to make space for extra cabins or public areas to accommodate more guests. When shipyards take on such complex projects, they must carry out extensive calculations and engineering services to ensure that they can integrate the new sections or structures safely and securely. Blohm+Voss was responsible for providing all the basic and detailed design and workshop drawings for a prefabricated section with 35 guest cabins that was successfully installed on one of the world’s most famous cruise liners at its yard in Hamburg, Germany.
When a ship is expanded to include additional sections and superstructures, this usually increases the overall weight of the vessel and in certain circumstances, requires shipyards to take further actions. The installation of a ducktail is a proven method to ensure the stability of a ship, even after numerous conversions and operating hours. In the past few years, these installations have been successfully implemented, including on the former Hanseatic (previously chartered to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) when she was converted into RCGS Resolute for One Ocean Expeditions in 2018. The 100-ton steel structure was designed, prefabricated and built into the vessel at Blohm+Voss, with all drawings and the final result gaining approval from an independent classification society.
Passenger expectations are another trend that is always reflected in the types of renovations operators want to make to their vessels. Further work to increase cruise customer satisfaction, such as interior conversions and renovations, is often part of a shipyard docking. For example, Blohm+Voss renewed the spa area of a ‘six-star’ cruise ship belonging to a German company last year, a project that also included the addition of three new saunas.
Another trend in the cruise business is that operators are increasingly trying to minimise their ecological footprint. To that end, Blohm+Voss has retrofitted multiple exhaust gas cleaning systems over the past few years. Although the number of these retrofit projects is now declining, this is largely because cruise vessels have already been extensively upgraded to meet regulations for the sulphur cap coming into force at the beginning of 2020.
Blohm+Voss – which is also skilled in performing all types of refits – is a competent partner for shipping companies who want to make these specialist upgrades to their vessels. Not only does the team have extensive experience in this area, but the yard’s new owner, Lürssen, has also made significant investments to improve the shipyard’s infrastructure since it acquired the business in October 2016.
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