Maintaining momentum: cruise ship repair and refurbishment projects

A report on some of the work that has been carried out onboard vessels over the past few months

Maintaining momentum: cruise ship repair and refurbishment projects
Almaco will modify 45 cabins onboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Conquest to improve accessible cabins

By Alice Chambers |

Although the cruise industry has almost returned to full operations worldwide, the cruise ship refurbishment and repair industry was quieter than many had hoped in 2022. Some revitalisations were delayed, while other projects were slimmed down due to a lack of readily available cash to fund them. 

European yards rallied to prepare ships for the season. For example, shipbuilder Fincantieri’s yard in Trieste, Italy, has been coordinating multiple ongoing refurbishment projects at the same time. Recent renovations completed by the company took place onboard Windstar Cruises’ Star Pride, as well as P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure, with both requiring updates to their technical systems and interiors. 

Earlier this year, German shipyard Bredo Dry Docks was the location for the multimillion-dollar refit onboard expedition ship Fram, which sails for Norway-based adventure cruise operator Hurtigruten. Ship-outfitting company Aros Marine modernised public spaces such as the science centre, Explorer Lounge and gym facilities, and also updated 85 cabins and 20 suites. Aros Marine was responsible for the concept design, engineering drawings, onboard works and the manufacturing of the furniture. Work began in April 2021 and was completed in May 2022. 

Now that the number of ship refurbishment projects is slowly growing, outfitters are also experiencing an uplift in work. 

Marine interior refit firm Trimline, for example, has experienced a surge in projects over the past six months. It was contracted to refit 56 suites onboard Hapag Lloyd’s Europa, which will be in dry dock in Hamburg, Germany, in August 2022. The team will manage the project using its new TAPP system to track progress accurately and ensure complete transparency for everyone involved. Trimline will also extensively upgrade Marella Discovery’s Islands Restaurant with new flooring, catering units and furniture. Work will begin in November in Cádiz, Spain. 

Furthermore, several changes in ownership of ships have provided a much-needed source of work. Notable renovation successes include Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambition, which will debut in March 2023, and Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Islander II which previously sailed as Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Esprit. In addition, Damen Shiprepairs has transformed the former Pacific Princess into Azamara’s Azamara Onward, completing work to refurbish all cabins and suites, and add new spa suites, a terrace room, restaurants and bar in May 2022. 

Celebrity Mercury, which was first operated by Crystal Cruises in 1997, will soon become Marella Voyager with 10 new bars and restaurants. Meanwhile, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony will undergo extensive refurbishment and begin service for the newly established cruise line A&K Travel in 2023. 

Looking forward, outfitters and shipyards will continue to work collaboratively to complete the multiple  refurbishment jobs that are planned for the next six months. The upcoming refurbishment projects will cover a variety of briefs, from interior upgrades to the prioritisation of accessibility. Turnkey provider Almaco, for example, will modify 45 cabins onboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Conquest to ensure that it meets the current American disability regulations.  

“Carnival wants to fully convert 15 of its fully accessible cabins (FACs) and refurbish 30 ambulatory accessible cabins onboard the ship,” says Hanna Langstrom, vice president of marketing at Almaco. “The scope of the work for the FACs includes new wet units, cabin interiors and balcony doors, as well as modifications to the balconies and any electrical and piping works.”  

Carnival Conquest will arrive in Cádiz, Spain, on 14 September and remain in dry dock until 29 September.

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.   

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