Refit Report: cruise and ferry brands focus on green refurbishments

CFR reports on the work carried out in shipyards on cruise and ferry vessels so far in 2023

Refit Report: cruise and ferry brands focus on green refurbishments

Marella Cruises/TUI UK

Marella Cruises’ Marella Voyager spent 36 days in dry dock

By Laura Hyde |

Marella Voyager

Navantia Cadiz shipyard has completed a multimillion-pound refurbishment on Marella Cruises’ Marella Voyager. During a 36-day dry dock, work was carried out on the existing cabins, which were all repainted with a muted blue and taupe colour palette. In addition, two new staterooms were designed by Copenhagen-based GUBI inspired by the ports in St Lucia in the West Indies and Santorini, Greece.

During the dry dock, which took 11,460 hours, multiple contractors updated the onboard dining and entertainment spaces. SMC Design created the adult-only Exchange, a speakeasy-style bar which guests enter through a telephone box, while Greenspan Projects created its first adventure golf at sea on the top deck. The biggest refurbishment took place in the newly created The Kitchens, a food hall with eight stations, designed by long-term Marella Cruises partner London studio 20.20, which also developed the 1980s-themed Electric Rooms club and the Arts House, a gallery-inspired bar displaying artwork inspired by ports the ship visits.

“Voyager’s new experiences had to fit with those on Marella Discovery and Explorer but also push the boundaries of the Marella experience,” said Vaughan Ward, 20.20’s creative director for the project. “At their heart, the spaces we designed are inspired by TUI’s iconic master brand – creating unique experiences through narratives, touches, moments and vibrancy that help bring that famous TUI smile to Marella customers.”

Carnival Pride

Carnival Cruise Line’s 2001-built Carnival Pride arrived at Navantia’s shipyard on 28 April 2023 and spent the next month in dry dock while almost 700 people from Navantia and local contracting firms worked day and night to update the ship.

One of the largest projects undertaken by Navantia on Carnival Pride was repainting the exterior of the vessel to protect it against corrosion and unwanted organisms that might cause resistance when sailing and increase the ship’s fuel consumption. It also added Carnival Cruise Line’s signature red, white and blue lines to the hull to match the brand’s corporate identity.

In addition, Navantia and its partners overhauled the propulsion system and stabilisers, carried out structural modifications for new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant elevators, and renewed more than 450 balconies, the lido glazing and balustrades. They also renovated floors, improved the bathing area and added new bars and a two-deck barbecue area before Carnival Pride departed the shipyard on 26 May 2023.

“I’m so proud of our team; they have done amazing work refreshing and enhancing Carnival Pride just in time for her Europe sailings,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Seven Seas Explorer

Seaspan Victoria Shipyards completed its first post-pandemic cruise ship dry dock project on Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Explorer. In late May, the vessel became the first of the brand’s ships to visit Victoria Shipyards and was given a quick prep and paint touch up to its hull, as well as a stabiliser overhaul, before heading off on its summer tour of Alaska British Columbia.

Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity

Extensive refurbishments have been carried out onboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity at Fincantieri’s Arsenale Triestino San Marco shipyard in Trieste, Italy. The €150 million ($164 million) project, which started in January 2023, took about eight months to complete. The refurbishment was carried out by the luxury brand’s new owner, A&K Travel Group, which saved Crystal Cruises from liquidation in June 2022. One of the biggest tasks was to combine a number of staterooms to create more butler suites on each vessel, which has reduced overall guest capacity. Many other works have been carried out onboard both vessels, including an extensive refurbishment of the technical plants. Overall, the project took approximately 800,000 hours to complete with an average of 250 to 270 employees working per vessel per day.

“The considerable experience gained with major naval projects undertaken over recent years, and the Crystal project that we have recently completed, consolidates Fincantieri Services position as the reference point worldwide for these highly complex operations,” said Andrew Toso, senior vice president, Fincantieri Services. “We are very proud that Crystal, a prestigious new client, has chosen us for these strategic works, which require a high level of engineering competence and project management.”

Crystal Serenity returned to operations on 31 July, sailing from Marseille, France, while Crystal Symphony re-entered service on 1 September when it departed on its inaugural sailing from Athens in Greece.

Celestyal Journey

During May and June 2023, Malta’s Palumbo shipyard carried out an extensive dry dock on Celestyal Cruises’ Celestyal Journey, completing technical work, hydro blasting and hull repainting. Following this, the ship was moved to Talos shipyard in Elefsis, Greece, where upgrades were made to passenger areas.

Celestyal Cruises opted to use mainly local Greek firms for the interior outfitting works, partnering with architecture and design office of AMK and MNS, D-Group and Tselekos group. Introducing Celestyal Journey to the Celestyal Cruises fleet has cost over €20 million ($21.8 million) and involved approximately 250,000 labour hours.

Celestyal Journey resumed operations on 2 September 2023 when it took over sailing the ‘Idyllic Aegean’ itinerary from Celestyal Crystal.

Victoria of Wight

A detailed programme of essential maintenance on six of Wightlink’s vehicle and passenger ferries has been completed at A&P Shipyard. The Isle of Wight-based ferry company invested more than £6 million ($7.6 million) over seven months to maintain its fleet. While Wightlink’s six ferries were refitted at the A&P shipyard in Falmouth, its two FastCats passenger catamarans were upgraded at Trafalgar shipyard in Portchester, UK.

Some of the key tasks carried out included remodelling the café on Deck 4 of Victoria of Wight, Wightlink’s hybrid-powered flagship, and repainting areas onboard all six ferries (using up to 700 litres of paint per vessel). Wight Sun was the final vessel to return to its homeport of Lymington on 27 March 2023.

“Every ship and FastCat in our fleet has spent time in dry dock this season and they look magnificent,” said Keith Greenfield, Wightlink chief executive.

Stena Hollandica and Stena Britannica

At the beginning of 2023, EDR Shipyard at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium completed a €1 million ($1.1 million) refit on Stena Line’s two largest ferries, Stena Hollandica and Stena Britannica. It converted 15 cabins across the two vessels to offer pet-friendly travel for up to three dogs per cabin. Each North Sea vessel was also fitted with new onboard facilities including an additional duty-free shop, extending their retail floorspace by 40 per cent.

“Our annual dry docking programme is key to keeping our vessels shipshape and continue looking so good,” said Erik Thulin, trade director for the North Sea. “It also allows us to be flexible in responding to our customers’ demands.”

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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