Refit Report: freshening up the fleet

CFR highlights some of the refurbishment projects carried out in shipyards round the globe as cruise lines invest in interior refits and technical upgrades 

Refit Report: freshening up the fleet


Queen Mary 2 underwent an operational refit at the end of 2023

By Laura Hyde |

With passenger numbers for many cruise lines returning to pre-pandemic levels, brands are investing in interior refurbishments and technical upgrades as they seek to bring existing cruise ships closer to newbuild standards. 

Queen Mary 2 

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 was drydocked at the Botlek facilities of Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam in the Netherlands between 23 October and 12 November 2023 for an operational refit. The shipyard and other contractors carried out technical maintenance, refitted interior carpets and refurbished staterooms onboard Cunard’s flagship.  

Norwegian Joy 

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Joy spent 19 days in dry dock at Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam in the Netherlands between 22 January and 12 February 2024. The Breakaway Plus-class vessel now boasts 24 balcony staterooms on Deck 15, after a portion of the Observation Lounge was repurposed. Premier Owners Suites in the Haven have been expanded and 40 of the staterooms have been recategorised as Spa Balcony accommodation after direct access to the redesigned Mandara Spa and Salon with Thermal Suite was created. The new Thermal Suite has replaced the ship’s former Galaxy Pavilion/virtual reality gaming complex. Meanwhile, the former laser tag arena on Deck 20 has been converted into a new Vibe Beach Club.  

Costa Diadema 

Costa Cruises’ Costa Diadema spent 13 days in dry dock at Chantier Naval de Marseille in France undergoing general maintenance works in November 2023. As well as carrying out technical overhauls and maintenance work on the circuit breakers, the shipyard and other teams renovated all the vessel’s public areas and passenger staterooms. The mosaic titles in ship’s 11 swimming pools were replaced as part of the refit project too. 

Windstar Cruises 

Small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has embarked on a multimillion-dollar, multi-year initiative to redesign and refurbish its Wind-class yachts, Wind Star, Wind Surf and Wind Spirit. 

Cruise Ship Refurbishments

Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises multimillion-dollar, multi-year initiative will see all its Wind-class yachts refurbished

Wind Star was the first ship to be renovated, spending 26 days at Navantia Shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, from 7 November until 2 December 2023. The vessel’s lobby has been opened up to create a more expansive reception area with additional seating and a larger retail space. The layout of the ship’s lounge has been redesigned and fitted with new furniture, lighting and finishes to achieve a living room-style ambience.  

Both the gym and The World Spa by Windstar have also been redecorated with updated finishes and feature new Technogym equipment. The ship also has a new pool, jacuzzi and an extended pool bar. This area also features updated furniture, including sofas, ottomans and chairs. 

The Owner’s Suite has been redesigned and all staterooms now offer access to on-demand movies and shows, as well as additional access points for better connectivity to Starlink internet. The second phase of the ship’s renovation, which includes refurbishing the remaining staterooms and Amphora and Veranda dining venues, is scheduled for 2026. 

The renovation project for Wind Surf is scheduled to begin in September 2024 and finish by July 2025. Wind Spirit’s renovation project will be completed in two phases, in 2024 and 2026. 

“This Wind-class refresh is all about providing guests with updated spaces that inspire relaxation, foster connection, and ‘offer the multifunctionality that an intimate-sized sailing yacht needs,” says Stijn Creupelandt, vice president of operations at Windstar Cruises. “Spending time on our yachts is all about moments of connection, whether that be guest to guest or guest to crew and we want to make sure our spaces reflect that desire.” 

Carnival Freedom 

The first Carnival vessel to be revitalised was Carnival Freedom, which spent 16 days undergoing an extensive refurbishment in dry dock at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, in October 2023. Work included painting the ship with Carnival’s signature red, white and blue hull livery and installing a new winged funnel. The latter was a first for Navantia’s team members who fabricated the funnel in-house in just 15 days. 

Cruise Ship Refurbishments

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line completed refurbishment projects on three of its vessels from late 2023 to early 2024

Carnival appointed Gerolamo Scorza, part of the group Genova Industrie Navali, to fit new floors, wall coverings and furnishing elements in the spa, beauty salon and boutique, and restore floors and furnishings in Club O2. In the ship’s Camp Ocean area, Gerolamo Scorza also installed backlit walls combining colours and textures to give passengers the impression of being surrounded by sea fauna. The firm also ensured the ship was compliant with requirements set out in the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Carnival Paradise 

Carnival’s second refurbishment project took place onboard Carnival Paradise. The vessel spent 16 days in dry dock at Grand Bahama shipyard in Freeport, The Bahamas, where renovations were made to the 25-year-old ship’s casino and public areas, as well as the adults-only Serenity Retreat and Piano bar. 

Carnival Vista 

Carnival Vista spent 30 days in dry dock in Navantia Cadiz in early 2024, returning to service on 9 February. As well as being given Carnival’s signature red, white and blue hull livery, the ship was fitted with the Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge, an expanded casino with a non-smoking annex, new retail stores, a club for teenagers, and an arcade. Finnish ship design and engineering firm Foreship assisted with the on-site supervision of hotel area conversion work, including Americans with Disabilities Act compliance projects. 

Mein Schiff 5 

The TUI Cruises ship spent 10 days at Dubai Dry Docks from late November to early December 2023. The team carried out general maintenance, refurbished the public areas and fitted new carpets in the ship’s staterooms. 

Cruise Ship Refurbishments


Mein Schiff 5’s Aussenalster Bar & Grill was completed by a team of 19 from marine outfitter Trimline

Marine interior outfitter Trimline redesigned the ship’s Aussenalster Bar & Grill to include a weather resistant, solid timber geometrically patterned facade. A team of 19 added new bar stools, windbreaks, graphics and signage, tiled both front- and back-of-house areas, and modified waiter stations and back bars. 

A Protones team, led by Malte Much, refitted the ship’s entertainment technics, installing new outdoor lights on the pool deck and new audio equipment in the bar areas. 

In addition, shore power capability was also installed after successful upgrades on TUI’s ships Mein Schiff 1, Mein Schiff 4, and Mein Schiff 6.  

Viking Cinderella 

Viking Line’s Viking Cinderella underwent a €9 million ($9.8 million) refurbishment at the Turku Repair Yard in Naantali, Finland, in January 2024. During the two-week dry dock, more than 2,000 litres of paint were used to repaint the sides of the vessel in Viking Line’s traditional colour, a bold red tone inspired by the Mexican Fire lipstick used by the sister of one of the company’s founders. Some 30 professionals worked day and night on repainting the 191-metre vessel. 

Viking Cinderella interiors were also extensively revitalised, with many public spaces being refreshed and nearly 300 cabins being updated to offer a more comfortable, fresh Scandinavian look. Additionally, the spa facilities have been completely refurbished in line with Viking Line’s Archipelago Spa concept. Numerous technical upgrades were made to the 35-year-old vessel, which mean the vessel’s carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 2,500 tonnes per year, according to the operator.  

Celestyal Discovery 

Celestyal Cruises’ Celestyal Discovery underwent a multimillion-euro winter refurbishment alongside Celestyal Journey in Athens, Greece. The ship now includes many signature features of the Celestyal fleet, including an amphitheatre, lounges, the speciality restaurant Grillseekers, a Sozo wellness retreat, a pool deck, and a Greek deli and a Fig and Honey gelato and juice bar.  

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of  Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe  for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.  

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