This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2019 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
First introduced in 1941 by the British government during World War II, the ‘make do and mend’ initiative encouraged British citizens to do whatever they could to extend the life of their clothes. Now, 78 years later, one British firm is successfully showing the cruise world why the same approach works well for damaged items on passenger ships too.
The most obvious advantages of ‘make do and mend’ for cruise ships are the significant cost and time savings, says Mark Henderson, CEO of repair and restoration services provider Magicman.
“Replacing items can be tricky – it can take a long time to source them and sometimes they can only be manufactured in bulk, or they have gone out of production and need to be remanufactured specially,” he explains. “This incurs high costs and could mean that there is a long delay in between the item being damaged and replaced. In addition, when tradesmen remove old items to install the new ones, they can unintentionally cause ancillary damage to the surrounding area, further increasing costs. It’s much quicker and less expensive to have skilled technicians from a company like Magicman repair and restore surfaces or pieces of furniture because we can work on many different items per day.”
Magicman’s ability to board ships at short notice and complete tasks quickly means restoration is also less intrusive for guests and crew. “Sometimes cruise lines have to close off certain parts of the ship to guests while fit-out projects to install new fixtures or surfaces is being carried out, or they may even have to take the vessel out of service,” says Henderson. “The former limits the guests’ overall cruise experience, while the latter has significant implications in terms of itinerary planning and potential lost revenue. However, we can work onboard ships while they’re in service and, because we make minimal noise, we can complete most of our tasks at night without disturbing guests or crew.”
Repairing and restoring, rather than ripping out and replacing, damaged surfaces, furniture, fixtures and fittings also has environmental benefits.
“Most items involve a long manufacturing and distribution process – the initial composite materials are produced in one place and then transported to the manufacturer to be made into the final product, which is shipped to a distributor before it finally reaches the cruise vessel,” says Henderson. “Each of these processes emits harmful greenhouse gases and, when the old damaged items are taken to either a recycling or landfill site, this creates more emissions. Consequently, regularly replacing items could result in a significant carbon footprint for the cruise line. Magicman’s repair and restoration services cause minimal waste and emissions in comparison, helping cruise lines to become greener and eco-friendlier.”
Magicman’s sustainable ‘make do and mend’ approach has already helped multiple cruise lines to measurably reduce costs and their environmental impact.
“Our team has restored thousands of items of furniture, artwork, glass, sanitary ware, bar tops and virtually every other hard surface that you can find on a cruise ship, all of which has prevented a large volume of waste going to landfill and saved operators hundreds of thousands of dollars,” comments Henderson. “For example, one cruise customer had earmarked multiple pieces of heavy and expensive gym equipment for replacement due to damage and flaking paintwork. However, we were able to repair everything without a substantial cost to the operator or our planet.”
To further reduce costs for cruise clients, Magicman has improved its operational processes and sustainability credentials. “We’re constantly exploring how we can enhance our services, while also reducing our effect on the environment,” he says. “We’ve analysed the costs, amount of time and environmental impact associated with shipping our plant, tools and stock around the world to meet demand and investigated the possibility of establishing warehouse facilities in key locations to reduce all of these factors. Opening warehouses worldwide would also mean that we can react more quickly when clients tells us they have sudden unexpected cabin availability so that our team can carry out work.”
Magicman also ensures it stays up to date with the ever-evolving challenges cruise lines face when updating ship interiors.
“Every cruise operator has its own unique goals and requirements, so it’s always wise to listen to each client and understand their specific needs, wishes and operating parameters,” he explains. “Not only do we have to work alongside our clients’ onshore and shipboard staff, but we must also consider the needs of their passengers while we’re sailing on the ships, so it’s imperative that we fully comprehend all aspects of the projects before starting them. It’s the only way to ensure we provide the best possible service for everyone and achieve success.”
One way Magicman does this is by regularly participating in industry events, such as the inaugural Cruise Ship Interiors Expo (CSIE), which was held in Miami, Florida in June 2019. The expo was the first of its kind to be devoted solely to the cruise ship interior design and outfitting market.
“We were very proud to sponsor and attend CSIE – the event provided the ideal area for showcasing Magicman’s skills and services to our target market,” says Henderson. “Unlike some conferences that cover the whole spectrum of the marine industry, CSIE focused specifically on our core business so we were able to gain new insights into the overall cruise ship interiors market and the approach different operators are taking. This will help us to further develop our services and make them even more relevant to our client base.”
CSIE also provided the perfect opportunity for Magicman to forge deeper relationships with its existing clients and expand its network. “We were able to catch up with our existing clients – some of whom we’d previously only had long-distance communication with – and we had plenty of opportunities to meet potential new customers too,” says Henderson. “Plus, we made contact with new suppliers during and after the show.”
Certainly, Magicman’s presence at CSIE has now firmly established the company as a key player in the cruise industry’s interior design sector.
“For many years, clients have been drawn to Magicman because of our high-quality services, flexibility, good organisational structure and the fact that our skilled employees can deliver projects on time and within budget anywhere in the world, but attending CSIE has undoubtedly helped our name become more widespread,” explains Henderson. “We’re very proud of the many plaudits we received from existing client and those who are yet to work with us. We secured new orders after CSIE, so we’re looking forward to helping these customers to keep their ships in pristine condition, while setting new sustainability standards for the industry.”
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