DISCOVER Magazine #7

Keeping cruise ships in top condition

Published in category: Markets

Damen Shiprepair & Conversion (DSC) has recently won a series of maintenance and repair contracts for cruise ships. With hundreds if not thousands of passengers depending on these vessels to operate to precise schedules planned and announced many months in advance, punctuality is absolutely vital. Departing on time and having the ships in top condition is critical to the success of the cruise ship business model, and from the outset DSC has understood the importance of delivering its services to exact timetables.


Kees Jan Groen, Commercial Director at DSC notes that: “advanced planning and preparation are of the essence. We have gained a reputation for working with short lead times, flexibility, safety, good communication and high quality work. Our extensive network of local partners allows us to rapidly source all the equipment and parts necessary for a cruise vessel project. We understand the importance of proper management of the logistics and our project managers are trained to manage the most complicated and challenging cruise vessel projects. Each is able to advise and assist our customers on any subject in order to get a vessel ready for its next cruise on time and to specification.”


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Broadly speaking, after-care in the cruise ship sector can be divided into two main segments; repair and maintenance, and retrofit.

Retrofits are generally planned ahead, but repairs are often required at short notice, and it is always inconvenient for a cruise vessel to disrupt its programme with an unscheduled visit to a yard. When it does, timing is crucial. With its highly skilled teams and years of knowledge, DSC is able to repair all kinds of damage quickly and effectively. Whatever kind of work has to be performed, DSC is your trusted partner.

To meet the operational requirements of a cruise vessel, and to comply with classification rules and regulations, maintenance is vital. Our shipyards are experienced in (hydro)-blasting and conservation work, and maintenance on propulsion systems or pods, engine works, thrusters, rudders, valves, hatches, piping, winches, generators, stabilisers and to hotel related areas or systems such as cabins, public spaces, galleys, HVAC, cooling and freezing systems, drinking water systems, swimming pools and more.

The MSC Magnifica arrived at Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam (DSR) on 20 October 2014 and was berthed at the yard’s number 8 dry dock, which is 307 metres in length. Built in 2010, the MSC Magnifica is 293 metres long and can accommodate more than 2,500 passengers. The timescale for replacing around 47 tonnes of steel, replacing the rudders, and cleaning and painting the vessel was exceptionally tight, but after a very fast and successful 17-day dry docking the cruise ship left the yard on schedule to start her next cruise.Link to Magnifica-3607-s_670_770

In mid-December 2014, the 200-metre, Saga Cruises-owned Saga Sapphire left DSR on schedule after completing in just 19 days extensive repair and refurbishment works as well as her scheduled Class Survey. As is customary with cruise ship repair projects, the contract involved a tight time frame that required precision planning from Damen’s project management team. The project was carried out in a step-bystep programme, driven by four project leaders, each with his own area of responsibility.

The cruise ships Astor and Marco Polo, both operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages, were at Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen (DSV) in the autumn for their normal maintenance work. Capable of carrying 600 and 800 passengers respectively, both vessels required a Class Survey as well as actions such as high-pressure washing and painting of the underwater part of the vessels, overhaul of overboard valves, hull anode renewal, maintenance and recertification of lifeboats, gangway repairs and certification and renewal of ducting and ventilators feeding the engine room air-supply. DSV carried out the projects within the usual tight timeframe, with the Astor in dock for just 18 days and the Marco Polo at DSV for 30.

DSC’s ambitions and capabilities in the cruise market extend further than just repair and maintenance. Complex retrofit projects are being planned for 2015 and beyond.

All cruise vessels age over time aLink to Magnifica-3555 (Exemplaar met conflict van Ivar van der Most 570_770nd passengers demand ever better facilities. This requires owners to take asset invesment decisions in order to maintain their effectiveness. DSC has the facilities and skills required to execute retrofits, lifetime extensions and rejuvenation programmes for any cruise vessel. Our shipyards are conveniently located in north-western Europe, and we are highly experienced in interface management with key subcontractors. Ruud Haneveer, Damen Commercial Manager Americas commented: “With the consultancy skills of our marine engineering and naval architecture subsidiary Knud E. Hansen A/S, we are able to cooperate with customers from the earliest stages in the planning process, through concept, basic design and conversion engineering, up to project execution and delivery support. Their office in Fort Lauderdale is well located in the heart of the US cruise market”.

Bas Loohuis, Damen Commercial Manager Europe added: “The excellent collaboration between STX France and Damen Shiprepair Brest demonstrates that cruise ship retrofits can be effectively and economically executed at Damen’s largest facility. Damen Shiprepair Brest has invested extensively in improving its facilities to accommodate the demanding requirements of retrofit projects. This includes enhancements to project logistics and organisational improvements to enable the preparation of tailor-made proposals and effective project execution.”

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