In what represents a significant step forward for the cruise industry, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have given the green light for a phased resumption of passenger ship operations in the United States. Several cruise lines are now planning to relaunch in December, while others are set to follow in early 2021
With owners keen to deliver the best possible cruise experience when full operations resume, renewal and construction projects placed on hold at the height of the pandemic are under way. For flooring and decking innovator Bolidt, demand is on the rise once more.
“Initially, the coronavirus outbreak had an impact on our work in the cruise sector,” said Bolidt director maritime Jacco van Overbeek. “But ever since the cruise lines began preparing for a new chapter, our expertise has remained in high demand: operators in various segments of the sector and from around the world have continued to discuss projects with us, and we are working hard to support their ambitions.”
Bolidt will soon begin refit works on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Breakaway and Getaway, scheduled in drydock early next year – to follow the current refit of Epic, all of which are taking place in Marseille – and have recently completed projects with Marella Cruises’ Discovery and Marella Explorer 2. However, the majority of ongoing contracts, explained Mr van Overbeek, have involved newbuilds, including expedition ships, luxury passenger ships and river cruise vessels.
“In the expedition segment, we have completed the first of two orders for Lindblad Expeditions, supplying the sustainable Bolideck® Future Teak for all outdoor decks,” said Mr Van Overbeek. Future Teak will also feature on a series of luxury polar expedition ships from Portuguese company Mystic Cruises, he added. “We supplied 2019’s World Explorer and will deliver the same system to its four sister ships, the first of which has just been delivered, and the second scheduled for completion early next year.”
Elsewhere, Bolidt’s supply of solutions to the new SunStone expedition vessel Ocean Explorer was its first project involving a newbuild passenger ship in China. Installation work on Explorer’s sister ship Odyssey will begin shortly.
Meanwhile, in the luxury segment, Bolidt has supplied the recently completed Saga Spirit of Adventure with Bolideck Future Teak, Select Hard and Select Soft. The vessel’s lido deck, featuring Future Teak, recently won an award for its retro design. “We are delivering the same products to the innovative MSC Virtuosa, as well as to Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas, currently under construction. Following this, we will be working on the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas which is due for delivery next year, Mr Van Overbeek reported. Another recent MSC order will see Bolidt fit its new ‘World Class’ series with Bolideck Select Soft Teak Effect and Future Teak.
In river cruising, Bolidt’s relationship with Viking River Cruises remains strong. “We installed Bolidt solutions on a number of recently delivered vessels in Viking’s Longships and Seine fleets, and we will now provide decking for two more Viking vessels due to be constructed in Alexandria, Egypt for the Egyptian market,” said Mr Van Overbeek.
Bolidt’s sustained commitment to the cruise sector is reflected in its decision to keep the doors to its Innovation Center open throughout the pandemic. Home to the industry’s most high-tech research and development facilities, the centre has remained operational in recent months, allowing cruise owners to pay virtual visits and collaborate with Bolidt experts and other industry stakeholders on both new ideas and ongoing projects.
“Our Innovation Center is a crucial part of our offering as a design enabler,” said Mr Van Overbeek. “It allows us to work closely with clients and partners to respond to changing circumstances and prepare for incoming regulations. We felt it was important to keep the centre open and show cruise operators that we were ready to support them through the challenges posed by this new chapter.”