Royal Caribbean hotel refurbishment consultant project manager Stephen Fryers unveils what he believes are the key ingredients to a successful interior drydock
Daily meetings, regular walkthroughs and constant communication are key to a successful drydock, Royal Caribbean hotel refurbishment consultant project manager Stephen Fryers tells Passenger Ship Interior & Refurbishment Review.
Mr Fryers was the project manager for the Celebrity Eclipse and Silhouette ships for Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Cruises Revolution upgrade projects. He comments "Silhouette was a US$75M project. It included remodelling suites, two new areas for suite guests, new bars and a video wall on the lawn area. The entire ship was recarpeted with most areas touched upon in some degree, even if it was just a small detail like a new carpet. Every single TV in the ship was removed, all computer systems were changed and a new bridge system was installed by marine operations."
A new area has also been introduced: The Retreat, an all-inclusive area for suite guests that includes a 24-hour lounge with complimentary beverages and concierge services. Elsewhere, a dining venue Craft Social has been launched which offers craft beers, wine and cocktails on tap. There is a new cocktail bar and the existing Lawn Club, Sunset Bar and Fitness Centre have been updated.
The drydock day always starts with an 8 am meeting for all contractor project managers, senior ship staff, the RCCL project team and technical consultants.
Mr Fryers comments "This meeting allows the project manager to provide information to those on board in respect to inspections, shutdowns, embark/debark needs, room changes and anything that can affect the contractors’ working areas or lodgings. The meeting kicks off with safety first. This is very important and is where we emphasise as a company the need to use good HSE practices and PPE when performing works on board. We can then set up breakout meetings and clarify any queries or questions should anyone wish."
Importance of walkthroughs
Mr Fryers also singles out the importance of his walkthroughs on the drydock. He carries out three walks a day – if not more – to all work areas to see progress and talk to contractors, area managers and others. He adds "The walkthrough is something I do on my own. I walk the spaces to look at what is going on and get a feel for the progress."
He says "This is an important part to me personally. Not only do I get to see firsthand the progress, it allows me to be personable to contractors and workers. I am a firm believer that one of the most important things a project manager does is to manage people. It is not the project manager that gets the work done, it is the people who work on the project with him or her who do the hard work. Being affable to people gets you more respect and gets things done more than being an aloof leader would."
The second walkthrough is carried out to see how changes discussed earlier have been implemented or are in progress. "This second round also allows me time to look at other items such as possible design changes to discuss with the design team that might help, and to consider ‘lessons learnt’ for future projects. It is also when I look at the quality of finish for the areas under construction, so we can make corrections earlier rather than later," Mr Fryers says.
The last walkthrough is done at the end of the day.
Speaking of the importance of the walkabouts on the Celebrity Silhouette upgrade, he says "It was very important to have walkabouts, so that we could properly look at such a big overall picture."
Another important part of the day in drydock is administration time. Mr Fryers says this is where he reviews change order requests, budget tracking and reviews the schedule for adherence. Three times a week an executive report is drafted and sent to the senior executives of the brand, newbuild and other departments with an interest in the project.
The regular meetings and walkthrough are important elements in combating any challenges. Mr Fryers says "They definitely iron out challenges – you cannot run projects by sitting in an office, you have to see what is going on. Of course, you must spend time doing budgets and schedules, but you can only do those if you know what is going on with a project."
Highlighting challenges, he says "There are major challenges that face drydock projects and these are always different; there is never a day where it is the same as yesterday. Every single day another challenge comes up."
He singles out that because of the position of Celebrity Silhouette in dock, there were mostly mobile cranes rather than dock cranes. Mr Fryers explains "That was a concern because of the cost, using mobile cranes tipped the budget to the limit, so we did not have a lot of margin to play with. Therefore, we had to look closely at how to operate the mobile cranes to save money on budget."
Highlighting other potential challenges, he singles out the importance of logistics. "If a material does not arrive on time as planned, we may have to airfreight them to ensure they arrive on time. This can cost thousands and thousands of dollars, so we have to be very careful. That is the art of planning and scheduling, tracking that materials are on time and seeing any red flags, this is a crucial part of any project. If there are issues, we need to know so we can launch remedial plans sooner rather than later."
He sums up "There is a maturing in the industry as to how drydocks are run. We are still learning and constantly improving, however we are getting better at how we do a drydock."
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