Palfinger Completes First Cruise Drydock Since Pandemic

Palfinger Marine has completed its first major refurbishment jobs since the start of the pandemic, according to a press release.

The job involved servicing 18 lifeboats and 20 winches for the Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International.

To complete the job, 11 technicians from Palfenger’s U.S. service office travelled to Naventia’s shipyard in Cádiz, Spain, where they joined five LSA- and seven refinishing technicians from Palfinger Spain. 

Palfinger’s Florida-based Operations Manager Josh Lozano has celebrated the resumption of major cruise operations at Palfinger.

“Slowly but surely, we were able to resume our work after the lockdown, starting with the first successful service job for the Allure of the Seas,” he said.

Together, the technicians working on the Allure refinished the canopies on 18 lifeboats – which can carry up to 370 people each – and inspected the boats and release gear. 

This work included “cleaning and maintaining the release hooks as well as inspecting the boats according to MSC.402 and other regulations required by class and flag,” the company stated. The jobs took 30 days to complete.

Lozano said that they have also been performing two cruise drydocking in Italy and Singapore, utilizing the company’s corresponding local offices. Additional planned inspections were performed by the company’s UK office.

From Warships to Wind Turbines: Spain Shipyard Eyes EU Aid in Pivot to Wind Power

FILE PHOTO: DJ Mattaar / Shutterstock

Spanish shipbuilder Navantia is stepping up its bet on offshore wind energy, a venture that stands to benefit from the European Union’s fiscal response to the pandemic.

The landmark 750 billion-euro ($890 billion) pandemic-recovery aid will encourage Spain to invest more in clean energy. That could galvanize the company’s recent pivot into sea-based power projects, said Managing Director Javier Herrador del Rio. With demand flagging for its military vessels, Navantia has branched into building the massive foundations for wind turbines that can stretch out of the water as high as a 50-story office building.

The comment underscores how companies across the EU are gearing up to take part in the bloc’s biggest-ever stimulus package. Europe’s leaders have said they want countries to spend a significant portion of the funds on making the regional economy more carbon-neutral. Navantia’s green projects might become a test case for the program.

‘Highly Cyclical’

Spain and Italy are poised to be among the largest recipients of the funds and both countries are hashing out details of how to spend the money. The fiscal jolt is an opportunity for the Spanish administration to start investing in offshore wind farms in the northern Galicia and Basque regions and in southern Andalusia, Herrador del Rio said.

Naval shipbuilding “is highly cyclical and even more so during such volatile times like we’re living through now – when we exit one crisis and then fall into another,” the managing director of Navantia’s Bay of Cadiz Shipyard said in an interview. Rocky economic times limited Spain’s ability to invest in new ships and forced state-owned Navantia into more manufacturing areas. The offshore wind became a strategic priority in 2018, he said.

The firm’s fortunes have ebbed since the 1980s when demand was high for made-in-Europe warships and oil tankers and the company employed about 40,000. While staff has since dropped to about one-tenth of that, it was still able to take on Saudi Arabia’s 2018 order of five corvettes for its navy, one of Navantia’s few major shipbuilding contracts in recent years.

Incipient Industry

While Spain was a global pioneer in solar and wind projects, the offshore wind-park industry is still quite young. Contracts Navantia has signed in the sector don’t generate nearly as much revenue as building submarines and aircraft carriers.

Overall, companies globally are operating about 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, said Imogen Brown, an analyst at BloombergNEF, an energy research firm. That’s a fraction of the 611 gigawatts of land-based wind projects, based on data through 2019, she said.

Most of the turbines are in the North Sea, off the coasts of the U.K., the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. The strong winds and comparatively shallow seabed have allowed major players such as Denmark’s Bladt Industries and the Netherlands’ Sif Group to anchor what is known as “bottom-fixed” turbines to the ocean floor.

Navantia has received commissions for 10 projects since 2014, including orders to manufacture several dozen bottom-fixed turbines for Iberdrola’s 500-megawatt offshore wind farm in Brittany.

The Mediterranean Sea that borders much of Spain has relatively deep waters. That has pushed Navantia and other manufacturers, including Italian shipbuilder Saipem SpA, to shift their focus to floating wind turbines. But the technology is still incipient and there’s not a standardized design, Brown said.

“It’s only demonstration projects that have been commissioned so far,” she said. “We think bottom-fixed wind turbines will still be the driver in the market pre-2030.”

Europe’s increased funding for clean-energy projects will help to bolster investments in technologies to improve floating projects, Herrador del Rio said at the company’s Puerto Real shipyard near the Strait of Gibraltar, the strategic entrance to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean. That funding will eventually lead to building more wind farms off the Spanish coasts and in the Mediterranean Sea.

“Sooner or later it will become a reality,” he said. “I’m convinced.”

Carnival Cruise Line: applying learnings from its largest-ever refurbishment

Carnival Triumph’s transformation into Carnival Sunrise includes a suspended ropes course as part of its sports square (credit: Andy Newman)
Carnival Triumph’s transformation into Carnival Sunrise includes a suspended ropes course as part of its sports square (credit: Andy Newman)Carnival Triumph’s transformation into Carnival Sunrise includes a suspended ropes course as part of its sports square (credit: Andy Newman)
Carnival Cruise Line vice president revitalisation and hotel refurbishment Lisa McCabe opens up on the transformation of Carnival Sunrise and how this will be incorporated into Carnival Victory’s revitalisation In 2019 Carnival Cruise Line carried out the largest refurbishment in its history – and it is using those learnings as it plans a major retrofit for Carnival Sunrise

Carnival Cruise Line vice president revitalisation and hotel refurbishment Lisa McCabe explains “At US$200M, the transformation of Carnival Triumph into Carnival Sunrise was the largest single-ship refurbishment in our company’s history, involving a 38-day drydock in Cadiz, Spain with 7,000 ship employees and contractors working 24/7 to make Carnival Sunrise a reality.

“Given the complexity of the refit, the process was streamlined and efficient. The end result is simply amazing – new dining and beverage outlets, exciting top-deck attractions including a massive water park and a suspended ropes course, updated staterooms and suites, enhanced guest flow and a more contemporary feel overall.”

The company is now gearing up for another major transformation – that of Carnival Victory’s transformation into Carnival Radiance.

Carnival Sunrise includes exciting new top-deck attractions, including a massive water park (credit: Andy Newman)

Enter Carnival Radiance

Ms McCabe says “We learned so much from the Carnival Sunrise drydock and have incorporated these learnings as we began the planning for Carnival Victory’s transformation into Carnival Radiance. Not only in the work itself but in all aspects of the refit, from staffing, working with suppliers and vendors and the logistical challenges that come with a project of this magnitude. Our designers have also changed the layout for Carnival Radiance – relocating the Guy Fieri BBQ to enhance visibility and ultimately drive more traffic.”

Carnival Radiance will also feature the first Big Chicken restaurant by its Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal. “Incorporating a brand new restaurant concept into a renovated ship has its share of challenges – from sourcing materials to equipment and logos – but we worked closely with our internal design teams as well as Shaq’s personnel to create a dining venue we’re sure our guests will enjoy,” says Ms McCabe.

Elaborating on Carnival Cruise Line’s refurbishment strategy, she says “All 27 of our ships undergo a refit every few years and between 2020 and 2021, 13 ships – roughly half our fleet – will undergo a drydock with the work being done varying by ship. Interestingly, because of a lack of drydock space here in North America, we’re refurbishing more ships in Europe which can create even more logistical and staffing challenges given that it’s not as close as our other facilities and we have to sail across the Atlantic just to get there and back. Our marketing and itinerary planning teams are hard at work creating attractive new transatlantic crossings for our guest.”

She expands that every ship in the fleet will undergo at least one major refurbishment during its lifetime and “our focus is making sure we are able to schedule these drydocks and closely manage not only the schedule but also staffing, logistics, design and provisioning to ensure we deliver a quality refit on time and on a budget”.

These refits are part of a US$2Bn ship enhancement project that is introducing new features and standardising offerings across the fleet.

Popular amenities

Ms McCabe says “With many of these refurbishments, we are adding spaces that have proven very popular with our guests – the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, expansive water parks and the transformation of the three-deck main theatre into the multi-purpose Liquid Lounge across two decks which allows for a more intimate space with enhanced sightlines while at the same time providing an opportunity to add staterooms in the previous space.”

She points out that the upcoming refurbishment of Carnival Miracle will mark the installation of the 27th Guy’s Burger Joint by longtime partner and Food Network star Guy Fieri so the venues are now available fleetwide.

Asked about the current challenges when it comes to refurbishing the interiors of the cruise ships, Ms McCabe says “Refurbishing ship interiors is an extremely involved and complex process that begins several years before the refit actually takes place. It is imperative that we come up with creative solutions that offer the guest new experiences while also satisfying the needs of our operational teams on board. Real estate is very valuable, and it is important to make spaces multifunctional. In addition to securing quality vendors and subcontractors to refurbish the space the way it was designed, the overall look and feel have to be eye-catching, functional and timeless as it will likely be on the ship for many years.”

Sustainability is also a priority when it comes to interior refits. Ms McCabe says “Being a leader in environmental stewardship is a top priority for Carnival Cruise Line and this, of course, extends to our ship refurbishment programme. We take sustainability into account in everything we do – from the materials, we source to the vendors we use and how they work is carried out each day. We are constantly evaluating our procedures and processes to make sure we are operating in a way that reflects our commitment to being an environmental leader.”

Snapshot CV: Lisa McCabe (Carnival Cruise Line)

Managing Multiple Drydock Projects For Biggest Fleet - Cruise ...

Lisa McCabe joined Carnival Corp in 2009 and moved to Carnival Cruise Line to build the refurbishment department in 2012.

She leads a team of project managers responsible for most of the cruise line’s large-scale drydock projects throughout the fleet that includes adding new branded food and beverage venues, stateroom renovations and additions, water parks and upgrades to crew spaces. During her time at Carnival Cruise Line, Ms McCabe has been responsible for over 500 refurbishment projects in shipyards throughout the US, the Bahamas, and Singapore.

Ms McCabe studied interior design at Florida International University and has focused her career on refurbishing ships.