Cruise ship refurbishment is a big business worth $3.7 billion a year. Normally, cruise lines will schedule for a dry dock every two to three years per vessel. However, after a pause in operations, many cruise lines are now preparing their ships for a 2022 return. This adds up to over 420 oceangoing ships that have been scheduled for dry docking in 2022 alone! With so many dry docks taking place throughout the year, we have explored the five biggest cruise ship refurbishment trends of 2022.


Hotel and cabin updates

With cruise vessels resuming services in 2022, it should come as no surprise that many lines are opting to undergo major hotel and cabin updates. This work will be vital to get spaces back to an ideal standard for guests. This will also allow existing cruise vessels to modernise their cabins and compete with new ships debuting in 2022.

Marella Explorer recently underwent a major refurbishment of its public spaces and cabins, aided by the Trimline App (TAPP). De Wave Group has also reported that it has recently completed some major cabin refurbishments for Norwegian Cruise Line, with more to come in 2022. Additionally, Virgin Voyages has announced a cabin refresh on its two vessels, Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady, in 2022.

New restaurants

Another key trend for 2022 cruise ship refurbishments is the introduction of new restaurants and public spaces. As the number of people choosing to cruise grows each year, it is vital that cruise lines expand their offerings to cater to a variety of different tastes. With dining becoming a bigger deciding factor in choosing a cruise, most large cruise ships offer upwards of 20 eateries! This has set a standard for all cruise lines to follow.

From themed restaurants to unique dining experiences, restaurants are one of the most innovative offerings on board a cruise ship! Driven by consumer trends, cruise lines are constantly introducing new restaurants to suit changing demands such as our increasing love of global tastes, and desire for healthier options and meat free dishes. As a result, it is no surprise that fitting new restaurants are a key trend of 2022 cruise ship refurbishments.


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Hull blasting and painting

As the first thing that passengers will see, a cruise ship’s exterior must be dressed to impress! This includes the ship’s hull, which is often decorated with colours or imagery that reflects the cruise brand. Many cruise lines opt for fun and bright designs, from AIDA Cruises’ bold and recognisable lips to Norwegian Cruise Line’s striking hull designs, conceptualised by artists.

As a result of the pandemic, cruise ships have spent the past two years laid up. This has caused dirt and grime to build up on their exteriors. Therefore, shipyards have reported that the scope of many 2022 dry dockings will include hull cleaning and painting. One key difference between projects is that each vessel will require a different hull coating depending on its water temperatures, speeds, and itinerary pattern. Shipyards have also reported some cruise lines are opting for new environmentally friendly hull paint options.

Major technology updates

Digital technology is becoming key to providing an exceptional guest experience. Thanks to its personalisation capabilities and hygiene benefits, it should come as no surprise that cruise lines are increasingly installing new technologies on board their vessels. Carnival Cruise Line is focusing on modifying its ventilation system with UV lights and better filters in 2022 refurbishment projects. This post-pandemic approach prioritises the safety and comfort of its passengers. Similarly, a key focus of Ambassador Cruise Lines’ first vessel Ambience’s refurbishment is updating her air conditioning and ventilation systems. They will be fully compliant with the latest regulations, preventing viruses and infections through additional filters and ultraviolet lights. These will work to kill bacteria on board the vessel.

But it’s not just about hygiene. As sustainability becomes a key factor in the design and function of cruise ships, upgrading more environmentally friendly technology is increasingly appearing in the scope of cruise ship refurbishment projects for 2022. Achieving sustainability was a key factor in Marella Explorer’s recent refurbishment. Here, Trimline installed energy efficient lighting systems that will save 130 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Lowering fuel emissions

Finally, as the industry increasingly works towards becoming more sustainable, cruise lines are seeking to decrease their fuel consumption and lower their environmental impact. When it comes to lowering fuel consumption, key players Carnival Corporation’s AIDA Cruises, MSC Cruises, and Hurtigruten are leading the way with their LNG powered cruise ships. Carnival Corporation are expanding their environmentally friendly cruise offerings further in 2022 as many AIDA Cruise vessels will get a 10MW battery installation in refurbishments. This will aid them to manoeuvre into port, hook up to shore power, and then sail away with zero emissions.

Other ways cruise lines are reducing their emissions on board cruise ships are through updating their water treatment systems. Ambassador Cruise Line’s first vessel, Ambience, is aiming to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 70 percent compared to the Tier II standards. To achieve this, she will be equipped and outfitted with the latest ballast and sewage water treatment systems. This will enable her to sail on all strictly environmentally protected seas. Additionally, when Ponant’s Le Ponant undergoes her refurbishment at San Giorgio del Porto Shipyard, the shipyard will replace the vessel’s engines to comply with the latest standards in air pollution control. Le Ponant will also have a new water treatment plant installed that will process all wastewater on board.


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