Cruise ship refurbishment takes many shapes and forms – and budgets. Many cruise ships are currently undergoing minor or technical dry docks as they prepare to return to service in 2021. However, many larger cruise lines have committed to always providing their guests with the best of their brand, regardless of the age of the vessel. This commitment means a constant scrutinization of their older tonnage. And, multi-year, often multi-million-dollar projects to bring these older vessels in line with their brand vision.
One project by Carnival Cruise Line, dubbed Carnival Fun Ship 2.0, launched in 2011 and has, to date, overseen the enhancement of roughly sixteen ships. The budget set aside for this extensive refurbishment programme was around $2 billion. Carnival Sunshine, part of the Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 project, was the most expensive of these refurbishments, emerging from the $135 million dry dock as a wholly new ship.
Carnival Cruise Line isn’t the only major cruise line to have an extensive refurbishment programme in place. Here are three of the most in-depth, ongoing and recently completed cruise ship refurbishment projects:
Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) completed their Norwegian Edge programme in January of 2020 when Norwegian Spirit exited dry dock. The Norwegian Spirit is the last of the ships on the Norwegian Edge slate, which included Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Sun and Pride of America. The programme included modernisation efforts across all the ships’ cabins and staterooms, ranging across new furniture, updated décor and fresh layouts. According to NCL, Norwegian Sky was the second most extensively updated ship under the Norwegian Edge programme. Nearly every public area, including food & beverage areas, and staterooms underwent enhancement in 2019.
In fact, all vessels in the programme received updates to restaurant, bar or lounge areas. In some cases completely new dining and leisure areas were installed. Norwegian Spirit is the most recently and also the most extensively updated ship. New dining venues included The Local Bar & Grill, The Great Outdoors, Garden Café and La Cucina. Plus, a brand new adults-only venue situated at the top of the ship, Spice H2O.
The Norwegian Edge program was an estimated $400 million investment by the cruise line. The refurbishments took place across Europe, including a 43-day dry dock at Marseille for Norwegian Spirit and a two-week dry dock at Brest for Norwegian Breakaway and a three-week dry dock in Barcelona for Norwegian Star.
Royal Caribbean’s Royal Amplified programme claims, ‘What’s bold is new again’. With a $1 billion commitment to pumping new life into older tonnage, Royal Caribbean are certainly dedicated to bold changes. The focus of the Royal Amplified programme is on updating the slated 10 ships’ outside areas, new restaurants and bars & nightlife spots. The most recently completed is Freedom of the Seas, which saw major lifts to its poolside areas. The Perfect Storm, popular waterslides, enhanced the thrilling offerings. Meanwhile, passengers are also now able to take advantage of increased sun lounge and cabana spaces.
The popular Oasis of the Seas underwent possibly the most expensive cruise ship refurbishment ever recorded, at $165 million. Royal Caribbean added new Ultimate Panoramic suites. As was the fleet staple two-deck atrium Music Hall and the heart-stopping ten-deck waterslides The Abyss. Four remaining vessels are slated to undergo the Royal Amplified treatment. Although, they may see a modified refurbishment plan as a result of the 2020 sailing stoppage.
Refurbishments took place across dry docks in Cadiz, Singapore and the Bahamas.
The Celebrity Revolution
Celebrity Cruises have completed four of their nine vessels slated to undergo The Celebrity Revolution. The ‘flagship’ venture of The Celebrity Revolution will strengthen Celebrity Cruises’ relationship with designer Kelly Hoppen as they bring suite experience The Retreat to all ships. The Retreat is an opportunity that provides guests of The Retreat with luxury accommodation plus an exclusive spa, lounge, sun deck, dining area and much more.
Celebrity Silhouette was the most recent of the Celebrity Cruises fleet to enter The Celebrity Revolution. Passengers will benefit from new dining and bar areas, including Craft Social. Meanwhile, renovated crew areas included the gym, outdoor bar and laundry facilities. Other completed ships in The Celebrity Revolution are: Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Equinox.
Celebrity Cruises are investing an estimated $500 million into this programme of refurbishment over five years. So far Celebrity have split the refurbishments across Singapore, the Bahamas and Cadiz.