Cruise ship drydocking (vessel refits and onboard refurbishments) is a multi-billion market with regularly scheduled vessel renovation projects every 2-3 years. Most drydocks are planned for Carnival Corporation-, RCCL-Royal Caribbean and NCLH-Norwegian-owned vessels. 2019's drydock scheduled features industry's largest (so far) vessel reconstruction project - Carnival Triumph's conversion into Carnival Sunrise. The 60-day drydock project at Navantia Shipyard (Cadiz Spain) was budgeted USD 200 million. For comparison, Carnival Destiny-Sunshine conversion (2013) cost USD 155 million. Navigator OTS' drydock reconstruction (Jan-Feb 2019) was budgeted USD 115 million. Also scheduled for 2019 are the drydocks of the NCLH-owned Oceania (6-ship brand) with fleet-refurb budget USD 100 million.
Why cruise ships are being refurbished?
Time is money - while a cruise ship overhaul takes 15-30-days, to build a new liner (design to launch) takes ~3 years (depending on vessel size, specifications, special features, owner, etc).
Cruise vessels building cost - especially when "bigger-big" ships are concerned, the ship refurbishment is a lot cheaper than to build a new one (or replacing older ones). In most cases, "refurbished" is synonymous to "maintenance and repairs" and "freshened up" - some engineering updates, hull cleaning, paint, new furniture and decors (sometimes changing the color scheme), new carpets, interactive TV systems and flat-screen TVs everywhere, shipwide Wi-Fi coverage, replacing handrails and glass, upgrades of venues (sometimes new lounge areas), new amenities and services, etc. This would cost the company between 10 and 30-40 million dollars per ship, some refits may cost up to 50 million - and the ship will look like new!
What the list of cruise ship renovations generally includes?
Major cruise ship overhauls may include reconstructing or adding new cabins, lounges, restaurants, a SPA facility, swimming pool(s), sometimes adding a whole new deck, and even better - a whole midsection, like the case of MS Enchantment of the Seas refurbishment / lengthening in 2005 (next photo and the YouTube video below).
Some technical enhancements, like a new external coating or an updated propulsion, for example, could significantly reduce fuel consumption (improving the ship's efficiency and environmental performance), while "most fun" modern time gadgets and contraptions attract huge crowds - like virtual "real-time" windows in all Inside cabins, or a water park with a slide, or a kids-only area, or a hugely-huge movie screen by the main pool.
Cruise ship refurbishment news are some of the "most wanted" and extremely popular on all major online travel forums. All big lines put their liners into dry dock every few years to update (or upgrade) them - it costs money, but again - it's cheaper than going on brand new ships. It's a fact that many travelers are hesitant to take the first sailing post-drydock.
Most dry-docks are routine - just refreshing, do not include major changes and have a fairly accurate schedule. A major refit, on the other hand, usually involves significant changes in construction (or services) and have an "unpleasant" tendency to start prior to the actual drydock (even during the sailing prior) and often continues into the first sailing after.
Next YouTube video shows timelapse of the MS Braemar cruise ship's drydock extension at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg Germany.
Cruise ship refurbishment jobs
Cruise ship refurbishment jobs are another issue. In 2009 Saga Holidays (UK company) refitted and refurbished its newly purchased Saga Pearl 2 ship (former name ms Astoria) spending 20 million pounds on this project and providing more than 300 jobs over a 3-month period.
Next video is about the April 2016 drydock refurb of Splendour Of The Seas (now Marella Discovery) done in Freeport Bahamas.
Often vessels’ need unscheduled repairs - not matching with planned maintenance schedules. In such cases are used teams of underwater specialists for fast, high-quality repairs, thus avoiding potential loss of income due to drydocking. World's first global underwater ship repair service provider is Wartsila (CruiseMapper tagged news) - any marine services and maintenance works, regardless ship's current location.
In 2017, Wartsila (Finnish marine corporation) acquired Trident BV (global provider of commercial diving services) Via Trident, Wartsila offers worldwide underwater repairs, propulsion systems overhaul, regular maintenance works (hull cleaning, propeller polishing, welding), scrubber-cleaning and retrofitting, even major underwater overhauls. Corporation's main underwater teams are in Holland, Italy and Canaries. They can be dispatched to any location in a matter of hours, providing fast-response vessel inspections, repairs, refurbishments, equipment installation-replacement.
Cruise ship refurbishment schedule 2017-2018-2019
This is a regularly updated list of dry-dock dates, with concise info about the cruise ship upgrades, deck plan changes and refits by cruise company. All links in the following table are internal (CruiseMapper) and redirect to the ship's deck plan page.
Note1: All Singapore-based vessel refurbishment projects are done by Sembcorp Marine (at the Admiralty Yard). The company is among the leaders on the cruise ship refit market. Among its regular clients are Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Star Cruises (Asia).
Note2: All Cadiz (Spain)-based ship refurbishments are done by the Navantia shipbuilding company - Europe's 5th and the world's 9th largest shipbuilder. The company's ship-repair services are provided to both commercial and military (naval) vessels.
RCI Royal Caribbean drydock refurbishments
RCCL's "Royal Advantage" renovation program (2011-2016) was budgeted USD 300 million. RCI's 6-ship refurbishment project "innovation renovations" was implemented in 2016. The vessels Adventure, Empress, Jewel, Liberty, Majesty and Radiance received some of the company's most popular shipboard features.
In mid-March 2018, Royal Caribbean announced an USD 1 billion fleetwide refurbishment project ("Royal Amplified", 2018-2022) covering 10 liners in 3 classes (Oasis, Freedom, Voyager).
By this program will be introduced new and innovative features, new experiences and amenities, new pool deck areas and venues, new dining options, new nightlife concepts, new onboard attractions.
In 2018 were scheduled for drydocks the ships Independence and Mariner.
For 2019 were scheduled Navigator and Oasis, for 2020 - Allure and Freedom, for 2021 - Liberty.
Full refurbishment details per vessel will be revealed each year.
RCI drydocks are usually in the shipyards at Freeport, Singapore and Cadiz. RCI ships usually enter drydocks in up to 5-year periods.
(Deck 15) pool areas completely renovated and redesigned, added "The Lime & Coconut" (2-story poolside bar for cocktails, DJs, live outdoor music). Swimming pools' sunbathing areas receive more shaded seating (daybeds, hammocks, swing seats, casitas/cabins). Solarium complex refreshed, new whirlpools added
(Deck 16-aft /entrance point) installed 10-deck high waterslide "Ultimate Abyss" (introduced on Harmony OTS) plus "The Perfect Storm" (3 waterslides).
(Deck 15-midship) H2O Zone redesigned to "Splashaway Bay" (outdoor water playground with Splash Pad, 3 waterslides and water attractions (cannons, fountains, pools) plus fleet's first drench buckets (2).
(fleet's first) "Portside BBQ" (a la carte American barbecue restaurant)
(new dining venues) "El Loco Fresh", Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table (Italian), Izumi (Japanese), Sugar Beach (ice cream bar/candy shop)
(Deck 5) "On Air Club" (karaoke and sports bar) replaced by "Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade" (deck 6's Boardwalk), with 80x large TVs, tabletop games, popular arcades, gaming tournaments, VIP room (Owner’s Box), bar food, draught beers.
(fleet's first) "Spotlight Karaoke" lounge (stage for singalongs, 2 private rooms for parties)
(Quantum-Class venues) "Music Hall" (2-deck high dancing lounge), Bionic Bar (served by robotic bartenders)
Kids-teens areas extensively redesigned and enhanced, Adventure Ocean (deck 14) completely refurbished and redesigned (nursery, kids 3-5 yo lounge, teen lounge)
"Clash for the Crystal City" (laser tag game)
"Royal Escape Room" (adventure gaming/team building exercises) dedicated to "Mission Control: Apollo 18" - puzzle game themed after 1973's Apollo 18 moon mission.
Cloud Nine and Seven Hearts rooms replaced with Izumi
19th Hole lounge replaced with Diamond Club
Digital signage (touch-screen wayfinders) installed
Carnival Cruise Line drydock refurbishments
The Carnival ships refurbishment schedule shows newly added onboard amenities and facilities. These old and future planned fleetwide upgrades are by the company's "Fun Ship 2.0" fleet renovation program. The company's additional program for ship technology upgrades (also fleetwide) was budgeted USD 300 million.
(new facilities): bars (RedFrog, BlueIguana, Library, Alchemy, EA Sports), Guy’s Burger, BlueIguana Cantina, Punchliners (George Lopez), DJ IRIE (Spin U /DJ Academy), Seuss at Sea (kids venue), Hasbro The Game Show, and finally - the Playlist Productions.
Some have Bonsai Sushi
technology upgrades (scrubbers, shoreside power capabilities)
WaterWorks Aqua Park, Camp Carnival (kids playground)
***Elation and Carnival paradise - added 38 new cabins (2 Grand Vista Suites, 22 Junior Suites, 2 Scenic Oceanview, 12 Interior), balconies added to 98 cabins, redesigned minigolf course with bocce court
***Fascination - Bonsai Sushi Express
***Victory - redesigned Deli, new cabins - 2 Captain’s Suites (820 ft2), plus Oceanviews - Scenic (260 ft2) and Scenic Grand (320 ft2)
***Freedom - WaterWorks, Bonsai Sushi Express, expanded-redesigned retail shopping area (new Carnival Adventures Shop, Mini-Golf relocated (Deck 12 to 11)
All drydocks were in Freeport Bahamas - except Carnival Spirit (Singapore) and Carnival Legend (Portland OR).
NEWS: In 2019 (March-April) Carnival Triumph entered drydock (in Cadiz) for around USD 200 million refurbishment, after which it will be renamed "Carnival Sunrise". The refitted liner will be transformed into Sunshine-Class vessel. It will have the same facilities and amenities as the sistership Carnival Sunshine (former Carnival Destiny, refitted in 2013 for USD 155 million).
NEWS: In 2020, after a 38-day refurbishment (Cadiz Spain), Carnival Victory will be renamed "Carnival Radiance".
NCL Norwegian Cruise Line drydock refurbishments
All drydock refurbishments 2016-2017-2018-2019 as projects are part of NCL’s “Norwegian Edge” fleet renovation program, budgeted around USD 500 million. Each drydock costs around USD 35-40 million.
buffet dining complex "World Fresh Marketplace" upgraded new decor, live ala carte cooking, pastry shop / coffee bar Amuleto Cafe)
"Lotus Spa" renovated
new interior decor (furnishings with Asian/Japan touches)
Terrace Grill remodeled into al fresco BBQ dining venue
the ice cream bar transformed into New Zealand Natural (with specialty coffees)
SHARE restaurant replaced the pizzeria
new hull livery design
Club Class Mini-Suites (new cabin category with VIP amenities and exclusive dining)
Camp Discovery Youth Center (children club lounges for kids ages 3-17) via partnership with Discovery Channel
upgraded retail shops, new shop (Effy Fine Jewelry), new logoed products (Princess Cruises branded wear and logo apparel in the re-designed Logo shop), designer handbags and fashion accessories from Burberry, Coach, Guess, Longchamp.
onboard retail shopping upgraded by refurbishing all retail shops and adding new brands (BRICS, Longines, Olivia Burton, Liu Jo, Radley, Cath Kidston, Kipling)
new Dufry store (travel retailer)
Arena Theatre received wall-mounted LED screen, sound and light equipment
All passenger cabins and most public areas renovated with new carpeting
main walkway area received new tiling, carpet, furniture
Tamarind Club and Havana Lounge renovated and redesigned
New British gins collection available
Dixons Travel shop (gadgets and electronic equipment) was enlarged and new products were added (Amazon, Apple, Bose, Canon, Fitbit, GoPro)
The Photo Now digital screen moved to the aft
installed 2 scrubbers
repainted hull and superstructure
general maintenance works
Holland America Line drydock refurbishments
In 2003-2008, by the SOE (“Signature of Excellence”) program, HAL upgraded all older vessels, on which were also added new venues, stateroom categories and amenities. In November 2015 was announced company's USD 300 million fleetwide renovation program, including Suite cabin improvements (new decors, furnishings, amenities, services) for all suite categories on Vista-Class, Signature-Class and R-Class vessels.
In 2018, HAL contracted ABB Group (Swedish-Swiss corporation specializing in robotics, marine power and propulsion equipment) for installing shore-power systems fleetwide. The technology allows docked in ports cruise ships to receive shoreside power supply (from the city's grid) and turn off their engines, thus reducing to zero emissions and noise. ABB installed its shore-power equipment on 11x HAL ships. Switchover (ship-to-shore power) at seaports takes around 20 min.
furnishings (sofa, chairs, headboard, carpet, wall coverings, privacy curtain, drapery, bed runner, bed skirt, quartz stone top (vanity), vanity lighting, dresser, dressing table, nightstands)
USB outlet, power outlets
BOSE SoundDock (iPod station)
interactive TV system
****Holland America Line's USD 300 million fleet renovation project included updating onboard entertainment, dining and suites fleetwide in 2016-2018.
Enhancements vary by ship.
All Vista-, Signature- and Rotterdam-class liners' Suites received new furniture, carpeting, wall covers, quartz stone topped desk, dresser, nightstands, make-up vanity, USB outlet (on the bed's headboard), LED reading lights, lighted closet rod, interactive flat TV system (free movies on demand), new in-cabin amenities (espresso coffee machine, binoculars, free mimosas with in-cabin breakfast).
On the ships Amsterdam, Noordam and Zaandam, the old Crow's Nest (top-deck panoramic bar lounge) was replaced by EXC (Explorations Central).
addition of 21 cabins Lanai category and contemporary bar, Mix.
reconfiguration of the centrally located bars.
select cabins and all suites received updated bathrooms
(deck 10) 25 new balcony and inside cabins
(deck 2) Lincoln Center Stage (chamber music hall)
(deck 11) The Retreat (adult sundeck area) replaces the sunbathing canvas areas
Celebrity Cruises drydock refurbishments
In July 2018, the company announced an USD 500 million fleet modernization (drydock refurbishment) program dubbed "Celebrity Revolution”. The project is scheduled for February 2019 through February 2023. The 4-year fleet refurbishment program starts in February 2019.
The list of scheduled for drydocks Celebrity ships (by the Celebrity Revolution project) is shown in the following table:
Renovations include all staterooms and public spaces on 9 liners to bring their onboard amenities and services up to the standards of Edge-class ships. For staterooms were contracted HBA (Hirsch Bedner Associates / US-based hospitality interior design company) and Kelly Hoppen (UK-based interior designer).
All staterooms are upgraded with eXhale bedding sets (premium cashmere mattresses) and high-tech amenities (RFID locks, Bluetooth, Xcelerate / Wi-Fi Internet).
Renovated Celebrity cruise ships will have "The Retreat" (adults-only sundeck) with full-size swimming pool, Jacuzzi whirlpool, private cabanas, padded loungers, poolside bar service (food and drinks).
Luminae Restaurant (Suites-only) is redesigned, new (custom-made) menus by chef Cornelius Gallagher are introduced.
Qsine Restaurant is added fleetwide and will offer "Le Petit Chef" (virtual dining-entertainment experience) created by Skullmapping artists and presented by TableMation Studios exclusively for Celebrity Cruises.
Main Dining Rooms, Oceanview Cafe and Sunset Bar redesigned, as well as most public venues
In the SPA is added expanded SEA Thermal Suite.
Retail shops are expanded with new brands - including Hublot (luxury Swiss watches) and Shinola (luxury watches, jewelry, premium leather goods).
Oceania Cruises drydock refurbishments
In August 2018, Oceania announced company's OceaniaNEXT fleet renovation project budgeted USD 100 million. It includes drydock refurbishments of 4 R-Class liners (Regatta, Insignia, Sirena, Nautica).
As result, the fleet will be expanded with 1368 new staterooms (342 per liner), and all shipboard restaurants, bars and lounges will be redesigned and redecorated.
New public spaces on these ships will include open-floor designed Lobby with Reception Hall (lower level) with Upper Hall (2nd level). They will be connected with Grand Staircase (decorated with railings and balustrades) and featuring a large crystal chandelier (with hanging pieces of hand-painted glass).
Grand Dining Room (aft restaurant on Deck 5) on each ship will receive new premium dining furniture (leather chairs with metallic bronze threading) and new crystal chandelier.
Martinis (piano bar lounge on Deck 5) will be redesigned, new silver-white marble bar top and walnut paneling will be added.
All old staterooms will be completely overhauled (redesigned and re-furnished) and upgraded with custom-made furniture, polished wood, stone finishes, designer accessories, smart HDTVs (infotainment system with movies-on-demand and Internet), USB ports, LED lighting. All cabin bathrooms will be overhauled and receive new tiling, surfaces and fixtures, designer accessories, vanities and glass shower enclosures. Penthouse-Vista-Owner suite bathrooms will be enlarged and upgraded with Carrara marble tops, onyx and polished granite.
Works on the fleetwide refurb project involve over 1000 artisans and craftsmen and will result in 1368 new cabins, 8000 new light fixtures, 12000 new sofas and chairs.
Ship Name / Dry-Dock Dates / Shipyard
Refurbishment Review / Deckplan Changes
(all R-class vessels) - upgrades total cost USD 50 million
Insignia 2018 (November 18 - December 6), Freeport Bahamas
extensive renovations (restaurants, bars, spa, atrium, staterooms( kids area
Dream-class concepts (waterslide starting near the funnel's top and swinging out over the side of the ship; lighting/audio upgrades)
2015 - updated Boutiques (Bibbidi Bobbidi, Anna & Elsa’s)
2015 - The Edge club (relocated to deck 9)
2015 - general maintenance, propulsion upgrade
2018 - ****added Rapunzel's Royal Table (themed restaurant), transformed teen club, redesigned Cove Cafe (adults-only), added Club Disney Junior (lounge part of Disney's Oceaneer Club, redesigned Rainforest Room in the adults-only Senses Spa (steam and hydrotherapy).
new venues - Tiana’s Place (restaurant), Fathoms (disco), O’Gills (English pub), Mickey’s Mainsail (shop), Chill Teen Spa, Smile Spa
MSC Cruises ships lengthening and drydock refurbishments
MSC Cruises announced in late December 2013 the start of EUR 200 refurbishment program (named "renaissance") involving not only revitalization of all Lirica-class vessels but also stretching all four of them in the period 2014-2016 (a total of 38 drydock weeks).
During drydocks in the period 2019-2024, MSC will install fleetwide ZOE - in-cabin digital assistant developed by Samsung. ZOE is a voice-enabled artificial intelligence device available in all passenger staterooms. ZOE speaks 7 languages, answers cruise-related questions, provides info on shipboard services-activities-facilities, makes reservations-bookings.
Drydock Dates / Shipyard
Refurbishment Review / Deckplan Changes
The cruise ship refurbishment dates by vessel were:
Each of these vessels is now 824 ft / 251 m long, with weight of ~60,000 GT and passenger capacity 2,070. After the refit, each of them is 902 ft / 275 m long, with weight of ~65,000 GT and capacity 2,680 pax, featuring 193 additional cruise staterooms and 59 new crew cabins.
(2014) Aug 31 - Nov 17
(2015) Jan 12 - Mar 16
(2015) May 2 - July 4
(2015) Aug 31 - Nov 9
After the drydocks, each of the 4 Lirica-class ships has:
a new AquaPark with a slide, water cannons, water sprays
onboard boutiques enhancement - new interior designs, new perfumery on each ship selling top brands, like Dior
new passenger and crew cabins (respectively 193 and 59 per vessel)
Besides the ship's staff and crew, Costa cruise passengers are also served by Peper robots - latest cyborg technology implemented fleetwide in 2016. These humanoid robots greet and guide passengers upon embarkation, and also assist them throughout the voyage with information and tips. Pepper robots are mobile and communicate in 3 languages (English, German, Italian).
Besides the ship's staff and crew, AIDA cruise passengers are also served by Peper robots - latest cyborg technology implemented fleetwide in 2016. These humanoid robots greet and guide passengers upon embarkation, and also assist them throughout the voyage with information and tips. Pepper robots are mobile and communicate in 3 languages (English, German, Italian).
maintenance works (stabilizers, steering, body, machinery)
new Carnival-developed exhaust system (scrubber)
renovations (flooring, cabins, public areas, carpeting, new deck floorings)
face recognition system at the Photo Shop (reducing printing chems and paper consumption by 50%)
new dining lounge (Almhutte) for traditional Alpine cuisine and live music, complimentary food and service, beverages cost extra
AIDA Shopping World (retail via partnership with Gebr. Heinemann), sized 400 m2, selling world's most famous brands
all staterooms and some public areas renovated
all restaurants, bars and the SPA refitted
Fujifilm Wonder Photo Shop
technical upgrades (shoreside power capabilities), maintenance works (stabilizers, propulsion units/thrusters), Navigation Bridge refurb, diesel-electrical plant upgrades, exhaust system and tanks cleaning, hull coating works
On November 15, 2018, Windstar announced the "Star Plus Initiative" - drydock refurbishment program budgeted USD 250 million. The project includes enlarging (stretching) and engine changes for fleet's three Star-Class ships - Star Breeze, Star Legend, Star Pride.
When completed, the project will result in bigger passenger capacity, adding new staterooms, venues and public spaces, also new, more efficient engines. Ship's capacity will be increased by 68% (from 212 to 312 passengers). The drydocks are scheduled for the period October 2019 through November 2020, at Fincantieri's shipyard in Palermo.
When completed, the Star Plus project will increase Windstar fleet's capacity by 24%. Star Plus Initiative is partially financed through Export Credit facility guaranteed by SACE Italy (financial and insurance products and services).
The drydock lengthening includes cutting each vessel in two and installing a new (prefabricated) midship section with length 25,6 m (84 ft). Vessel's LOA length will be increased from 135 m (443 ft) to 161 m (528).
Following drydock, each ship will have two new dining venues, new shop, new retail space; enlarged fitness, new Spa, larger swimming pool, new tender loading area (midship), two new tender boats (90-seat each), expanded and upgraded staff-crew areas and cabins. The two new dining venues are an alternative (specialty) restaurant and a casual BBQ space (adjacent to Star Bar). The midship section has an additional elevator.
Ship's current diesel engines (7 per ship) will be replaced with 4 new engines running on cleaner (ultra-low sulfur) diesel fuel, thus reducing SO emissions.
Each ship will receive 50 new cabins (to a total of 156), which (based on the total investment) means shipbuilding cost per berth USD 267,000. Among the new cabins are two larger Owner Suites. All existing staterooms will be completely refurbished, including their bathrooms, balconies, sliding doors. The new public spaces and cabins were designed by the NYC-based "The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry".
redesigning of interior public areas (to become similar to Silver Muse)
new carpeting (throughout), refurbished corridors and hallways, lounge renovations
overhauled Restaurant, Show Lounge, Library, Card and Conference Room
all staterooms upgraded, cabin balcony floors enhanced
outdoor decks renovated, their furniture replaced
2020 drydock ("Project Invictus") the vessel will receive ice-class certificate, latest-technology equipment for navigation in Arctic and Antarctic destinations, upgraded Theater Lounge, new Zodiacs and seakayaks, renovations of Spa and Salon, Atrium, Reception, La Terrazza, La Dame, Main Bar, Pool Bar, Observation Lounge, Panorama Lounge, all public WCs
All staterooms received carpets, curtains, bed mattresses, bathrooms (new rainforest showers, granite touches)
(Deck 3 and Deck 4) were added 16 new suites (connecting cabins)
All lounges were renovated (carpeting, furniture, wall treatments)
Fitness center (size doubled)
In 2018, the ship was drydocked for maintenance works done by Seaspan (Canadian shipbuilder). Among the upgrades were a new stabilizer (ducktail, on the stern), propeller repairs and polishing, blast painting of the underwater hull.