Dutch company Bolidt Synthetic Products & Systems has reported its busiest year yet in the maritime sector, having undertaken a wide array of large-scale cruise refit projects. However, in the course of the work the company has also noted a tendency towards increasingly short drydock stays, creating challenges for installation – particularly in the case of larger vessels.
According to Bolidt, up to 40% of its activity in the cruise sector now comprises refits. The company cites five major projects completed so far this year: Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas and Mariner, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Star and Norwegian Sun, and Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Pursuit.
The latter was subject to a ‘major overhaul’ by Bolidt at Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, conducted in tandem with the local turnkey contractor MJM Group. Bolidt was responsible for decking upgrade work, which on this project and many others is often undertaken at significant scale, encompassing all decks, galleys, balconies, and leisure facilities.
Large scale cruise refit jobs can require more than 15,000m2 of material, most commonly Bolidt’s Select Soft flooring and Future Teak decking, which require specialist installation. However, the increasingly restrictive timescales for drydocking – sometimes less than a month – have necessitated a two-pronged response of workforce embellishment and the application of innovative installation techniques, says the company.
Bolidt’s maritime division director Jacco van Overbeek explains: “We have risen to this challenge by increasing our pool of specialist installers and by […] promoting employees with the aptitude and a willingness to learn about the practical side of the cruise refit market.”
When it comes to ease and speed of installation methods, Bolidt has been utilising prefabrication, says Van Overbeek: “In areas where the complexity of installation in liquid form is simply too great for us to pursue traditional pouring methods we have developed innovative, practical applications for resin decking compounds, wherever accessibility for traditional materials, such as teak and tiles, has become prohibitive.”
Rising to the challenge of greater time pressures has seen Bolidt secure a continued programme of work in the cruise refit space onwards in 2019. Bookings include sister ships Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Millennium, Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, and Carnival Triumph, amongst others