Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed – Refurbishing Cruise Ships

 CruiseProfessor, Meet On Cruise, Dec 20, 2011

Keeping Up With The JonesesOne of the unique challenges that cruise lines face today is not “keeping up with Joneses”, but keeping up with themselves. Each time a cruise line introduces a new ship, it arrives with new features and innovations that are not found on earlier generation fleet mates.

For Royal Caribbean, the Oasis class ships represented a huge game changer in terms of innovations. It is constant challenge for cruise line design and planning teams to develop a refurbishment strategy for the company’s older ships that recreates and incorporates the most popular innovations on new ships.

In some instances this is impossible due to the size of the newer ships, but in certain circumstances cutting edge changes have been added to all or part of pre-existing fleets. The cost for these modifications can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars so it is something that becomes a laser focus for the major lines. Let’s take a look at what is going at Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean is going to invest $300 million in order to provide new innovations as well as its highest guest-rated programs from its Oasis-class ships to the entire fleet. This revitalization is planned through 2014. They began with the Radiance of the Seas in May of 2011, and will continue with Splendor of the Seas in November of 2011. Following this in 2012, Vision-class ships will be updated starting with Rhapsody of the Seas in March, Grandeur of the Seas in May, and the Radiance-class Serenade of the Seas in November. Each ship will enter dry dock for approximately a month to be updated., with emphasis on dining venues, entertainment options, technology enhancements, and more.

Among the electronic enhancements are flat-panel televisions in staterooms, electronic mustering, pervasive Wi-Fi, and iPod docking stations. LCD touch-screen signs are also planned to be placed throughout the ship for the purpose of displaying real time destination updates and information, as well as ship factoids. Outdoor LED video walls will also be installed to enhance outdoor entertainment and programming.

Also planned is a newly-refurbished staterooms and nurseries for children aged 36 months to six years old. New dining options are also planned, which include the Chef’s Table, a five course dinner co-hosted by the executive shef; Izumi, a pan-Asian restaurant featuring a sushi bar and hot rock cooking; Chops Grille, Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse; Park Café, casual dining with gourmet salads, sandwiches, soups, and pastries; Rita’s Cantina, a casual Mexican restaurant; and the Boardwalk Doghouse, a casual grill serving brats, links, wieners, and dogs.

Additional revitalizations are planned in 2013 and 2014 on the Legend of the Seas and Vision of the Seas, as well as the four Voyager-class ships – Navigator of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas– and the Radiance-class Brilliance of the Seas.