Cruise lines are quickly familiarizing themselves with three lay up scenarios based on best practices from the offshore and tanker industries.
They are hot, warm and cold lay ups.
So far, lines have opted for hot lay ups, meaning a full complement of deck and engine crew, the ship located close to regular itinerary options, and being ready to return to service at a moment’s notice.
The hot lay up scenario envisions a return to service within a few months. Certificates are kept current but operational costs are reduced.
A warm lay up option has vessel crewing reduced, and routine maintenance reduced while essential machinery is kept in operation. The timeline scenario for a warm lay up is for a period of up to 12 months out of service. Cruise lines may have a challenge finding ports granting permission for warm lay ups due to local restrictions.
Finally, a more extreme measure may be a cold lay up, with a ship out of service for several years. Vessel crewing is reduced to the bare minimum for fire, flood and security monitoring. The best berth option for cold lay up would be a cost efficient remote area, preferably in cooler water to limit growth on the hull. Reentering service would most likely require a lengthy stay in a drydock.
Other factors include local weather conditions, emissions regulations, security and shoreside infrastructure to provision the ship.