Right People and Knowledge Key to Successful Drydocking

“The more time you have to plan, the more you can cut costs,” said Erik Schobesberger, vice president of  modernization sales and newbuilding support for ALMACO’s service division, in the 2021 Drydock Report by Cruise Industry News.

Fresh off a major galley upgrade on the Norwegian Spirit in 2020, Schobesberger said it was the biggest catering modernization project the company had done.

“They wanted a completely new catering concept to bring the ship to the same level as their recent newbuilds done at Meyer Werft,” he said. “The biggest energy savings is going to come from new equipment. New dishwashers and ovens save a lot of energy.”

 Another big recent job was adding 30 staterooms aboard the Carnival Elation to a space previously occupied by an underutilized public area.

 As the company excels in cabin block installations, costs come down for sister ships, said Schobesberger.


Where is the refit market heading in 2021?

“In the past these projects were done to improve the revenue from the ship,” explained Schobesberger, “add some more cabins and get rid of spaces that may not have been generating (meaningful revenue). When vessels start sailing again, we may see lower load factors, or restrictions on load factors … a need for less cabins           

“I see a bit of a slump when it comes to cabin projects,” he continued. “Anything that can be done at a low cost to improve yields will certainly go ahead.

“One big question mark is how many cabins will be kept for isolation purposes for cases of COVID aboard.”

Another possibility may be bigger cabins – like the project ALMACO did for Crystal Cruises – converting smaller suites into large penthouses.


A successful project starts with a large planning window.

“One of the things with modernization projects versus newbuilds – you don’t have that much time to plan,” said Schobesberger.

Drydock locations can also impact lead time as materials take longer to ship to the Bahamas for instance. And current travel restrictions are not helping to get skilled workers into certain countries.

“The more time you have planning and the more resources you have planning are key,” he said. “Just throwing people at it is not going to work but having the right people and the right core team and their knowledge is quite crucial here. It’s also very customer specific.”

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