LEADING INTERNATIONAL MARITIME MAGAZINE

Mutual respect ensures Bolidt partnership with NCL continues to thrive

The longstanding relationship between Bolidt Synthetic Products and Systems and Norwegian Cruise Lines is being further strengthened, as the Dutch marine flooring and decking company works its way through seven significant ship projects.

Work in hand includes the newbuilds Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Encore, and refits for Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Jewel and Pride of America.

The 323m long, 4,000-passenger capacity Norwegian Bliss is nearing completion at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, with service entry set for July, when she will join sister ship, Norwegian Joy, which was delivered in 2017.

Norwegian Bliss will sail with an extensive package of deck materials from Bolidt, including around 6,700m2 of the super-tough Bolideck Select Hard, which will mainly be used as an underlying surface on steel balconies throughout the vessel. Also used extensively is Bolideck Select Soft, a synthetic system that has high anti-skid properties and is easy to clean. Around 8,900m2 of Bolideck Select Soft has been used in various areas onboard.

Bolidt’s Future Teak, an environmentally-friendly synthetic alternative to natural teak, has been a popular choice on many recent cruise vessels, and Norwegian Bliss is no exception. Approximately 5,575m2 of Bolideck Future Teak has been installed to cover most of the cabin balconies and some high profile public spaces. Several balconies onboard Norwegian Bliss have also been fitted with Bolideck Future Teak as part of Bolidt’s Smart Balcony system - a concept using composite interlinked planks, which are easier and quicker to install, and repair, than poured materials.

One of the ‘stand-out’ features of Norwegian Bliss is its Ferrari-themed racetrack. This has already proved to be an immensely popular attraction on Norwegian Joy, and NCL has worked with Bolidt to install the world’s second racetrack at sea, this time around 30% longer. For the 300m-long track on Norwegian Bliss, Bolidt is once again supplying Bolideck Racetrack, a synthetic material based on established road surfacing technology, that has been modified to ensure suitable levels of durability and slip resistance for racing karts.

Bolidt has also been contracted to supply a similar package, including Bolideck Racetrack, to the next in the series, Norwegian Encore. This sister vessel is under construction at Meyer Werft and is due for delivery in the summer of 2019.

Jacco van Overbeek, Director, Maritime Division, Bolidt, says: “We are delighted to have been chosen to work on the Norwegian Bliss and Encore projects. NCL is extremely pleased with the systems we are supplying, which fully meet their exacting requirements for durability and quality.”

Bolidt is also gearing up to mobilise men and materials to help with upcoming NCL fleet upgrades, which include refurbishing balconies, replacing teak and other surfaces with Future Teak, and installation of Bolideck Select Soft in public spaces.

The 2,400-passenger capacity Norwegian Sun, originally built in 2001, is due to enter drydock in Victoria, Canada, at the end of March this year, and the Bolidt team will be onboard in the weeks leading up to and during the drydock period.

Other refits at the planning stage include the 2,400-passenger capacity Norwegian Star (originally SuperStar Libra, delivered in 2000) which is due for a drydock period in Marseille in May this year; the 2011-built, 3,900-passenger capacity Norwegian Breakaway, which will be drydocked in Brest towards the end of April; and the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Jewel, delivered in 2005, which is due for a three-week long refit in Singapore in October-November this year. In addition to these drydock refits, a Bolidt riding squad is onboard the 2,500-passenger capacity Pride of America, carrying out a series of at-sea upgrades.

Where existing teak is being replaced onboard these NCL ships, Bolidt will be installing large quantities of prefabricated Future Teak, to speed up the installation process. Van Overbeek notes that on some of the older NCL ships, it will be the Bolideck 1500 that was installed when the vessels were first built that is being replaced with Bolideck Future Teak, demonstrating both the durability of the older system and the attractions of the newer alternative.

Sime Utkovic, Senior Director Technical Operations, NCL says, “We greatly value our longstanding relationship with Bolidt, which currently extends to all of the ships in our fleet. We tend to involve them from an early stage of our newbuild and refit projects, as their ideas and expertise are always invaluable in delivering what we envision. Moreover, Bolidt has demonstrated on many occasions that it can successfully deliver large-scale projects, on schedule, with products that are visually attractive, durable and easy to maintain.”

While the current workload for NCL is substantial, there is more in the pipeline, demonstrating the durability of the relationship between customer and supplier. The partners are working together on several new concepts, including improved and more environmentally-friendly maintenance techniques, and the possible future use of prefabricated coatings, to eliminate the need for steel and the potential for corrosion.