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Cruise makeovers benefit Italian yards

20 Nov 2011
The newly acquired Saga cruiseship ‘Bleu de France’ is currently undergoing a refit at the Fincantieri Palermo yard

The newly acquired Saga cruiseship ‘Bleu de France’ is currently undergoing a refit at the Fincantieri Palermo yard

Fincantieri has been awarded an extensive refit and refurbishment project for the newly acquired Saga cruiseship, the 37,301gt ‘Bleu de France’, built in 1981 by Bremer Vulkan in Germany for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises as the ‘Europa’.

The work is being carried out at the Fincantieri Palermo yard and includes refurbishment of all public areas and spaces, the addition of a significant number of new passenger cabins, the complete refurbishment of the existing cabins and a new balcony deck.

Other jobs include overhaul and repair work of the main power plant along with some steel and pipework replacement. The vessel will be dry-docked while repairs to the external hull and all underwater work, such as painting, tailshaft, rudder and propeller maintenance, will be undertaken.

On completion of the work, expected in February 2012, the ship will be renamed the Saga Sapphire and begin its inaugural cruise in March. Commenting on the contract, Saga Cruising CEO Robin Shaw said: “The multi-million pound refit will ensure that Saga Sapphire is magnificent throughout, adding a theme of elegant and eclectic nostalgia to our classic cruising experience. Saga Sapphire will be the largest Saga ship to date, but will retain the intimate atmosphere and the quality of service that our passengers have come to expect.”

Fincantieri Palermo says that the Bleu de France refurbishment project to has continued to maintain its position as the leading centre for cruise ship repair and refurbishment in the central Mediterranean region. Over the next few months the Palermo yard will be working on five further major cruise repair and conversion projects.

Costa refurbishment

Costa Cruises has contracted the San Giorgio del Porto shipyard in Genoa, Italy, for a major renovation of the 53,000gt, 1,697-passenger cruise ship Costa Romantica.

Costa, a Carnival Corporation brand, is investing about €90million in what it is calling a ‘restyling’ of the ship, which entered service in 1993. San Giorgio del Porto shipyard, a division of Genova Industrie Navali Holding Company, will be supported by its sister company, T. Mariotti shipyard.

The renovation work was started in October and is scheduled to be completed by mid February when the vessel will be renamed Costa neoRomantica. The refurbishment includes construction of new public areas developed by Sweden’s Tillberg Design. Two new half-decks will be added along with 111 new cabins, and 120 cabins and suites with private balconies.

Images for this article - click to enlarge

The newly acquired Saga cruiseship ‘Bleu de France’ is currently undergoing a refit at the Fincantieri Palermo yard Artist impression of the restyled ‘Costa neoRomantica’

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