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Published in: Cruise News

Columbia Cruise Services provides a variety of services to cruise brands, including managing drydocks and refits.

Managing ships ranging from medium-sized contemporary vessels to small expedition ships, CCS is uniquely structured, according to the 2019 Drydocking and Refurbishment Report by Cruise Industry News.

“I have created little fleets,” said Olaf Groeger, managing director, Columbia Cruise Services (CCS).. “Each vessel has a superintendent (vessel manager) who is ultimately responsible for that ship, and is the point of contact for the client.”

There is also a dedicated purchasing manager. Depending on the scope of the job, CCS will bring in a paint surveyor, junior superintendent and marine superintendent.

"We could dock six or seven ships at once; it wouldn’t phase me,” Groeger added.

Drydockings are generally planned on a five-year cycle, according to Groeger. With a diverse fleet, ships are out of the water every one to two and a half years, he said.

While most of the dollars are still spent on hotel upkeep and upgrades, CCS has partnered with its clients to embrace big data, and install complex engine monitoring systems to drive fuel savings.

Those monitoring systems include torque and flow meters. Each batch of fuel is now analyzed in a laboratory.

“We can now tweak the engines on a daily basis, considering the type and specifics of the fuel,” said Groeger. “We can monitor this from our office, see what the chief engineer is doing, and discuss it with the vessel superintendent before we start burning a new batch of fuel.”

While planning happens on a five-year refit cycle, CCS works closely with clients years out to plan where and when the ships will be available, helping optimize deployment and itinerary planning around drydocking periods.

“We talk to yards constantly, review performance and visit them. We come up with suitable timing for the owners to avoid peak seasons and deviation as little as possible.”

Groeger is not worried about lack of drydock space with a growing cruise fleet, as he expects many of the new-to-cruise newbuilding yards to also go after the refit market in coming years.


Go inside the world of cruise ship drydocking and refurbishment with the 2019 Cruise Industry News Drydocking and Refurbishment Report, presenting a 100-page overview of the $3 billion annual cruise ship drydock and refit market including a full 2019, 2020, 2021 estimated drydocking scheduled based on available data and research.

The report offers interviews with key drydocking executives from cruise lines, suppliers and shipyards, as well as case studies, trend reports and much more.

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