- News and Press
The 15-year old 12,499gt Minerva, formerly, Alexander von Humboldt, Saga Pearl and Explorer 11, arrived at the Lloyd Werft yard in Bremerhaven on 7 December and is undergoing an extensive conversion lasting 83 days. Minerva's owner, Arctica Adventure & Cruise Shipping, is having the 135m long cruise ship adapted to take advantage of strong demand in the adventure cruise sector, especially in the UK market.
For Lloyd Werft's managing director Rüdiger Pallentin, this is a key project. He says:" This comprehensive and expensive job is, above all else, a symbol of the competence of Lloyd Werft in this complex field." The main scope of work includes extensive remodeling on Deck 9, which is being made wider and is getting a new superstructure. There will also be major changes on Deck 8, where 20 suites are being enlarged and balconies added, while 12 cabins are being upgraded with balconies.
On Deck 5, six cabins are giving way to a new beauty and fitness centre, while a sauna is being taken out of operation so that the area covered by the Shackleton Bar can be extended. The Promenade Deck on Deck 8 is being lengthened to create more sunbathing areas for passengers and the docking program me also includes the renovation of the bathrooms in 150 standard cabins which will, at the same time, also get improved air-conditioning units.
However, the work being undertaken at Lloyd Werft does not only involve improvements to passenger comfort. A significant part of the project relates to the technical parts of the ship. Two new crankshafts complete with propellers are being fitted while the Minerva is in dock, and this work is being carried out in conjunction with the installation of the Rolls Royce Promas integrated propeller and rudder system, designed to optimize water flow between propellers and rudders and thereby reduce fuel consumption. The existing stern thruster on the ship is also scheduled to be removed and replaced with a new Voith stern thruster unit. Minerva will furthermore receive a new external outfit, and when she sails from the yard towards the end of February she will be sporting a new royal blue livery.
Last year was a good one for the Lloyd Werft in the cruise ship sector, with the yard docking a total of even cruise ships, including Minerva. The other cruise ship visitors during the year were Albatross, Amadea, Artania, Black Watch, Marco Polo, and Mein Schiff 2. A similar number of cruise ship projects are envisioned for 2012 as well
Pallentin says: "A highlight of 2011 was the handling of four vessels - Albatros, Black Watch, Marco Polo and Minerva - more or less one after the other and partly in parallel, over the course of November and December. With our proven project management skills and logistics capabilities we were able to handle all these vessels without any delay."
Lloyd Werft is planning some major investments to keep pace with market trends in the cruise sector. As Pallentin points out: " There are some projects in the market, regarding the refurbishment of larger cruise vessels, which are at present to large for our existing docks. We still plan to install in the next 2-3 years a larger dock to accommodate such vessels, but the timing of the investment is subject to an improvement in the shipping market.