Planning Years in Advance

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There is no standard docking for a cruise ship, except regulatory and statutory required works. Each and every project is different.

BSM Cruise Services

By the time a ship has left drydock, plans for the next drydocking have already begun, according to senior management at BSM (Bernhard Schulte) Cruise Services. A detailed list of what’s to be done at that next period out of water takes shape a full year in advance.

“There is no standard docking for a cruise ship, except regulatory and statutory required works. Each and every project is different, therefore good communication and collaboration with all stakeholders, and especially the owner, is always very important,” said Les Royle, president of BSM Cruise Services, and Martin Springer, managing director, in a written exchange with Cruise Industry News.

“We keep the information flow as transparent as possible, and the ship owner always has access to operational, technical and financial information. We allow access to this information using our in-house software called LiveFleet developed by the Schulte Group’s own software development company MariApps Marine Solutions. This transparency leads to open and constant communication, which is very important for a successful collaboration.”

Converting the Prinsendam into the Amera, Bernhard Schulte oversaw the project.


BSM Cruise Services manages five ocean-going cruise ships, handling technical and crew management services. As a whole, Schulte Group oversees around 600 ships and owns 90, Royle and Springer said.

They said accumulated expertise, shipyard negotiations and purchasing in economies of scale allow for 20-to-30 percent savings on maintenance and repair bills. Partnering with another shipping firm, Schulte Group established General Procurement Company Limited (GenPro) in 2018.

“By utilizing the scale and scope of combining the procurement volumes of multiple large fleets, GenPro obtains the leverage to achieve prices decidedly better than obtainable by any single fleet of vessels alone. As well as achieving lower list prices for our customers, GenPro will collect volume rebates from suppliers and forward all of them without any deductions to the managers who in turn will credit the owners,” they said.

The conversion took six weeks.


As the shipping industry has undergone a philosophical shift, embracing efforts to improve vessel’s energy efficiency has become a big topic, Royle and Springer said.

“This refers both to the hydrodynamic efficiency of the hull form and propellers, and to efficiency of propulsion and electric power generating plant.”

We keep the information flow as transparent as possible and the ship owner always has access to operational, technical and financial information.

BSM Cruise Services

Efforts and developments in improving vessel’s efficiency are driven not only by economic factors, but also by continuously growing environmental awareness and expectations.

“Hence, not only SOx, NOx, CO2, fine dust emissions, but also noise pollution are on the agenda,” they said. “We have no doubts that the cruise industry, due to the nature and trading pattern, can be a leader in the shipping sector defining modern and environmentally friendly trends and solutions,” they added.

Trends along these lines include navigation assistance systems that increase safety, voyage efficiency, security and improve work load management on the bridge; ecofriendly coatings (like silicone paints) and anti-fouling systems using ultrasonic technologies; telemetric systems that use big data to enhance efficiency; and electronic support for emergency procedures.

The company’s wishlist for future trends are mostly administrative: Reduction of administrative burdens by the IMO; the worldwide acceptance of electronic logbooks; and a global supply of biofuel.

“Trends we are dreading to see: insecurity regarding national and local rules and regulations, such as changes on short notice,” they said.

Article and interview by Cruise Industry News, January 2020.