When it comes to cruise ships, the belief can often be that newer is better.  With companies regularly investing in building bigger and better ships, there can be a sense that the longer a ship has been in service, the less it can offer.

But new cruise ships take years, and many, many millions of dollars, to build.  The cruise industry just can’t afford to pour all of its resources into new ships, while leaving its older vessels out-of-date.  Especially when older vessels are still in excellent condition and have years left to serve.

Add to the mix a new global focus on the environment, and now, the cruise industry is turning to the practical approach of remodeling old ships to offer state-of-the-art service, at a fraction of the cost of building new.

Reinventing, Rebuilding and Reinvigorating

Royal Caribbean recently remodeled its Enchantment of the Seas, literally stretching the ship out to make it bigger.  At eight years old, Enchantment could no longer compete with the newer mega-ships.  So Royal Caribbean literally cut the ship in half and added a whole new section into the middle.  This added more than 150 new staterooms and a variety of new public areas to the ship’s size, and gave the company the chance to refurbish, upgrade and enhance existing restaurants, bars and amenities.

The entire process took only a fraction of the time it would take to build a new ship, and compare the cost of $60 million to the nearly $800 million the company spent to build the new Freedom of the Seas and it’s easy to see why remodeling makes sense.

Celebrity Cruises has had an aggressive remodeling plan in place for several years, upgrading services and public areas on many new ships.

Carnival’s Glory has also just returned to service after its extensive remodeling.  It now features a Serenity adults-only retreat with two over-sized whirlpools and a full bar, a newly installed Seaside Theater, a Mongolian wok restaurant, and a new facility for kids aged 12-14.  Glory also added nearly 20 new balconies to existing ocean view staterooms.

In addition to the upgrading of size and facilities, a number of cruise lines are taking advantage of remodeling to make their ships more environmentally friendly.  The industry has faced criticism over the years for its negative impact on the environment, and remodeling has provided companies with the perfect opportunity to make adjustments.

Disney is upgrading the sewage treatment on all its ships, and Princess has spent millions on reducing greenhouse gas emission from its vessels.  Cruise lines are also spending millions on power upgrades at ports including Juneau, Seattle and Los Angeles, so ships no longer have to burn fuel while docked.

So, when you’re booking your next cruise, don’t think that you have to scramble for a room on the newest ship in the fleet.  Many cruise lines have poured millions into making sure that their older vessels offer just as many amenities, and just as much size and luxury as the newer ships.  So you can expect to enjoy state-of-the-art facilities and technology on any ship, no matter what its age.

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