Royal Caribbean has received permission for two of its cruise ships to remain in warm layup in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) confirmed last week that ‘Rhapsody of the Seas’ and ‘Grandeur of the Seas’ (pictured) had been given permission for technical calls and warm lay-ups in Tortola.
Strict health and safety rules were agreed to by both the Port Authority and the cruise line, which will allow the ships to remain in the BVI starting on 11th January, 2021 for an initial period of 30 days for a warm lay-up, according to an RCI blog.
Neither ship will have passengers on board. The purpose of this agreement is to enable the ships to remain in port and refuel, take on provisions and spare parts, and possibly other services.
Acting Managing Director, Oleanvine Maynard, said; “Crew members will not be allowed to disembark and there is no access to vessels from shore-based staff during stays in the BVI.”
This agreement will allow RCI to undertake necessary maintenance and address technical concerns, while the BVI will reap economic benefits.
The BVIPA said it believed that maintaining a link with and continuing to service the cruise industry in the safe manner proposed with technical calls/warm lay-ups can be a vital part of the re-booting strategy.
When cruise ships are not in use, they are either in warm or cold lay-up.
The decision to send a ship into cold lay-up depends on the long term plans the company has for the ship.
RCI presented the plans to the BVIPA about what the ships will do and other details pertaining to a warm lay-up.
RCI Group Vice President of Worldwide Operations, Hernan Zini, said the ships will be carrying out refuelling, repairs and start-up activities.
All of the company’s ships are in a state of warm lay-up, which means the ships can return to service quickly as the machinery, lifesaving equipment and navigational equipment are all well-kept and up to date.
The engine department and deck department remain almost fully manned in a warm lay-up.
Cold lay-ups save money in the short term, but it takes longer to put the ship back into service once the cruise line wants to reactivate her, RCI explained.
However, when a ship goes into cold lay-up, many of the mechanical systems are taken offline, with just the bare essentials left online to preserve the ship.
A prolonged cold lay-up can even go as far as to preserve sections of the ship by hermetically sealing off rooms.