Bolidt has extended its range of composite decking for cruise ship balconies to offer a new option for owners and shipyards looking to replace conventional teaks where cost is the key constraint.
The Dutch specialist in synthetic products and systems has patented the ‘Smart Balcony’, formed of a series of composite ‘planks’ that can be interlinked and installed to cover a standard balcony in under 15 minutes by just two persons, without any noise, smell or mess. Smart Balcony is offered as an alternative to the liquid-pouring product ‘Future Teak’, whose uptake has seen Bolidt establish a commanding position in strategic cruise shipbuilding markets.
Teak cruise ship balconies are notoriously difficult and costly to service, and liquid-poured techniques using synthetic decking remain a major step forward. However, the Smart Balcony alternative is distinguished by the shorter application time required and thus lower cost when a ship is in drydock. Critically, renovation can also be carried out during a cruise.
Smart Balcony can be installed during a voyage either by a riding squad or by trained crew members. The materials can be carried by two men through the ship and installed while the cabin is unoccupied, for example while the passengers are on a shore visit.
Bolidt Shipbuilding Division Global Director Jacco van Overbeek says: “Balcony renovation is a well-known problem in the cruise sector. Renewing traditional teak balconies is the problem. Liquid poured balconies by Bolidt are still a solid and proven system, but Smart Balcony system is our latest innovation, saving sanding and drying times. We believe that Smart Balcony offers the cruise industry a new alternative to what has been a difficult maintenance problem for many years.”
Smart Balcony has been developed in response to requests from a number of cruise lines already using Bolidt decking systems. “Our customers asked us for a product that would reduce installation times and help keep their ships in service longer,” says Jacco. “Smart Balcony offers a number of other advantages. For example it is much easier to clean and maintain than liquid systems and the crew can replace any damaged planks themselves in a matter of minutes. Smart Balcony is much harder wearing than traditional systems. It is also designed to meet stringent anti-slip standards, conforming to DIN 51097 and DIN EN 13451.”
For a complete vessel refit, Bolidt will deliver a Smart Balcony pack measured to fit each balcony onboard. Jacco says: “We will provide the riding squad with training in advance and offer onboard training to crew members for repairs during a voyage.” The standard dimensions of the Smart Balcony sections are 3m x 20mm x 100mm, weighing 1.4kg/m. Bolidt recently carried out a trial installation of Smart Balcony on Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)’s Norwegian Sun, covering four balconies. Owner feedback has been positive and discussions are underway covering a more extensive project. A trial installation has also been agreed with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL).
Bolidt is evaluating the potential for adapting Smart Balcony for other refit applications, including sun deck terraces on ferries and smaller river cruise deck areas.