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Damen's Azamara Onward transformation 'beyond expectations'

Azamara Onward in Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam's largest dry dock
Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam's transformation of Pacific Princess into Azamara Onward exceeded expectations, an Azamara official said.

The cruise line selected Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam following an extensive comparative analysis of European yards, according to Azamara's Nico Corbijn, head of marine operations.

$55m investment

'With an estimated investment of approximately $55 million, it was very important for us to identify a yard that could provide not only the technical expertise and know-how for this large project, but also offer logistical support for the outfitting companies and their teams that would be attending the ship daily,' Corbijn said.

'Despite the supply chain and labor challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Damen delivered beyond our expectations. The yard team’s collaborative spirit and “can-do” attitude made this refit a technical success, and a reason for us to return to Amsterdam for future engagements.'

1999-built ship

The ship was built as R3 for Renaissance Cruises in 1999 and acquired from Princess Cruises by Sycamore Partners for Azamara in 2021.

The 180-meter/591-foot vessel was berthed alongside at the Amsterdam yard from August 2021 for an upgrade of all cabins and suites and the addition of spa suites and terrace rooms. Restaurants were upgraded and a new bar was created.

Steel work

From mid-March through April 2022, Onward was in Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam's largest dry dock where technical and marine conversion was performed. This involved steel work for the reconstruction of deck arrangements and balcony structures to create the additional suites, some with their own Jacuzzi baths. This steel work took place on Decks 8 and 9, where the spa is also located. Steel reinforcements were placed to support the spa pools and installations.

Tanks, piping, environmental overhauls

Tanks for ballast water and fuel oil were restructured to accommodate bunkering larger volumes of marine grade diesel. The work included a lot of piping throughout the vessel and the engine room. The gray water tanks and the tanktop were replaced. The stabilizers were overhauled and the shaft seals were replaced. Thrusters were upgraded to allow for the use of environmentally acceptable lubricants. The tailshaft and the propeller seal were replaced.

The hull was cleaned and painted in the Azamara livery. The steel logo on the top side was taken off and replaced with the Azamara logo.

Complicated logistical planning

Performing all of these interior, exterior and technical upgrades in limited time required complicated logistical planning and strict schedules.

'It was challenging to organize all the operations to be performed in time and in a manner that steel work does not interfere with decorative jobs,' said Project Manager Colin Husslage of Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam. 'We managed to deliver the ship to its proud new owner at the date agreed, so Azamara can have it in full service during the 2022 season.'

Azamara Onward has been sailing in the Mediterranean since late April. Naming festivities were held in Monte Carlo May 2.