Saga Ruby and Braemar at Lloyd WerftLloyd Werft Bremerhaven AG is experiencing another end-of-year rush – but that’s regularly par for the course at the German shipyard.

Three big cruise ships are in Bremerhaven in the coming days and weeks to be spruced up for the 2013 cruise season. They are the Braemar and the Balmoral, belonging to new customer Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, and Saga’s Saga Ruby, better know to the yard as Cunard’s Caronia.

In the meantime Cunard’s Queen Victoria has returned to passenger service. That came after the original contract was extended to include the additional installation of a new type of exhaust gas cleaning plant or scrubber. It was the first such installation ever carried out by Lloyd Werft on a cruise ship.

Another first was the docking at Lloyd Werft of the Braemar on November 11 and the acquisition of her owner Fred Olsen Cruise Lines as a new customer. The ship was docked up to November 21st for extensive maintenance and repair including the complete overhaul of her stabilizers and the removal of both rudders.

The funnel deck on the cruise ship, built in Valencia in 1993, was also being doubled in size. Work was carried out on the ship’s piping system and steel works were also undertaken.

"The time-table for this extensive package of work is a tight one. But that’s nothing new for us", said Lloyd Werft Management Board Member Rüdiger Pallentin. He was particularly pleased the yard had acquired a new customer - an owner perhaps better known to date on the Elbe than on the Weser. Pallentin was even happier because Fred Olsen had sent a second ship to Bremerhaven straight after the first.

The Balmoral was due at the yard on December 4th. She was completed in 1988 at Meyer Werft as the Crown Odyssey for Royal Cruise Line, then served with NCL as the Norwegian Crown and was lengthened in 2007 by 20 meters. Since 2008 she has served with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines as the Balmoral.

The yard was given just eight days to complete classification work on the ship. It was however also covering the installation of a catwalk, the exchange of main engine bearings and the dismantling, overhaul and reassembly of the double rudder plant. The Balmoral is also getting a new coat of paint before leaving the yard December 12th for her next cruise.

The Saga Ruby docked in Lloyd Werft’s big Kaiser Dock on November 15th. She is better known to the yard as Cunard’s Caronia. Saga Shipping Corporation, a subsidiary of the English insurance concern Acromas Holidays, bought the cruise liner in 2004. The Saga Ruby, built in 1973, made a name for herself as the dream cruise ship Vistafjord and was for two years the main participant in the first of a series of popular German TV shows of that name.

Lloyd Werft has until the start of December to complete a comprehensive catalogue of class, repair and maintenance work on the Saga Ruby. The repairs in particular will take up a lot of time. They include the renewal of pipe work, the maintenance of pump, valves and fire-fighting equipment, steel repairs and the repair of cracks to superstructure supports and windows. Other scheduled work will be the cleaning of 16 tanks, the exchange of a generator and the cleaning and conservation of the hull of the Saga Ruby. On December 4th the ship will take passengers on board again in England for another cruise.