Company Name: The Deluxe Group

Specific Team: Marine Fit-Out Team

I am nominating The Deluxe Group for Outfitting Team of the Year as they demonstrate excellence in everything they do. They always find innovative solutions to overcome difficult challenges and adapt to ever-changing circumstances with the greatest of ease and constantly display a positive attitude and strong work ethic.

A prime example of this was displayed when working on a recent fit-out project for Marella Cruises. This project was a complete refurbishment of an indoor swimming pool and dining venue to transform the Greco-Roman themed space into a more flexible, causal, relaxed space with a modern beach club vibe.

This was a unique refit as not only did the project take place under very strict Covid-19 protocols but the complete refurbishment took place while Discovery was out of service, at anchor off the south coast of the UK. Both of these elements provided unique challenges for the team to overcome.

Access to the ship during the initial planning phase of the project was limited to protect both the crew and contractors so the team adapted to the situation by employing innovative digital technology to remotely plan the project. This included 3D scanning the space to capture photorealistic 3D images and accurate measurements to create a digital twin which was able to be used for pre-visualisations as well as for manufacturing bespoke items.

The team was able to add value to the project for the client by including the use of lightweight composite materials such as honeycomb aluminium to replace heavier materials which had been installed during the original build. The use of lightweight materials improves durability and facilitates a more sustainable refit as it helps reduce the overall weight of the ship, allowing less fuel to be used and helping to reduce carbon emissions.

Due to global supply issues of certain products and materials the procurement team actively sourced alternatives and created supply chain contingency plans to minimise risk to the completion of the project while at the same time ensuring all products would be able to withstand the demanding marine conditions as well as the humidity of an indoor swimming pool.

While onboard during the refit, the team adapted to the new Covid-19 working practises and contingency plans with ease which included wearing masks, distancing, designated access routes, twice-daily temperature checks, regular testing, team tracking and isolation in their individual cabins from 7pm to 7am to ensure the safety of everyone onboard. The team’s positive approach and cheerful outlook to these strict and unprecedented working conditions contributed to the success of the project.

Co-ordination with sub-contractors was crucial and the team-work exhibited was exemplary to complete the project no matter what challenges transpired, either onboard or from external sources (including ever changing government guidelines and travel restrictions in relation to Covid-19). Successful collaboration was demonstrated by the integration of a prototype programmable LED lighting system into the space to provide different light moods for daytime and evening to really create the perfect beach club ambience as well saving energy.

Working ‘at anchor’ was a new concept for the team as they were previously used to refurbishments at dry docks so this included some quite complicated logistics as well as the unpredictable British winter weather and called for a flexible approach to daily plans and some strong sea legs at times! The onboard team was attentively supported by colleagues at HQ in Northern Ireland who made sure everyone and everything was in the correct location at the correct time.

The success of this project provides an example of the ever-positive attitude of The Deluxe Group outfitting team and their ability to find creative solutions to any challenge and complete the most demanding projects on time and on budget. This is perhaps aptly summarised by a testimonial from a client:

“Deluxe have completed several complex projects across our fleet over the last few years. They always work closely with us to ensure our concepts are fully developed into a design that will withstand the rigors of a marine environment. The team go above and beyond, often thinking outside the box, to deliver projects on time and on budget. They have proven to be unflappable during our latest project which has been completed with the vessel out of service, at anchor, under the most stringent conditions due to the current pandemic. Deluxe were able to adapt to all of these challenges to ensure that they delivered a successful project for us.”

Andrew Menzies, head of technical operations at Marella Cruises.

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