In March 2020 with just a few short weeks until proposed drydock refurbishment of P&O Azura the project was put on hold, pending the outcome of the worldwide lockdown due to Coronavirus.
The materials manufactured and procured, palletised ready for shipping were carefully categorised labelled and put into our storage facility. When the call came to bring Azura back into service pre-Christmas 2021 the Carnival UK Team and the contractors set to work refreshing their memories of the project planned more than 18 months previously.
All stored materials were quality checked, wrapped and packed and shipped to the vessel.
Dry dock took place in Hamburg and Azura made her way back to the UK to continue with her refurbishment at sea off the south coast of the UK.
This had many challenges, straight off the back of the our support of refurbishment of the prestigious Queen Mary 2 – which had just returned to service, many of the Carnival UK team, trusted contractors, and trades trans shipped straight to the vessel to minimise risk of COVID Infection, as they had already completed quarantine arrangements.
Returning the vessel to service and ensuring the guest experience was exceptional was paramount and in order to carry out the work on a tight deadline the ship was readied to sail across the Atlantic to commence service in Barbados. This came with its own challenges – ensuring that all materials and sundries were aboard for the 12 days sail.
One of the key elements in the original scope was the complete overhaul and refurbishment of the crew recreational facility known as ‘The Hub’. This was designed in 2019 by Guri Blindheim MNIL. Carnival UK felt that the returning crew and staff would benefit from the new space and the area was stripped back to the deck and bulkhead and deckheads renewed and reconfigured with Beach Hut style seating areas, a dance floor, darts area, pool table, gaming area, beverage station and bar. Along with previously stored FF&E and soft furnishings this area was given a full makeover. The finished area was to an exceptionally high standard comparable with a passenger area.
In addition multiple works were carried out in public rooms and circulation areas which included thousands of square meters of carpets and AstroTurf, wall coverings, ceramic tiling.
This refurbishment should be considered for an award due to the complexity of removing items from storage and revisiting the scope from over 20 months previously and carrying out the works in both drydock and at sea over six weeks.
This coupled with a lengthy sail from Southampton to Barbados (with no opportunity to procure last minute items) and for the ship to go directly back into service on the back of an already complex refit of Queen Mary. Many CUK Staff and contractors had not been home for 3 months or more. This award should be for everyone who worked tirelessly to give the vessel back in extenuating circumstances and to a high standard.