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Cruise Feature Article
Update on S.O.L.A.S. Rules

Maryann Novajosky

As you may or may not know, October 1, 1997, is the deadline for implementation of the 1992 amendments to SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) 1974. Most North American cruise lines have either done the ship modifications necessary or have firm upgrade plans in place.

The major elements of SOLAS due in October 1997 include: installation of a smoke detection and alarm system in all accommodation and service spaces, stairway enclosures and corridors; heat detectors installed in galleys; smoke detectors in stairways and corridors; low-level lighting; sprinkler systems in accommodation and service spaces, stairway enclosures and corridors; a general alarm system with a specific sound pressure level in all passenger, crew and open decks; and improvement of galley exhaust ducts to SOLAS 1974 standards.

The status of the North American cruise fleet, as reported in the Winter 1996/97 issue of Cruise Industry News Quarterly follows:

American Hawaii Cruises: The Independence is scheduled to undergo upgrades to SOLAS during her regularly-slated drydocking May 17-June 14. Estimated cost is $2 million.

Carnival Cruise Lines: All ships from the 1982 Tropicale to the 1996 Carnival Destiny are already in compliance. The Celebration and earlier-built ships still required re-fitting for low-level lighting and smoke alarms. Work is ongoing and will be completed during regularly scheduled drydockings.

Celebrity Cruises: The Horizon, and Zenith both need to be re-fitted for low-level lighting and smoke detection systems. Estimated cost is $3 - $5 million per ship.

Commodore Cruise Lines: Both ships (the Enchanted Isle and Universe Explorer) require a minor amount of SOLAS work. No re-fit schedule has been announced.

Costa Cruise Lines: All of Costa's ships are presently in compliance with SOLAS (except the Eugenio Costa, which it does not own, and the Daphne, which is scheduled to leave the fleet).

Crystal Cruises: Minor work is needed on both Crystal ships and is being done on an ongoing basis to meet the October deadline.

Cunard Line: The Queen Elizabeth 2 received her SOLAS upgrading during her recent drydocking. Minor to moderate work is required on the other Cunard ships, at a cost ranging from $400,000 to $2.5 million per ship. Work is expected to be completed by mid-year.

Dolphin Cruise Line: All three ships (SeaBreeze, OceanBreeze, and IslandBreeze) require upgrading, moderate for the OceanBreeze and substantial for the SeaBreeze and IslandBreeze). Estimated total cost is $6 million. Although no schedule for upgrading has been announced, work is expected to be finished by September 1997.

Holland America Line: HAL's newer ships require moderate work, primarily low-level lighting and smoke detectors. Upgrading is being done during regular drydocks. The Rotterdam V will be retired in September, in part due to the extensive SOLAS work that would have been required.

Majesty Cruise Line: SOLAS work at an estimated $600,000 is underway on the Royal Majesty.

Norwegian Cruise Line: All NCL ships currently comply with the SOLAS mandates, with the Norway the last ship upgraded.

Orient Lines: The Marco Polo meets SOLAS requirements.

Premier Cruise Lines: No date has been set for the estimated $6 million upgrade needed to the Oceanic. The Atlantic was made SOLAS ready last November (this ship was recently sold by Premier's parent company and will leave the fleet in May 1997).

Princess Cruises: The Sun Princess and Dawn Princess were built to the new SOLAS specifications. The remainder of the fleet has been undergoing upgrading on an ongoing basis since September 1992 and will be completed by the deadline.

Radisson Seven Seas Cruises: The Song of Flower will undergo a $75,000 upgrade. The cost to upgrade the Radisson Diamond is estimated at $100,000. Low-level lighting is needed on both ships, and the Song of Flower needs a sprinkler system. All work was scheduled to be completed in December 1996.

Renaissance Cruises: Minor work is needed on all vessels and is scheduled to be completed by the deadline.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line: The new Vision-class ships all meet the SOLAS guidelines. Minor work is needed to the Monarch of the Seas and the Majesty of the Seas; moderate work is needed on RCCL's other ships. SOLAS work will be done during regular drydocking with the Sovereign of the Seas the first completed this past December 1996.

Royal Olympic: SOLAS upgrades were done on the Stella Solaris and Odysseus in November 1996. Upgrading of the Oceanis, Orpheus, Triton, and Olympic was scheduled for January and February 1997.

Seabourn Cruise Line: All ships are currently in compliance.

Seawind Cruise Line: Upgrading has been done on an ongoing basis and is scheduled for completion by the deadline.

Silversea Cruise Line: Both ships require moderate work, including low-level lighting, at an estimated cost of $200,000 per ship. The Silver Wind was scheduled to undergo her upgrade in Singapore in January; the Silver Cloud is scheduled to undergo her upgrade in Genoa in May.

Windstar Cruises: The Wind Star was scheduled to have work completed in Martinique in December 1996. The Wind Spirit was upgraded in Athens in October 1995; the Wind Song was upgraded in Tahiti in January.

Maryann Novajosky is a CompuServe Cruise Forum Staff Member and a frequent contributor to The SeaLetter. She is the owner of Free Spirit Cruises and Tours in Rahway, New Jersey and publisher of the Semi-monthly Newsletter Cruise.Vacation.Station. Mayann can be reached at: WTRW38A@prodigy.com.

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