Anyone who has ever been a part of a construction project knows how crucial it is to finish every stage on time to maintain the set schedule. Parts and components must arrive on time, and every person must keep a decent pace in their work. But when the construction project is the largest cruise ship in the world, the stakes are even higher. Please keep reading to discover how our value proposition became a reality with the Meyer Turku shipyard.
Icon of the Seas – the largest cruise ship in the world
Icon of the Seas is the Royal Caribbean Icon fleet’s lead ship, consisting of three cruise ships. This vessel has made the headlines over and over again, being the most ambitious maritime project in the world with a stunning tonnage of 250 800 GT and a capacity of over 5600 passengers. Such a massive construction project is not something any shipyard could handle, but Meyer Turku is renowned for its cutting-edge shipbuilding know-how and capability.
Icon of the Seas has an eco-friendly LNG drive system, and the cruise ship is a prime example of modern shipbuilding technology. It features the largest waterpark at sea, seven pools, several restaurants for casual or fine dining, over 2800 passenger cabins, and a wide range of onboard entertainment. It started its voyage to its home harbour in Florida in late 2023.
Fast delivery is the key to success
Even though the whole construction process is planned to perfection, there will always be changes to plans or schedules. Kim Mickelsson, purchaser at Meyer Turku, discovered that sometimes you need to act fast to reach the desired goals.
Mr. Mickelsson is responsible for purchasing turnkey solutions for large projects such as the Icon of the Seas. In short, this means sub-vendors provide entire cabins, engines, balconies, or swimming pools, which are then assembled on-site on the vessel. The sub-vendor is responsible for purchasing all the components required for the end product, so the total supply chain is long before the cruise ship is ready for the oceans. ”It would be quite impractical for us to purchase every nut, bolt, and silicon profile for a vessel almost as big as a small town, so the whole supply chain is more like a network of sub-vendors. The schedules can be tight, and sometimes parts or components must be delivered hastily”, Mickelsson explains. ”In this case, we needed more fireproof profiles to progress to the next construction phase. We figured that having them delivered first from the manufacturer to the sub-vendor and then to us would take longer than just ordering them straight from the manufacturer. This is not the usual case, but we thought it would be the best alternative. Our sub-vendor told us they had ordered the custom profiles from V.A.V. Group and helped us contact them directly. I remembered meeting Mia Ahlgren a few months earlier, so I decided to call her.”
Time to stand behind our value proposition
Meanwhile, sales manager Mia was in a client meeting at V.A.V. Group when her phone started ringing. After the long session, she noticed a few missed calls from the same number. ”Somebody clearly wanted to reach me, so I tried calling them back, but the person on the other end was also busy when I called them. In the end, I sent them a message that they can call me back even after office hours because we were calling each other back and forth”, she laughs. Eventually, Kim reached Mia and explained the situation.
Our value proposition – Innovative, Fast, Flexible, Reliable – is the foundation of our operation. Meyer Turku’s case was not particularly challenging to V.A.V. Group’s professionals, but it did require some rapid movements at our production facility. ”Since we had already produced the custom Fire X profile, we had the right tool and recipe at hand, so all we needed to do was produce the required amount and deliver it straight to the client instead of the sub-vendor as fast as possible”, says Mia Ahlgren.
Flexibility is our advantage
From Mia’s point of view, Meyer Turku’s case was relatively easy, although the production line and delivery at V.A.V. Group had to move swiftly to fill out the order right on time. Kim, on the other hand, is positively surprised at how fast we could deliver flawless profiles on-site: ”I am thankful to all our sub-vendors for being able to maintain schedules and help us finish this magnificent project, but especially to V.A.V. Group and Mia, who deserves eleven points out of ten for truly listening to our needs, understanding the pressure of our deadlines, and delivering the correct profiles in requested quantity faster than expected”, Mickelsson praises. ”Directly contacting the component manufacturers is uncommon, but this experience was remarkable. I am happy we decided to try this approach with the manufacturer, so in the future, we can resort to it if needed.”
Both Kim and Mia are happy with their network of sub-vendors, cooperators and business partners, all working together like a well-oiled machine. Due to the complexity of the supply chain of a multitude of contractors, there is little room for delays at any point in such a massive project. Thanks to open communication and active cooperation, the Icon of the Seas will set sail according to plan.
What does the future hold?
The Icon of the Seas is the first cruise ship of the Icon fleet by Royal Caribbean. Icon 2 is already under construction at Meyer Turku, and Icon 3 is planned to sail in summer 2026. Along with other large shipbuilding projects at Meyer Turku, the fleet of the three largest cruise ships in the world positively impacts employment at Meyer, its sub-vendors, and the Finnish GDP in general.
The cooperation between Meyer Turku and V.A.V. Group will continue, though primarily via sub-vendors. ”It is more convenient to have V.A.V. Group providing our sub-vendors with their fireproof Fire X profiles, but now we know we can contact them directly if we need profiles delivered straight to our shipyard”, Kim Mickelsson states. Since only a handful of profile manufacturers can provide fireproof profiles with such certifications in Europe, V.A.V. Group is establishing a stable foothold in the maritime industry. ”We have received the highest HL3 hazard level in railway safety tests, and the maritime industry has similar requirements. We will keep pursuing the highest safety standards in the transport industry in the future as well”, Mia Ahlgren adds confidently.