A&P Falmouth has completed a multi-million-pound refit programme on Fred Olsen Cruise Lines passenger vessel Bolette – the largest cruise ship ship to visit the facility in over 60 years.

The Bolette is Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ flagship, with a passenger capacity of 1,338 supported by 645 crew.

The Bolette entered dry dock for a 13-day refurbishment, including maintenance to the ship’s Azipods and bow thrusters as well a new application of anti-fouling paint.

Over 500 members of the A&P workforce and supply chain worked around the clock to support this contract. Crucially, 32 apprentices have had the experience to work on the Bolette.

It is the second time in 12 months that Fred Olsen has chosen to dock at A&P Falmouth, with the cruiseship Balmoral completing a programme of work in May last year, which included steel inserts, ship side valves, tunnel thruster overhaul and antifouling paint system.

Mike Spicer, managing director of A&P Falmouth said: “A&P was delighted to welcome Bolette to the facility – and facilitate a visit from Peter Deer, managing director of Fred Olsen.

“The visit provided a fantastic opportunity to showcase our capabilities – A&P’s location in the south west makes it an ideal facility for cruise ships operating in this area.

“Contracts such as these make a significant economic contribution to the prosperity of the South West and helps to support our workforce and apprenticeship programme. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines over the months and years to come."

Bolettes giant Azipods

Bolette's giant Azipods

David McGinley, CEO, said: “It is fantastic to welcome Fred Olsen's Bolette into A&P Falmouth.

“Projects such as these help us to sustain our workforce, apprenticeship programme and supply chain which drives prosperity and adds real social value to the South West of England.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, welcoming their cruise ships for dry dockings across our Group.”

Peter Deer, managing director of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said: “I would like to thank the team here at A&P Falmouth for taking good care of our flagship Bolette during her time in dry dock.

“Our ships and our team have a longstanding relationship with the community of Falmouth. We know it is a port that our guests love to explore with us, and are looking forward to offering further visits this year.

“In addition, we are really pleased to be further supporting the Falmouth economy by working with the team at A&P to maintain and refurbish our ships, and in particular providing their apprentices with new experience and opportunity."

“Approximately every two years, all of our ships go in to Dry Dock for maintenance works. This is to ensure that they are kept running well; and it gives us the opportunity to take a good look at all of the parts of a ship that we can't usually see (under the waterline), or work on areas without disrupting our guests on board.”

Bolette was in dry dock in Falmouth for around two weeks, where she went through an intense programme of works which included high water pressure blasting of the underwater hull and a new paint system applied, servicing of her lifeboats, maintenance of her stabilisers and much more.

Engineers exchanged bow thrusters with newly overhauled ones, removed a stabiliser, performed maintenance works and re-assembled it, to enable Bolette to continue to navigate smoothly in rough weather.

The yard’s heavy lift gang took off the Azipod propellers and maintained their shafts for reliable operation until the next dry dock. Azipods allow the ship to directly thrust in any direction with incredible precision, saving time and fuel.

The ship’s mainly Asian crew members visited the Mission to Seafarers Centre at the docks many times where they were given a warm welcome and presented with woolly hats and scarves for the cold weather.

Bolette sailed from Falmouth on time for Newcastle from where she cruised to Northern Norway. In 2025 Bolette sails on her first round the world cruise.

This carefully crafted cruise attracted me because of the extremely interesting itinerary. Being an “island man” I would love to rekindle memories of visits to some islands in the Pacific.

The ship will call at the islands of Robinson Crusoe, Alejandr Selkirk, Pitcairn, Hanga Roa (Easter island), Bora Bora, Tahiti, Rarotonga and Tonga. The 106 day cruise starts and ends at Southampton in January 2025.