Cruise ship passengers have many different needs but one thing they generally agree on is that their onboard enjoyment should not be disturbed by excessive noise, whether that be from other guests, the crew or the ship’s engines. Dutch synthetic flooring and decking manufacturer, Bolidt, continues to innovate and refine its products to develop soundproofing solutions to meet this demanding requirement. Here they explore the innovations they’ve made to popular products such as Bolideck® Future Teak, give us an insight into the technology that aids cruise interior sound design and take us behind the scenes of their life-size cruise ship testing unit!

Droning engines, the footsteps of crew and passengers, lifts going up and down, music from nightclubs and moving gym equipment: the pace of life never stops onboard a cruise ship, but neither does the noise. And yet passengers want to be able to enjoy peace and quiet in their cabins and above all else to have a good night’s sleep.

Over the years many leading cruise ship operators have come to rely on the experience and expertise of Bolidt to address this issue. The Dutch company’s flooring solutions are not only anti-skid, durable, hard-wearing and environmentally friendly, they also provide excellent sound insulation qualities.

Popular products in the portfolio such as Bolideck® Future Teak and Bolideck® Select Soft are making an important contribution to reducing the impact of noise onboard many of the world’s leading cruise ships. Jacco van Overbeek, Bolidt Maritime Division Director, says, “The sound-insulating properties of our decks mean passengers in their cabins barely hear the noise coming from spaces above them. No one hears the joggers doing their early morning rounds on the Bolideck® Select Soft jogging track. And if you sleep underneath one of the restaurants onboard, you won’t hear a thing thanks to Bolideck® Future Teak, no matter how long the diners are burning the midnight oil. With Bolidt’s systems, even the sound of a ball bouncing on the basketball court is reduced to an acceptable level.”

In Bolidt’s experience cruise lines are setting ever more demanding targets when it comes to noise reduction. The development of sound-proofing systems has been largely a matter of evolution rather than revolution. Bolidt has been working to enhance the sound abating qualities of its decking and flooring technology for almost 25 years. Bolideck ® Future Teak, for example, is a material that is widely used amongst cruise operators, both for newbuildings and also when undertaking major refits. Bolidt has refined this material to ensure that it meets tough sound inhibiting tests, as well as cruise lines’ environmental protection requirements.

Many new cruise ships today are designed to deliver benchmarks laid out in the Comfort class notation bestowed by classification societies. These include setting maximum decibel levels in different parts of the ship such as the open decks, public spaces and cabins. To ensure the ship meets the desired Comfort class requirements, cruise companies often approach Bolidt at an early stage in the ship’s design and construction process for their advice and support.

According to van Overbeek: “The starting point is generally a simple question – how many decibels of noise reduction must be achieved at specific locations on the ship? We then look at what synthetic systems we can employ to achieve these challenging targets and develop the optimum mix of top layer and various underlays for every part of the ship.”

The interaction between Bolidt and its clients has been crucial to building noise reduction knowledge within the cruise sector over the course of more than two decades. Paul de Ruijter, Senior Technical Support Specialist at Bolidt, says, “Every time we have developed new solutions for the cruise industry, we have been able to test them out extensively in shipyards in Germany and France, with the cooperation of our clients. For this process we use a life-size model of part of the ship, with the cabins fitted out exactly as they would be on the actual vessel, including the wall, floor and ceiling insulation. This allows us to fit various systems to the deck above the cabin and test them in situ and then to map out how our systems contribute to reducing impact noise in the spaces below.”

While considerable progress has been made, the process of reducing noise levels never really ends, De Ruijter points out. He concludes, “Of course it gets harder and harder to achieve significant reductions. In many ways it is like telling an athlete to keep improving on their best time. At Bolidt it is always about continuous improvement: after all, that is the way elite athletes set new world records!”

Bolidt will be exhibiting on Stand 426.
Register to attend the first ever Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe in Fira Barcelona, 4-5 December.