Maintaining plant-life on board a cruise ship is a vital element in ensuring guests are always surrounded by fine decor and a relaxing atmosphere, whatever the climate or weather conditions. World Cruise Industry Review speaks to Barbara Bressem about how Dauerflora provides tailored decorative pieces that can lend ships a unique ambiance and cope with the demands of a seagoing environment.
Barbara Bressem: We are the top company for indoor and outdoor greenery, for new builds and refurbishments; for living, artificial and preserved plants. Dauerflora is flexible, service-oriented and reliable in terms of costs, timing and quality. Having been in the business for 26 years, we continue to improve by listening carefully to our clients - cruise lines, architects and engineers - and developing customised solutions. We consistently work on providing the best-looking, reasonably priced and most secure result possible.
It is always fun to develop new ideas, whether it's a design, technical or service solution. For example, for Viking Ocean, we went in the Scandinavian direction and played with different kinds of natural material and phenomenally beautiful vases. The result was a perfect fit to the atmosphere on board.
Another client wanted a beautiful Christmas decoration, but it was mandatory that the crew of the ship be able to install and dismantle the decoration themselves. Here we offered a kind of decoration that was easy to install and we prepared self-explanatory picture manuals for the crew.
Compared with land-based projects, our work on cruise ships requires a much sturdier way of working. We always prepare everything in a way that the permanent motion of the machines and the ships' movements don't weaken the stability. Another important topic is that we fix heavy vases and planters to the floors with special floor-fixing systems. Once a year, our certificates for the IMO regulations regarding fire retardancy are renewed in an official audit. We offer fire-retardant artificial plants as well as limited UV-protected plants for outdoor areas.
Every person who starts working with us requires about 18 months to become fully trained, since we have such a wide range of products and services, be it live plants and their maintenance, the production of flower arrangements or even the production of fake gingerbread ornaments. Our working relations are based on trust and partnership, so it is no surprise that we have employees who have been working in our team for over 20 years.
First of all, we always produce our plants and decoration in the sturdiest way possible with high-quality products. For example, in the buffet areas, we have to fix our decorations firmly to avoid guests ripping the seductive-looking fruit bowl apart; they try to take them for real because they want to eat them.
Maintenance of our products is very important. Some cruise lines order maintenance in regular intervals, from every six months up to every two years. Lack of regular upkeep becomes clearly visible after some time. Unfortunately, guests destroy decoration quicker when they look untended, so it's crucial to have items maintained on a regular basis.
In the first half of 2016, Dauerflora will be working on six cruise ship new builds: AIDAprima, Viking Ocean Sea, Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas, TUI Mein Schiff 5 and Carnival Vista. We like to think this impressive list is testament to the fact that we have a knack for what we do.