‘The last decade has seen a tremendous growth in our industry. The “Big Three” are controlling the massmarket sector which has led to medium and small-sized operators being more targeted in their approach,’ noted Olaf Groeger md of Columbia Cruise Services which  currently manages a fleet of nine ocean cruise vessels, offering full management for one and providing technical management including  crewing for the remaining vessels.

Read more here Seatrade Cruise Review Interview_June2017

Source: Seatrade Cruise Review

Within a two day conference on board the latest fleet addition “TUI Discovery 2” Thomson Cruises granted a look behind the scenes to their Fleet Senior Officers and contractors.

Captains, Staff Captains, Chief Engineers, General and Hotel Managers accepted the invitation and exchanged their uniforms for a business wear. As a Technical Manager COLUMBIA Cruise Services was delighted to participate. …

Read more here Senior Officers Conference ob TUI Discovery 2

Source: http://www.columbia-shipmanagement.com/news-and-media.html


Shipmanagement companies are focusing more than ever before on the passenger ship sector, with several setting up businesses dedicated to this sector

The trend among shipmanagement companies to focus on passenger ships is gaining momentum – and several have set up new companies or subsidiaries to concentrate purely on this sector.

January 2015 saw Schoeller Holdings launch a new, standalone Columbia company focused solely on cruise: Columbia Cruise Services. Explaining the reasons behind this, Olaf Groeger, managing director of Columbia Cruise Services, told PST: “We wanted to put more emphasis on passenger ship management, our main goal is to be excellent, but at the time the passenger vessels were managed out of Columbia Shipmanagment – the standards were and are governed by oil majors, and the passenger ship side played a minority role. When we tried to expand and talk to passenger ship owners, we got the same answer: We were thought of as a good company, but not dedicated enough on the passenger ship side of things. Therefore we decided to de-harmonise the passenger ship side in its total and create a new company to just focus on this sector.”

The success of Columbia Cruise Services can be seen:  When it was launched it started with three ships, (from Thomson Cruises) – fast forward two years and it now has 10 cruise ships under management, including two from Thomson: Thomson Celebration and Thomson Dream. Mr Groeger started with four employees – this number has swelled to 42.

As well as having a company focused totally on passenger ships, there is the added benefit that Columbia Cruise Services has a strong sister company behind it (Columbia Shipmanagement), which allows for economies of scale in terms of purchasing power.
Columbia Cruise Services offers a full range of services from hotel and catering to technical. The technical side encompasses fuel, deck and engine management. Mr Groeger singled out fuel management as being an important service: “We are very strong in fuel saving. We have expertise in fine tuning engines, and working out how much a cruise costs per passenger, based on fuel prices and other factors.”

A major part of this is the energy performance data that Columbia provides and manages. As well as leading to fuel efficiencies, using the data also boosts environmental savings. Mr Groeger said as an example that Thomson was targeting KPIs on carbon footprints spanning black and grey water quantities and exhaust gasses. Columbia’s key for successful management is one dedicated technical superintendent per cruise ship who is in overall charge of collating the data, evaluating it and fine-tuning the ship accordingly as well as liaising with customers and in-house departments and personnel.


Source: Passenger Ship Technology by Rebecca Moore

When Olaf Groeger, Managing Director of CCS, and his small team commenced operations in Hamburg in January 2015, they felt and acted like a start-up, despite the connection to 30+ years of cruise experience from CSM. Two years later they are continuing to keep the “early day spirit” alive. Considering CCS’s rapid growth, this is an important task. The combined headcount of the two offices in Hamburg and Limassol will be 42 by February 2017. Within its first two years, CCS has won three additional clients and been assigned six more vessels. What is so different and attractive about CCS’s way of cruise vessel management? Their business model is highly innovative.

straightforward and transparent
“Firstly our remuneration is a management fee only”, explains Olaf Groeger. “It may be a bit higher than what our competitors ask for but is all-inclusive”.

“Secondly, our Safety Management System recognises and refl ects the special aspects of cruise vessel management. It is in full compliance with the ISM Code, MLC 2006, ISO 9001, 14001, 50001 and OHSAS 18001, DNV GL has approved its compliance with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) safety policies.”

Read more here The CCS way of doing business

COLUMBIA Cruise Services is proud to announce that on March, 29th, 2017 the Technical Management of MV “Legend of the Seas” has been transfered from RCL Cruises Ltd. to COLUMBIA Cruise Services Ltd.. Until early May, the vessel with maximum capacity of 1832 passengers underwent an extensive rebranding and refit …

Read more here TUI Discovery 2 enters CCS management

Source: http://www.columbia-shipmanagement.com/news-and-media.html

May 12, 2016

On Friday the 29th of April, CCS announced that the “Splendour of the Seas” has been taken over under the full management. With the aim of further collaboration of technical management towards Thomson Cruises, Columbia Cruise Services (CCS) has taken over the “Splendour of the Seas”

Presently the vessel is safely on the blocks in the dry dock of Navantia shipyard in Cadiz/Spain.  She will stay for the next six weeks in the yard to undergo an extensive reconstruction and rebranding.

Read more here Press release Thomson_CCS_TUI Di 12May 2016

December 3rd, 2015

Thomson Cruises has sold the M/V ISLAND ESCAPE to Cruise Holdings Inc – who has awarded COLUMBIA Cruise Services (CCS) with the Full Management of the vessel. The cruise ship is presently on her way to Brest/France shipyard where she will be renamed M/V OCEAN GALA.

“We are very happy to keep the vessel under CCS Management. Ex Island Escape, now OCEAN GALA, is a well maintained and solid cruise vessel. We are keen to continue managing this vessel and are very excited to work together and look forward to a splendid future with Cruise Holdings Inc” stated Olaf Groeger, Director of CCS.

Read more here Press release_M/V ISLAND ESCAPE sold – COLUMBIA Cruise Services remains Manager



October 26th, 2015

We are pleased to announce that on the 25th of October 2015 the Full Management of M/S BERLIN successfully transferred to COLUMBIA Cruise Services.

Since April 2013, COLUMBIA/CCS has been responsible for majority of the hotel crew on board the M/S BERLIN, which is the first cruise vessel belonging to FTI Touristik. Following the newly signed contract, CCS will be responsible for the Technical and Crew Management including the selection and recruitment of seafaring personnel.

Read more here Press release_Berlin transfers to CCS for Management 26 October 2015


September 7th, 2015

CCS wins the tender process for the Full Management of the M/S BERLIN” commencing October 24th, 2015. COLUMBIA is already managing the hotel crew of the vessel since April 2013.

Olaf Groeger, Director of CCS said: “We at COLUMBIA are very excited to work together with FTI and are looking forward to expanding our services with and for FTI in the years to come.”

Read more here Press release_CCS wins tender of FTI Berlin 07 September 2015


June 22nd, 2015

On Thursday the 11th of June, Captain Adrian Hibbert, Director of Operations of Thomson Cruises, announced that CCS is confirmed as technical manager for “THOMSON DISCOVERY” as from spring 2016. After a re-branding period Thomson Cruises will take over the vessel in April 2016, currently sailing as “Splendour of the Seas” for Royal Caribbean International.

The collaboration between Columbia/CCS and Thomson Cruises started back in 2004 with the appointment for the technical management for “Thomson Celebration”. “Island Escape” and “Thomson Dream” followed in 2009 and 2010.

“We are very happy to add yet another vessel to our Thomson fleet”, stated Olaf Groeger, Directoor of CCS …

Read more here Press release Thomson_CCS_Discovery 22 June 2015

Over the years and in particular with the new contracts awarded in 2014 the maritime leisure industry has become an important sector of COLUMBIA’s shipmanagement portfolio. Considering that cruise vessels, passenger cruise vessels and mega yachts serve specific purposes that need to be catered for specifically Schoeller Holdings group management decided to establish a new company focussing solely on this demanding and growing industry.
COLUMBIA Cruise Services (CCS) was founded in 2014 and started operations out of Hamburg, Germany, in January 2015. “COLUMBIA Cruise Services offers the full range of services required to achieve long-lasting customer satisfaction: technical, operational, crew, hospitality and project management”, says its Director Olaf Groeger. …

Read more here Columbia_UPDATE-0115_CCS

Executives replying to the 2015 shipmanagement survey

The quarterly Seatrade Cruise Review magazine- edition June 2015 – first appeared an article about the bullish mood among shipmanagers in the cruise industry and the challenges for third party shipmanagement. The accompanying commentaries from Olaf Groeger, Director COLUMBIA Cruise Services, are published in the article.

Download the article here Shipmanagement Survey 2015_Seatrade Cruise Review


Recently, a ceremony was arranged on board the cruise vessel Thomson Dream at Gibdock in Gibraltar where the ship was undergoing a major internal refurbishment and, at the same time, a major update of the main engine exhaust valves by installing the state-of-the-art DuraSpindle and W-seat on all 20 units, thereby ensuring thousands of additional trouble-free operating hours!
The ceremony was attended by the owners, managers and MDT. The reason for the celebration was that the ship’s two main engines of the MAN B&W 10L55GB type had each reached an impressive figure of more than 150,000 running hours. …

Read more here 150000 hours for Cruise Vessel Thomson Dream_MAN



COLUMBIA Cruise Services’ director Olaf Groeger speaks to Jon Ingleton about the benefits third-party management services can bring to cruise companies

When it comes to the use of outsourced management services, some companies in the cruise industry have been quicker to identify and capitalise on the benefits than others. Whether for a specific function, an entire ship or a whole fleet, bringing in experts to improve operations and management practices can be a hugely positive move that can potentially save millions of pounds and relieve operational pressures. …

Read more here ICFR Mar 2015_Olaf Groeger_third party management

Source: http://digital.tutor-rose.co.uk/icfr/2015/issue46/index.html / International Cruise & Ferry Review//Spring-Summer 2015


THE trend among shipmanagement companies to focus on passenger vessels is gaining momentum, as several have set up new companies or subsidiaries to work purely in this sector. January 2015 saw COLUMBIA launch a new division dedicated to cruise: COLUMBIA Cruise Services. …

Read more here Shipmanagement PST 1st Q 2015

Source: www.passengership.info / Passenger Ship Technology//1st Quarter 2015 Journal


Helen Caron, Managing Director of Thomson Cruises, said: “We’re very excited to be welcoming the ship to our fleet next summer. This is the first step in our fleet modernisation and transformation strategy and will bring an enhanced offering to our customers with more balcony cabins than ever before, a wider choice of suites, an increased number of dining options and extra entertainment and activity facilities. We are confident that our customers will enjoy sailing on the new addition to our fleet.”

Source: www.thomson.co.uk