Composite walls are also easier to maintain. Steel cabins are easily dented and difficult to repair because the vinyl coating must be stripped and reapplied each time, says Spooner. Conversely, composite walls are difficult to dent. And if they are, the walls can be easily dry-filled and painted in a few hours.
Royle says that the prototype panels took several days to complete and included too much hand finishing. The next stage of the project is to move from the technology demonstrator to a commercially viable product capable of being manufactured in the quantities required to satisfy the new build market.
In the meantime, the cabin has created a great deal of interest among ship owners and cruising aficionados. Spooner says of early visitors, “We wanted to make people’s jaws drop when they walked in, and we’ve done that.”