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An extraordinary team for an ambitious project: to convert an old warship into a robust but very elegant cruise ship.

The members of the team are famous names, starting from the exterior designer and team manager, Philippe Briand, supported by the interior design Vitruvio Yachts Studio and McFarlane Ship Design Studio as regards marine architecture. The excellence of boating gathered at the Atlantic Refit Center of La Rochelle, France, to convert the grouchy Norna into the elegant and modern Enigma XK cruise ship.




Results are evident. Today, Enigma XK is a powerful ship provided with two 3,000 HP engines, with a maximum speed of 18 knots, a cruising speed of 11 knots, a 230-thousand-litre fuel tank and an autonomy of 12,000 miles. The strength and power of a warship combined with elegant high quality design and materials



Norna had seen the sea for the first time in 1988 and it was destined to surveillance in the Northern Sea. This is why it was built to face extreme sea conditions.

After its retirement, the present shipowner bought it with the aim to combine the technical strength of the ship with elegance and comfort.

Once the idea was conceived, the main matter was to create a team of designers for a such difficult project and arrange the right place to built it, the Atlantic refit Center, specialized in refitting on boats from 20 to 140 metres.

Since the beginning, the most demanding point has been the transformation of this 71-metre-warship’s interiors into something elegant to host 12 passengers and 21 crew members.

Norna Bridge (FILEminimizer)

Bridge1©Guillaume Plisson-9001 (FILEminimizer)

A not simple task for Vitruvio Yachts, if we add that the shipowner, in order to reduce costs, has decided to maintain the old water systems and cables. The three most important challenges were represented by the low inner height, the absence of natural light and the absence of social areas on the original vessel. All these challenges have been won, even height that reaches 2 metres in all areas.


Norna recreation room

Glasshouse©Guillaume Plisson-8911 (FILEminimizer)

The absence of natural light, too, hasn’t been an easy problem to solve. Norna had very few portholes for safety reasons and Philippe Briand has worked hard to open 27 light points by maintaining the strenght of the ship.

As regards interiors, perhaps what designers have defined the “Wow factor” of Enigma is the hall created in the middle of the ship and completely surrounded by windows, which creates a total contact with outside but without leaving the comfortable heat of interiors, especially in the polar travels the shipowner is organising.


Guest1©Guillaume Plisson-8852 (FILEminimizer)

Guest5©Guillaume Plisson-8810 (FILEminimizer)

As usual in warships, there were few social areas.

Vitruvio Yachts has overtuned this layout: he has converted the officials’mess hall into the main hall and he has added five wide rooms on the main deck, a huge shipowner’s suite, a gym and a spa.

The project required 26 months, 280 thousand hours of work/man, 70 tons of steel and aluminium, 35 km of new electric cables and 99 tons of sand.

We are very proud of the planning work – said Briand – because we had the opportunity to explore our workforce in a new planning by creating an efficient, practical, balanced and high quality unit”


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