How cruise ship Splendour is dealing with a case of middle-age spread

//How cruise ship Splendour is dealing with a case of middle-age spread

P1000660small.jpgAfter far too many extravagant meals on board cruise ships, I know all about unwanted weight gain and middle-aged spread. Today I discovered that ships themselves suffer exactly the same problems – they gain weight as they get older.
Every extra piece of equipment added during a ship’s life – from a mixing desk for the night club to a pizza oven in the galley, an outdoor cinema screen to a climbing wall for the kids – adds extra weight. Even the coats of paint which are constantly being applied help to pile on the pounds.
Problem is, if a ship gets too top heavy, its stability could be affected and no amount of trimming the ballast, and moving water and fuel between storage tanks could ensure it was always on an even keel.
Splendour of the Seas, currently in drydock at Cadiz for a $55 million refit and revitalisation has even weightier problems, with the addition of 124 extra balconies and tons of specialist equipment for a spectacular new aerial display in the Centrum, or central atrium.
Tracy Murell, Royal Caribbean’s Fleet Director, Marine Operations, explained the solution to the problem. It comes in the inelegant form of a 276-ton ducktail (pictured above), which not only helps to balance the ship but also improves its efficiency in moving through the water.
The new balconies make Splendour look as if it has developed its own middle-aged spread – at 15 years old it is probably about half way through its useful life for Royal Caribbean – and are only part of the enhancements being made, which include the Izumi and Chops Grille restaurants, together with associated kitchens, which have been incorporated in the Viking Crown Lounge high up around the funnel.
A Park Cafe has been shoe-horned into the Solarium, there’s an outdoor cinema screen above the pool, and there’s even a gallery selling the work of Brazilian artist Romero Britto – an idea imported from Allure of the Seas.
Splendour is getting the innovative touch-screen information system which was first seen on Oasis of the Seas, and will be provided with wi-fi throughout the ship, including crew areas.
The crew are also getting a new canteen and disco, and flat-screen televisions in their cabins.
Fleet hotel director Jurgen Bailom has the task of co-ordinating 1,000-plus outside contractors, plus the ship’s regular crew of more than 750, and a hit squad of 300 Royal Caribbean crew specialising in maintenance and repairs during the 32-day drydock at the Navantia shipyard.
The numbers alone are mind-boggling. He talks of 270 kilometres of carpet being laid (most of it woven in the UK) and a total of 250,000 work hours being completed in order to get the job finished on time. Some 500 containers of scrap and trash have already been hoisted off the ship, and there will be many more in the next few days.
As well as the $35 million cost of the upgrades inside the ship (and those balconies welded onto each side of Deck 6) there’s another £20 million and more to complete the ducktail, replace the propellors, overhaul the thrusters and other gear, and re-paint the hull with a new coat of slippery silicone paint.
Jurgen has to make sure everything is complete for the ship to be re-floated on November 23 before leaving Cadiz the next day to sail to Lisbon, where it will take on a full complement of passengers for a 15-night Transatlantic crossing to Rio de Janeiro and a winter season cruising in South American waters.
That ducktail will counteract all the extra weight, and ensure the ship remains stable throughout. If only there were an equally simply solution to my own weight problems . . .

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:58+00:00 16 November 2011|Cruise Ships|3 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. slimline cruiser 17 November 2011 at 9:49 am - Reply

    there’s a simple solution to your weight problems – dont be so greedy

  2. DAniel 17 November 2011 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Hello John,
    love your reports, great writing. A kindly request, may i receive from you teh pictture of Splendours ducktail?? also in a larger version if you have and your kind permission for me to publish it in my website (a german site about crruise ships)
    Much obliged and keep up the good work.

  3. Rau Patel 18 November 2011 at 2:38 am - Reply

    Hi this is cool, I’m viewing this blog from my iPhone. Looks good, but I think one of the graphics is busted. Maybe figure out how to gain weight on images to overlay with text for better results.

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