When the weekend comes, the yard slows down. At least the regular dock yard workers who are employed by Fincantieri. They work from Monday to Friday for a regular work week and there are only a few present in the weekend. Either to keep vital services going, such as power, security and warehousing or to support the Sub Contractors. They normally work the weekends as they are from all over the world and have to meet pre-arranged deadlines. Even the yard restaurants close down while they are also used by the contractors and us the ship people.
There are two big restaurants at the yard, one inside the yard which is mainly meant for those who do not have the chance to change out of their work clothes. Such as the welders, painters and other functions related to dirty work. Then outside the yard there is a second restaurant which is used by those who can change out of their working clothes and can show up at least half clean. And that includes us. We go into the ship in coveralls and we will continue to do so until the yard stops working on board. But we can regulate our own working time to a certain extent and thus the coverall goes off and we walk over to the restaurant for lunch. The food is surprisingly good, and caters for all tastes and not only pasta. For 12 euro’s you have a full meal including water, a glass of wine or a beer.
While in the rest of the world it is frowned upon to have alcohol in the work place, in the more southern countries wine is a standard part of lunch and dinner. I kept an eye on this during the last week, to see how much of the good stuff was consumed but I never saw more than 1 glass being consumed. Still it is popular and they do not serve the wine from bottles but as draft, in the same way as beer. I do not drink during the day so I have not been able to test and find out if this wine is any good or can be labeled as Chateau Plonk (for the English) or as Chateau Migraine (for the Americans)
We are not the only ship being constructed at the moment; next to us is the Carnival Panorama which is not much more then a steel skeleton with some electric wires pulled though. She is 40% bigger than the Nieuw Statendam coming in at 133,500 tons and is scheduled for service in autumn 2019. What is of interest is to see in what way the yard is getting an agreement with the owner about the layout of the cabins. For that purpose they create mock ups and they are somewhere tested and inspected by the owner’s representatives. The yard had two on display next to our ship but then they were packed up and send off to somewhere unknown. Every company has its own way of figuring out how to make a cabin the best available. There is a nice little anecdote in the Industry; that when celebrity started with the Celebrity Eclipse, they “locked” five designer ladies up in these cabin mock ups and let them sleep and shower in there with clothing for a 14 day cruise, and then had them sort out what was needed. The result was cabins full with extra drawers and the life jackets in little baskets under the bed. Holland America did it different with the Koningsdam. The office of Orlando Ashford asked everybody on the ships what would be an improvement and of course they checked all the COB’s. (Comment on Board evaluations filled out on the computer after the end of the cruise). I am quite proud of the fact that I reminded them to install little USB ports next to the bed so when you use your phone as an alarm clock, it charges at the same time. I don’t know if I was the first one to come up with the idea but the Koningsdam has it and all our other ships are now retrofitted with them.
More public spaces are handed over as all the work is nearly completed. We now see mostly carpenters doing remedial work and electricians installing light fixtures, as that is always one of the last things to be done. This to avoid them getting damaged from passing ladders and long poles and planks. Only light fixtures that are very high up, go up early as nobody can get at them. And that accounts for the lights in the dining room, the show lounge (main stage) and the Queens lounge already being in position for quite a while. My personal favorite are the Queens Lounge lights as they really give a fairy tale impression. But to see them really well, you have to dance with your head up in the air and that is not always advisable with a full dance floor.
Tomorrow the company is making a beginning with the training of all the crew that is already at the shipyard. With the Koningsdam we used a ships meeting room as everybody was already on board but now we have a lecture room at the shipyard, a few blocks away from the ship. So all day we will see clusters of crew moving to and from our “indoctrination location”. And guess what, after a beautiful and dry weekend it is going to rain……………………