Welcome Monday morning and the ship was buzzing again. Still we see less and less welders and fitters, but still lots of painters and contractors finishing off their respective public rooms. Everywhere technicians are following up on what is almost completed, or what did not work during the inspections or what needs to be tuned or touched up some more. Also the Cleaning Ladies are out in force again. While all these people are going about their regular business, the ship is slowly filling up with crew. As of this morning we are with 600 of us on board and today another 150 are being expected.  As we now have a lot of the inventory on board everybody is getting busy with un-boxing, separating materials and taking it to the cabins or the work place. My cabin collection of inventory increased today with a shoe basket. Every day is Santa Claus with something else popping up.

Housekeeping sorting out cabin amenities in the staircase.

The Fire/security/safety officers are trying to get everybody to wear safety shoes and helmets but they do not know where to start as we have the typical chicken and egg situation. The new crew can only get a hard hat and safety shoes after they have checked in but in order to check in they first have to walk through the ship, where hard hat and safety shoes are compulsory. And then there was the beautiful moment that the very tall Safety Officer was nicely told off by a very small Philipinna Lady……. that she might be able to wear a helmet tomorrow but not today as she had just washed her hair.  So he gave up, he was married I suppose and had come across a similar argument himself before. Luckily the chance of accidents has gone down enormously as the ship is not a real danger zone anymore as all the rough and tumble work has been completed.

The Cleaning Ladies are out everywhere in force. It is just hard to get them on Camera. Peculiar thing is that are only Ladies, never men. Not that I mind…..

With all the testing going on, testing the PA system is part of it, and during the last few days they have been playing music through all the cabin speakers (normal speaker in the cabin, emergency speaker in the bathroom) for most of the day. I am a great lover of the music of Queen but all day long the same CD is a bit much. This afternoon somebody changed the tape and now we have hard rock. They never seem to want to play classic music, while Beethoven’s 5th. rocks quite good as well.

With more and more items being handed over, there is normally some sort of training involved. We are now getting closer to the handover of the lifesaving systems and thus this morning we had an explanation of how the system with the Davits work. Luckily they kept the system identical to the Koningsdam and that made it a lot easier. Our lifeboat system is of the Semi-Gravity System. Full Gravity means lifting the brake and the boat goes down. But as these boats are stored further inside the ship, we have semi-gravity. This means that we have a little hydraulic system that pushes the Davit (the arms in which the lifeboat hangs) through its dead point of gravity after which mother earth can take over.  Gravity always works. Hydraulics are mechanical and thus we need to have several backup systems to ensure that it also always works. Most cruise ships have this or a similar system nowadays. But there are variations in how to go about it and thus we need a bit of training.

The assembled deck team and some Fleet trainers, listening to the wisdom of an instructor with a very Italian accent.

A few readers asked what Club Orange was. Well this is a new thing that Holland America is starting to roll out. The location is what is currently the Culinary Arts Centre / America’s Test Kitchen and in the evening used to be the Farm to Table Dinner concept. Details will be rolled out in the coming period but it is basically a response to what the guests observe on other cruise company’s where there are more options to “pick and choose” even if there is a price tag attached to it. Suite Guests are automatically included in Club Orange but those guests who do not care about a having a suite but would like to have some of the amenities of the Suite Guests, can sign up for the Club Orange package. Further details I leave to the company, see today’s Press Release.

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As the Club Orange is a very recent development, the venue is still being delivered as the original Farm to Table Restaurant which incorporates America’s Test Kitchen. The area is finished apart from some ceiling panel work still going on.

Today was another perfect day for working on the ship, dry a little bit of sunshine and not too warm. Those who had to work on the open decks could not have had it better and those inside got the benefits as well by opening all the Emergency Exit doors to the outside deck.

Looking at the Clouds it should be more of the same tomorrow. Perfect weather for a finishing a lot of work.

How do you communicate with your team when starting up and nothing is running yet ? Meetings in the mornings and throughout the day. This is the Beverage Team meeting at 08.00 hrs. in the Ocean Bar,