Today we had another overcast day but no rain and that made everybody happy. We are now letting it rain ourselves as with the shipyard people out of the way, the sailors are showing the world how to really rinse & hose down a ship. They had to be carefully instructed this morning of where to work as today we have over 4000 visitors on board, courtesy of the shipyard and related. A big white Marquee was erected in front of the ship and a lot of security milling around. Attending today was the Minister for Transport and that would link in with the security. We also have a lot of extra fire brigade around, many more than normal, but if that is in relation to a visit of Italian Politicians I do not know. But the Fire brigade soon found the Lido Restaurant and where enjoying our versions of Italian Pasta.
Tomorrow we will make the transfer from the yard to the Venice cruise terminal which will be a slow process as we have to sail through quite a narrow channel and then we have to have some photo opportunities with the ship and Venice as the backdrop. Once we are docked, embarkation will start and will continue into the evening. The relocation of the ship from Venice to Rome/ Civitavecchia will take four days and is a shakedown cruise. A cruise where we will see if everything is working up to our standards. Thus we do not have regular guests on board but company employees and related and we can “shake” those as much as we want; and we most likely will. Everything will be tested and if not up to expectation we test again. And for some of those tests we need guinea pigs and now we have them.
I have blogged in the past few days about all the trainings and drills we have been conducting to get the ship ready. We train for eventualities which will hopefully never happen but if they do then we want to be ready. If something happens, then everything will be coordinated from the Safety Centre behind the Navigation Bridge. The safety procedures are in the hands of the Staff Captain while the Captain keeps oversight and a very close eye on the Navigation. By means of regular updates he will stay abreast of the situation while keeping track of the safe navigation at the same time. So there is a connecting door and he can step in and out when needed. The staff Captain directs everything from a large Safety Table and what he does comes directly on the big screen. In front of him are monitors for stability, environment and safety assist and during a crises the safety center is also manned with a First Officer, a 3rd Officer and the S.E.H Officer (In case there are Environmental issues) As there are many camera’s in the ship, they can be called up onto the big screen as well.
Most of the public rooms have now been completely furnished and the rest will go in as soon as the 4000 have left the ship. Thus today we could see for the first time what it meant to have over 200 different whiskies for sale. Varying from the regular Glenfiddich’s to a very obscure whisky which will go for $200 a shot as only 40 bottles were ever made.
Although every crewmember has his or her own favorite of what is the nicest space on board, my top favorite is the double level Lido deck, followed by the Queens Lounge. Apart from the color scheme, I am really impressed with the ceiling of the lounge which looks like stars and constellations when lit in the evening for dancing.
The Ocean Bar is a complete departure from what we had in the past. The Bar is on the side and then the area is split up in two parts. One part has a piano player for regular cocktail entertainment and the other part can double up as a waiting area for those who have a reservation in the Sel de Mer or the Pinnacle Grill Restaurants.
A final new gadget for the ship is face recognition in the Photo Gallery. The plan is to have the machines working in such a way that they recognize your face and then search for the photos that were taken of you. I am really looking forward to find out how that works. I cannot take any photos of this process but the Photo Gallery is a concessionaire and if we stay with concessions and stay with my routine of posting art; here is a photo of our Art Gallery, manned by Park West People from Miami.