I am quite happy to advise that the Italian weather forecast can be as wrong as in the rest of the world. Instead of a rainy day all day it turned into a mild and dry day with the sun coming out in the late morning. Almost too warm for shipyard purposes, when walking around with a hard hat on and coveralls. The Italians seem to think it is quite chilly as most of them are wearing some sort of body warmer or similar even when working in the ship in areas where the A.C is not yet working. I wonder how these guys dress up when it gets really cold here. Which can happen if the wind turns to the North. The snow capped mountains of northern Italy and Austria are not that far away. So in January it can drop down to around freezing.
The work that keeps me busy at the moment is to produce a scenario for how to structurally search for missing people or reports of suspicious packages. This is an international requirement for all ships (and I also think for a lot of factory’s and office buildings shore side) and it can only be done once a ship is nearing completion. Just copying the plan from the Koningsdam that I made in 2016 does not work because: A. the company is introducing changes based on the experience with the Koningsdam and B. the yard is never doing everything the same as before. With the latter I mean is that I come across a certain amount of creativity. In general everything is sort of the same, but I am no longer amazed that an identical locker on the Koningsdam now has another number on the Nieuw Statendam. Thus a locker which was labelled L.02.6. 04 (Locker deck 2 zone 6 number 4) on the Koningsdam is now labelled L 02.6. 06. While the locker that was L02.6.06 before is now L02.06.04 etc.etc. For the operation of the ship it does not matter at all but when you do a search, it is important that the checklist reflects reality. Otherwise we might miss a space. And thus I verify, check and double check and hopefully I do not miss anything.
While most of the areas of the ship are swept clean on a regular basis (we even have roving teams from our crew involved) on the higher decks it is a bit of a dusty affair. The deck covering has almost been completed and now the Sub-contractors are sanding to make the deck look nice and to remove all smudges, paint /glue rests and blemishes. Some of the deck covering comes from a Dutch company called Bolidt who in the 1990’s invented an artificial material that looked like teak wood but was much lighter and easier to clean. Holland America started with an experiment on the Statendam in 1992 and has never looked back. You can now find it around all the Indoor (Lido) swimming pools on the ships and in other areas as well. Using teak wood is posh and beautiful but teak wood takes long to grow and it is harder and harder to source enough teak wood that has been grown in a sustainable way to really “pave” large stretches of ship with it. In principle teak wood lasts forever but Bolidt decks are so easy to repair that even that argument is long gone. But they sand and shave the top layer before delivery and thus it is very dusty on the higher decks.
The same process was going on in the fitness area on Deck 9 forward. Because fitness people are not necessarily the quietest of the guests on board, special care is being taken against the impact noise of jumping guests or dropping dumbbells. Under the Fitness area are no guests cabins but the Bridge and the staff officers cabins but also the Captain needs a quiet night; and with the impact noise of a dropping dumbbell that would not be the case. Thus there is a whole sound damping sandwich construction laid out under the surface to ensure as little noise as possible. If it will be sufficient? The Captain will find out during the Shake Down Cruise.
Quite a few readers might have a Jacuzzi at home, similar in size to what we have on the forward deck 5. But I doubt if you have the same size Machinery Room to ensure that you get the best and safest experience possible. Health rules for Jacuzzi’s on ships are very strict, both for construction as well for maintenance and those requirements turn what is a little pump with a filter at home into a full blown engine room.
Tomorrow will be another day closer to the handover of the ship and hopefully the weather will hold. The weather forecast is still advising rain but the weather gurus have it scaled down now to a maximum of 43% with temperatures around 61oF / 16oC.