Did you tune in to Holland America Line Brand Ambassador Seth Wayne’s “Ramping Up to Rotterdam” update this week on our Facebook page? Once again he spoke with Stan Kuppens, new builds projects, hotel, who offered insight into where the ship is at in the building process. Things are slowing down a bit in Italy this month due to the December holidays when the country takes a winter break. They’ll be back in full-swing just after Three Kings Day in early January, but the work never stops.
The main photo above of the bow of Rotterdam was snapped from the deck of a cruise ship that Fincantieri just completed. It was departing the yard to join its fleet, so this was the last chance to get a photo of Rotterdam from this vantage point. Eventually Rotterdam will move into the dock that ship came from to be completed.
In the above photo, you can see that there is a lot of equipment on the outside of the ship. Remember, there are no working elevators on board, so these exterior elevators are needed to move equipment and supplies on board. The ship builders use the elevators as well. You don’t want to have to walk back down and then up 16 decks if you forget a hammer! In the front of the ship, you can see a cargo elevator. It’s a platform that we can load supplies on to bring on board. You also can see supports under the Bridge. All of these structures are welded to the ship. When the ship is complete, all of these structures will be removed and the areas of connection will be welded down as if they never existed.
Right now all of the supplies being brought on board are “yard supplies.” In May, the containers that are “Holland America Line supplies” that hold the loose hotel supplies will begin to arrive. These palates hold items like mattresses, bathrobes, pots, pans and cutlery. All of the ship’s hotel orders are in place. Each department (hotel, deck and engine) makes its own orders, and there are thousands of line items.
In this photo of the bow, you can see all of the scaffolding around the Bridge. It’s hard to hang on and work, so the builders use this scaffolding to place items like the search lights under the Bridge. The crane on the right is a supply crane that places equipment on board. It also removes all of the garbage like packing materials.
During the live chat, Stan was asked why we paint the ship so early when it will need a fresh coat before delivery. Stan explained that the first layer of paint is important for the ship because you don’t want to place an unprotected steel box into the water because it will start to rust. So the ships are painted prior to the float out. Holland America Line uses rust-treated plates to build the ship, and spots that have welding, like where the scaffolding is, will be rust-treated after the structures are detached. In April-May, Rotterdam will undergo sea trials, where we take the ship out into the open ocean and test her capabilities. When that is complete, the ship will be cleaned and get a final coat of paint before delivery.
FUN FACT: Holland America Line uses a silicone-based paint for the hull of the ship. This gives the ship good passage through the water. In fact, we burn less fuel in 6 months and the difference in cost amounts to the cost of applying the paint. So it’s a win-win!
Above is the Bridge. They are making progress! While the rest of the ship needs to be ready for delivery in July, the Bridge needs to be complete by the sea trials in April-May. You can see the wiring, pipes and ventilation systems in the floor and ceiling, along with the navigation consoles and radars. The floor will be completely filled with cabling to ensure the systems are operational and can talk to each other.
FUN FACT: Waterlines on a ship run through the ceiling, however there are no waterlines in the ceiling above the Bridge due to the equipment. Most of what you see in the ceiling above the Bridge is the HVAC ventilation system.
If all goes according to plan, members of Rotterdam’s shipboard team will begin moving to the yard in January.