On April 8, the Maasdam arrived in Fort Lauderdale, the guests disembarked and the ship later made its way to Freeport to begin the Signature of Excellence refit and dry-dock. Unfortunately a lot had to be broken down before the rebuilding could begin. We left Ft. Lauderdale just after noon with 750 contract workers on board who started to demolish the various areas. We also had many containers and garbage skips loaded on the various decks. We arrived in Freeport at 7 p.m. Luckily our sister ship, the Eurodam, was in dry-dock as well and they accommodated many of the crew who had to vacate their cabins. It is sometimes frightening to see how certain areas get demolished in record time. Here’s a list of some of the major repairs that Maasdam will undergo:
*Shops/ casino and Mix – where we have now the piano and casino bar and shops.
*All staterooms will get new bathrooms and new carpets and soft goods
*29 Lanai staterooms to be built on Lower promenade deck
*Club HAL area will be redesigned
*Rembrandt Lounge will be rebuilt to show room at sea
*Removal of the escalators to nowhere and the addition of 2 staterooms in this area.
*Refurbishments of all crew cabins
April 9: In the morning almost 1,000 contractors and yard personnel boarded and because of excellent preparation by our security, front office staff and the Seattle dry dock team, we were able to board them without any major challenges. Even in dry-dock we must adhere to all security standards. In the evening we entered our dry-dock. We did encounter some delays, but when we woke up the next morning we were safely sitting on the blocks and the water was being drained. It was a very hard night for the Captain as he was up all night with his officers making sure that the entering of the dock was conducted safely and without mishaps. Inside of the ship there is not much left of the casino and piano bar. Also the shops are almost gone and there is a big hole left where it all was.
April 10: When we woke up the last of the water was drained from the dock. On the lower promenade deck the steel is being cut so we can fit the sliding doors for the Lanai staterooms and the preparation for new floors, wall painting and further refurbishment continues. In the show lounge they worked 24 hours a day to remove all of the old stage rigging.
Cees Tesselaar is Maasdam’s hotel manager.