When ships head into drydock we usually hear about all the fantastic new facilities and changes that are taking place onboard, but rarely do we get to take a look behind the scenes. Having taken a look at what Princess Cruises have planned for their former flagship I thought I would take the time to look at the crew involved in brining the ship back to life, from the ships Captain, to the vast team looking after the crew.
Taking a 109,000 tonne ship, that has been a signature of Princess Cruises for such a long time, and brining her back to glory in 25 days is no mean feat. The new Grand Princess was pulled apart and affectionately bought back to life by the ships crew along with 1,000 contractors and the shipyard's own team.
To get a huge amount of work done to incredible standards, in such a short space of time is very impressive and needs a dedicated team. Whether you are the artist bought in to touch-up or repair the ships art work, the engineers working on the in-port power connections, or you are preparing the meals and refreshments for this tireless crew, you have all played a huge part in giving us a good-as-new cruise liner, ready to grace the port and Southampton and Europe's wonderful destinations.
Captain Tony Herriott takes time out of his busy schedule to talk to Martyn about the work taking place onboard. It's a very different job being in drydock, having replaced his passengers with 1,000 contractors and doing a sand coloured uniform (I'm not sure his usual white uniform would last too long!) while attending the major jobs onboard.
Ready, Steady, Cook
During drydock Executive Chef, David McDonald Greves, takes a few minutes to discuss feeding the 2,000 daily, hungry workers onboard. During a typical breakfast they were going through 275kg of scrambled egg, 80 kg of bacon and 80kg of pork sausages, lunch would consist of up to 3,000 sandwiches and 200 litres of soup, with 90kg of pasta being served in the evening.
The People In Power
Martyn heads down to the engine control room to talk to the engineers about the upgrades and changes to the ships power plant. With Alaska imposing increasing stringent requirements to cruise in the region, the ships engineers are developing a new power room, so in ports such as Juneau, the ship can connect to the ports own power supply, offering more environmentally aware solutions to keeping the ship running. There is also some news on the engines efficiency, as the Grand Princess can now sail at 22 knots, will only consuming the same amount of fuel as she did at 21 knots.
The Fall Guy
To round off the team revitalising the Grand Princess, Martyn talks to Steve Storey, the project manager onboard Grand Princess. Steve has over seen 30 drydocks in his career, though this has to be the largest project yet. His day-to-day work includes managing up to 1,400 contractors, managing the budgets, crew and every aspect of the changes and improvements onboard.
With the ship now at sea, we know that the crew have pulled together to bring about an amazing transformation of the ship, but they are often forgotten about. The 'new' Grand Princess has been a home, construction site, dining room and place of work for a huge team during the project, and it already looks like it was worth all the effort.