How to make a 36,000 tonne luxury liner longer
Some 450,000 hours was spent on cutting the Silver Spirit in half, inserting a new 15-metre section and renovating the ship extensively
By Grant Bradley
A luxury cruise liner has been sliced in half and successfully had 15 metres added to its length in a complex operation at a shipyard in Sicily.
Silversea’s Silver Spirit has left the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo after the NZ$100 million (US$70 million) extension.
Having been cut in half, lengthened with the insertion of a pre-built section, and renovated extensively the 10-deck tall ship has now embarked upon its inaugural voyage.
The intricate procedure has increased the 36,000 tonne vessel’s overall capacity by 12 per cent to 608 guests and 412 crew.
More than 1000 workers spent 450,000 hours on the ambitious project.
About 846 tonnes of steel, 110,000 metres of cabling, including fibre optic cable, and 8000 metres of piping was used.
A stern thruster was also installed.
Dining capacity increased by 15 per cent and outdoor seating grew from 200 to 266.
“Silver Spirit’s 59-day dry dock period ran with precision and according to schedule,” the ultra-luxury cruise line said.
The company said it aimed to “amplify guests’ onboard experience” in line with the successful design of its new flagship, Silver Muse, which will cruise from New Zealand early next year.
The Silver Muse was delivered by Fincantieri in April last year and is the largest of Silversea’s ships at 40,700 gross tonnes.
Silver Muse will debut in New Zealand waters next January, calling at Port Chalmers, Akaroa, Picton, Napier, Gisborne, before arriving in Auckland.
Silversea Cruises lay on the luxury with butlers and fine dining. A recently launched 140-day world cruise had suites that reportedly ranged between NZ$88,000 (US$61,229) and NZ$342,000 (US$237,960) per person.