Think squeezing into your skinny jeans is tough? Here are some fast facts from major German ship yard, Meyer Werft to assure you nothing is quite as tight as the conveyance of a cruise ship.
Royal Caribbean is getting closer and closer to launching its newest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas. However, before we can pop open the champers, the giant beauty needs to complete her conveyance.
What is conveyance?
Conveyance is a unique process for ships built at Meyer Werft, Germany.
The shipyard is unconventionally situated inland, along the banks of the River Ems, to avoid the impact of storms on the North Sea.
“For hours we are actually taking the ship along this very, very tight channel where there is only about two to three feet of distance on each side between the ship and the river bank,” said Patrik Dahlgren, Vice President for Marine Operation at Royal Caribbean International.
It takes on average 10 hours to steer a cruise ship down the narrow, 32 kilometre pass.
That is, if weather conditions are on the side of those steering a giant ship through a key hole.
“We can’t set a firm date or time for the conveyance because it’s all timed with the tides and weather conditions to help balance the movements of the ship along the river,” Dahlgren said.
What are the challenges?
There are also plenty of other challenges facing the conveyance of Quantum of the Seas. At 348 meters long (1,141.73 feet long), 41.4 meters wide (135.8 feet wide) and weighing in at 168,666 gross tons, this ship is the largest ever to go through conveyance.
“With Quantum being the largest ship that has ever been built at Meyer Werft, there are some power lines that need to be rerouted, and some bridges along the river actually have to be lifted out of the way with a crane to allow the ship to pass, including one that is used by one of the main railways into Holland,” said Dahlgren.
Making the process even more of a spectacle is the fact that ships are conveyed backwards because it’s usually easier to manoeuvre them in reverse, and Quantum’s journey will be managed the same way.
Thousands of revellers from the surrounding local villages along the 26 mile route typically gather at the river bank to watch and celebrate each ship’s distinct journey.
What happens once the ship completes the conveyance? Quantum of the Seas will dock in Eemshaven, The Netherlands, where she will begin a series of tests, called sea trials, to measure the vessel’s seaworthiness, as well as test things like speed, manoeuvrability, equipment and safety features.
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