Say you're an executive of a cruise company, the demand for cruises is growing rapidly and you want to increase the passenger capacity of your ships. What would you do? You can, of course, order new ships, but it takes 3 or more years to build them. How about something quicker? How about you take one of your huge 12-story ships, cut it in half at the middle and add a huge block of new rooms?
Well, that's exactly how the executives at Royal Caribbean decided to proceed. They took one of their ships - Enchantment of the Seas - and expanded it to accommodate for increased demand for cruises.
Initially, the construction crew used circular saws and torches to cut the ship at the middle. They cut through everything - the outer hull that was made from steel, the watertight inner hull, cables, pipes, even ventilation system. The swimming pool on the ship's top deck was also cut. The whole cutting process took 2 days, and after it was finished, a narrow line of light could be seen traveling from the top of the ship all the way to the bottom.
After that, the construction crew moved the two halves of the ship away from each other, and positioned a huge 73 foot, 2,500 ton section (which contained 151 furnished rooms) between them. Then came the final part - reattaching cables, pipes and everything else - a process that took two weeks.
The enlargement of the cruise ship took about one month, during which the ship grew from 916 feet to 990 feet. This process, which took place on a shipyard called Keppel Verolme in Rotterdam, Netherlands, cost about $60 million, just a fraction of the cost it takes to build a new ship. Now the ship - Enchantment of the Seas - is able to enchant 300 more vacationers on each of its trips.
Cruise ship on shipyard before being cut
Cruise ship has been cut and moved apart
Re-attachment of the ship is about to begin