Holland America's Eurodam, now under construction at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard just outside of Venice, achieved a major milestone this weekend when the first block of its keel was laid. The laying of the keel, the underwater part of the ship -- its foundation in essence -- marks the first significant stage of shipbuilding. A priest was on hand to offer a blessing for the ship, a ceremony that is part of Italy's shipbuilding tradition.
Following the first block, of course, are the rest, as shipyard workers, guiding huge cranes, lower the other modular sections into place. The pieces slot in place as if part of a giant jigsaw puzzle.
The 86,000-ton, 2,044-passenger Eurodam, a prototypical ship representing Holland America's new Signature class, will launch in June 2008.
Celebrity's prototypical Solstice underwent a similar ritual in mid-March. Shipyard workers at Meyer Werft, in Papenburg, Germany, began laying its keel. Each block that makes up the 122,000-ton, 2,850-passenger Celebrity Solstice, weights more than 430 tons, is 16 meters long, nearly 37 meters wide and stands eight meters tall! An 800-ton crane is needed to put them into place.
Celebrity Solstice, the largest ship ever built in Celebrity's fleet, will debut in October 2008.
And in other ship building news, the 112,000-ton, 3,000-passenger CostaSerena, which will be delivered May 15, successfully completed one of its final milestones: sea trials. That ship, which has been under construction at Fincantieri’s yard in Genoa, headed out to sea to test its systems, machinery and engines. CostaSerena will be christened in Marseilles on May 19.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor
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Shipyard Report: Progress on Cruising New-Builds
March 28, 2007