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Making Ships Bigger: Hull Of A Job

Let’s say you own a cruise line and the smallest ships in your fleet have become, in this age of giant cruise ships, just too small. So you’re faced with a competitive choice. You sell them and hope when the euros or dollars settle, there are enough of them to help finance four bigger ships.

Or…

You cut them in half and make them bigger!

That’s what MSC Cruises is doing with four Lirica Class ships, the oldest and smallest on its fleet of 12. MSC already has four new ships on order but obviously felt the Lirica sisters Sinfonia— all built between 2001 and 2004 and all equipped to carry about 2,000 passengers — needed to be replaced…or enlarged.

So, at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy (the Armonia, Sinfonia, Lirica and Opera) will be cut in half and have a new section inserted in the middle — balance is, after all, important — and then put back together. The new section increases capacity by 193 cabins and costs about $55 million per ship, all of which apparently makes economic sense.

The process has already begun, with the Sinfonia. These are two of the MSC photos and there are more, plus the video, at www.dailymail.co.uk., the London newspaper’s website, Sinfonia-1along with a brief video about the process. This isn’t entirely new — you can find a YouTube video of the same thing happening to the Norwegian Crown, and there hash’t been a ship of that name for almost eight years.

Even so, it’s a fascinating procedure. It takes 10 weeks, plus another couple for sea trials, so the “new” Sinfonia isn’t expected back in service until the end of March.

It gives a whole new meaning to refurbishing a ship, doesn’t it?

Today at portsandbows.com: Change of mind about theme cruises

Carnival Glory
7 nights
June 6, 2015
Miami (return): Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Grand Cayman
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $92
www.carnival.com

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