Hello again and welcome to the final push here in Palermo.
This week we had an additional 120 hotel crew members joining the ship directly from the Philippines. There are some familiar faces as well as new ones, and after a 36-hour journey they each get a day’s rest before we put them all to work.
Mark’s team has increased tenfold but so has his workload. In the shipyard there is a huge storage area which we refer to the Cathedral and this is full of furniture which needs to come onboard before sailing. As well as the new indoor furniture which has to be carried onboard and distributed to the relevant areas, the outside lounge chairs need to be brought onboard and given a new lease of life with pressure cleaning and new material applied to the frames. I know just the man for this, Public Rooms Manager, Jeffrey, has arrived today and after his rest he will be charged with this task.
Inside the ship we are very busy trying to clean the public rooms as the Drawing room and Britannia Lounge are now complete. We find ourselves cleaning the same areas over and over again but luckily there is no tiring in the housekeeping team and I am sure they are grateful for the recent increase in numbers.
The new galley is complete and both the Pole to Pole and East to West are close to completion. The Grill is finished and the outside decks have been refurbished with materials by leading Dutch producer and installer Bolidt. They produce a composite that replicates the look and feel of real teak but is ecologically more responsible. It also offers other benefits as it has good slip and weather resistance and affords itself to easier onboard maintenance.
On Deck 11 the Pool area is coming along nicely and the beach huts are installed and painted blue and white. They will house old fashioned sweets and ice cream to add to the seaside atmosphere and you can always walk off the calories by playing a round of crazy golf, swimming in the pool or walking a mile six times around the deck.
The Bridge team, headed by Captain McLundie, is extremely busy ensuring that we are ship shape and Bristol fashion before we start our crossing. His Staff Captain, Safety Officer and the entire team are working long hours to ensure that we are safe once we are in the open water.
Chief Len and his team are getting ready for engine trials to make sure that all is working properly before we disconnect from the shore power. This is not an easy task I might add, but we know with experienced people we are in good hands.
I have to add that during these months the Engineering department has kept all the services going during the change over and installation of the new generator and all the other numerous jobs they had to do. They have carried out their tasks with a minimum disruption to hundreds of people, keeping us supplied with power for hot food, hot water, clean laundry and flushing toilets for which we are eternally grateful, so a big thank you to them.
The Deck 10 Aft cabins are 80 % complete and the Deck 8 Balcony cabins are totally finished and are being deep cleaned by the staff. Signage is going up in the corridors directing the way to the newly furbished and renamed areas. It is the final push and we are all looking forward to seeing the finished product and sailing back to Southampton.
Captain McLundie will take over the written blog once we are underway, but before this the film team is coming back onboard to capture the sail away from Palermo and the finished product so I hope you will enjoy watching those. I did hear Chief Len is looking for an agent if anyone can recommend one.
As we get ready to leave Palermo, we hope we can say ‘Tutto è bene che riesce bene’ and we hope to see you onboard soon.