While cruising on Royal Caribbean’s ship The Adventure of the Seas I decided to do something extraordinary, as we have already visited several Caribbean islands and the ship was at sea the next day.
I booked in “All access Ship Tour” and I must say that it was the most interesting tour on the ship. There were 20 people in the group who were excited to start the tour. The ship was built in Finland at the Masa-Yards shipyard in Turku in 2001 and has 6 Wärtsilä engines. The ship has a capacity of 3835 people plus 1185 crew members . Catering for thousands people
We started the tour by meeting with the Master chef and his staff at the restaurant. There are 350 restaurant workers under the supervisory of the Master Chef. He starts his day at 6 am with quality monitoring for all products delivered to the ship, so he has until 3:30 p.m. to send something back to his produce supplier, like a pallet of tomatoes, and to get a replacement a little later in the afternoon. All the food is prepared onboard, bread and pastries are baked daily in the ship’s own bakery. They don’t pre-cook the steaks and keep them in a warmer as you would in a typical hotel banquet operation, instead on the Royal Caribbean all food is prepared from start to finish just before serving, when it is served hot and fresh. There are also more than twenty different food services onboard including major restaurants. 22 chefs, 220 cooks and 100 restaurant staff, who work very hard and make sure that every traveler will be satisfied with the food.
On the Royal Caribbean, food will be ordered from Fort Lauderdale and the food is typically transferred from wooden pallets to metal trays, which can be more easily cleaned, to prevent ship contamination by anything that might have been on the wood. For similar reasons, other packaging, such as cardboard, is incinerated. Once on the ship, supplies are shuttled to dozens of storehouses set to various temperatures. Storage, preparation, and cooking are done in separate rooms to prevent cross-contamination. For instance, commissary kitchens customarily handle food preparation, such as slicing tomatoes, cubing melons, and marinating slices of beef. That way, no prep work happens in the kitchen.
From a start, there’s a lot of liquid to deal with every day. Even with aeration systems designed to reduce the amount of water coming out of bathroom taps and shower heads, the average ship will use an average of 40-50 gallons per passenger per day.
The “grey water” from galleys, laundries and bathrooms is first mixed in carefully measured proportions with the “black water” lavatory waste before bio reactors deep in the bowels of the ship set to work.There, all the nasty stuff is filtered out and digested by bacteria. The remaining liquid is disinfected by UV radiation rather than chlorine or other chemicals that would themselves be harmful to marine life .Because it is so clean, some ports have given approval for it to be discharged closer than the statutory 12 miles from land. About three tons of solids left from the original 1,200 tons of waste per day is incinerated or contained until it can be offloaded.Cabin stewards separate the paper, plastic, metal and glass from cabin waste bins.
A huge machine breaks the bottles into pea-sized pellets, the hydraulics squeeze cardboard and aluminium into blocks, and the furnaces burn non-recyclable waste. All paper, except paper contaminated with food, is baked and recycled. Cardboard is the largest solid waste quantity, which is also separated, tied, baked and exported to countries.
The way that cruise ships handle waste is governed by strict international maritime laws (administered by the London-based International Maritime Organisation – a United Nations agency).
The laundry is on the same deck with a sewage treatment plant, all the washing and ironing of the linen has been done on board. On this floor you can find washing machines that wash hundred pounds of linens. There are also huge mangles, where the workers feed the sheets incessantly to press them. The passengers can also send they own clothes for washing and ironing for a fee.
The ship’s Engine control room is located a couple decks below the passenger decks and have to go through strictly controlled surveillance. All of us needed to go through a personal inspection where the guard investigated that no one had any weapons. However, photography was allowed in both the ship’s engine control room and on the bridge. The Engine control room had a large number of computers, displays and control panels with screens and engineers were carefully monitoring the ship’s engines and other factors affecting the ship’s control. The control room was said to be the heart of the ship.
The bridge was located on 10th deck and had a great view of the sea and the ship’s helicopter deck. The captain had a break and the Swedish vice captain was happy to answer our questions. When asked how the ship stay in equilibrium on heavy storm, she answered that ship has two hydraulics operated stabilisers that stick outside from both sides just on the water level and stabilize the boat. During the two-hour tour we learned a lot of interesting things and I recommend “All Access Ship Tour” to anyone interested in the ship’s activities “behind the scenes”. There are two new ships coming from Turku, Finland’s shipyard for Royal Caribbean, and they will be released in 2022 and 2024.