Silver Spirit luxury cruise ship dockyard hero

Gallery: Silver Spirit luxury cruise ship cut in two and extended

Silver Spirit, a luxury cruise ship operated by Silversea Cruises, was recently the centre of attention at Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, when the vessel was cut in two as part of an ambitious lengthening project.

With official celebratory ceremonies to mark the occasion, guests watched as skilled workers completed the final cut on Saturday 10 March and the two parts were separated.

On the following day a prebuilt 15-metre segment was manoeuvred into the gap and the parts were brought back together for welding to begin, to be followed by connecting cabling, pipework and other services.

As a result of this, Silver Sprit has grown from 195.8m to 210.7m long, and her gross tonnage (a measure related to interior volume) increases from 36,009 to 39,519. Her passenger capacity, previously 540, will rise to 608.

The ship is now reconnected. The rare lengthening project will not only increase the number of passenger suites but also create more space in public areas to accommodate enhanced facilities.

These include new restaurants, more outdoor seating, a longer pool, with an aerobics area and weights room to complement the upgraded fitness suite, and new entertai

nment areas.While the lengthening is reported to cost more than $70m, this represents less than half the total value of the project when the refurbishment is taken into account.

If all goes according to schedule, Silver Spirit will return to service on 6 May 2018.

The lengthening project will increase Silver Spirit’s passenger capacity from 540 to 608.

The ship was cut in half to make room for the new mid-section.

Silver Spirit was built in 2009 for the luxury cruise market.

The work is being carried out at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo.

More than 500 skilled workers are involved in the project.

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