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Everything you need to know about cruise ship dry docks

Here’s what you need to know about cruise ship dry docks

Cruise ship dry docks

Posted on

18 Mar 2022

Ever wondered what happens to a cruise ship while it’s in dry dock? By law, cruise ships are required to dry dock at least every three years. However, some cruise lines periodically dry dock their ships in order to carry out improvements and in some cases, complete refurbishments. Here’s everything you need to know about cruise ship dry docks:

What is a dry dock?

Much like a canal’s lock system, a dry dock is a type of docking facility that can be flooded with water to allow a cruise ship to float in. When the cruise ship has floated in and been positioned on supports, the water is drained. The process gives shipyard workers access to the ship’s hull, allowing them to carry out inspections (required by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) and make necessary repairs.

What happens to a cruise ship in dry dock?

Maintenance, repairs and refurbishments are carried out on cruise ships while in dry dock. During scheduled maintenance, the cruise ship’s hull is inspected, cleaned and sometimes repainted, while its propellers and thrusters are also checked. If the cruise ship is scheduled for a makeover, structural changes and cosmetic work will be carried out.

Celebrity Silhouette, for example, entered into dry dock in January 2020 as part of The Celebrity Revolution, Celebrity Cruises' $500 million refurbishment programme. During her time in dry dock, Celebrity Silhouette’s accommodation was boldly rethought, the super luxurious Retreat was introduced alongside The Retreat Sundeck, The Retreat Lounge and Luminae, each of her main dining restaurants were transformed, her bars were given a fresh new look and her already incredible array of shops were expanded.

How often do cruise ships go into dry dock?

Newer cruise ships only really need to enter dry dock every three to five years while older cruise ships tend to need a little more tender loving care and may enter dry dock as often as every two years.

How long is a cruise ship dry dock?

The length of time a cruise ship spends in dry dock can vary from just a few days to weeks or even months if complete renovations are planned.

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