We’re currently pulling out of dry dock in Victoria, British Columbia, where we’ve been docked for ten days. Several people have asked me what dry dock is, so I’ll give you the world’s shortest, least informed primer…
Dry dock is a special kind of dock where they can drain out all the water, enabling contractors and crew to repair, repaint, and refurbish the ship. How they drain out that water, I’m not exactly sure – it’s on my list of “documentaries I’d really like to watch.” (I’d like to thank my dad for instilling in me a love of documentaries.)
There are no passengers in dry dock, because it’s very much a construction site. All the artwork and shop merchandise is gone. The meal service is very simple and unfussy. Floors and chairs and anything nice, really, is covered in plastic. Hammering and drilling and testing of the emergency systems occur often throughout the day (and sometimes night). The water is shut off at times, as is the electricity. Some dry dock periods in warmer climates are miserable due to lack of air conditioning the whole time, but as we are in Canada in the winter, that has not been an issue for us. (We have gotten plenty of rain and cold wind, though.)
I have to say, I expected it to look way more like a construction site around here. Having grown up around them, I was expecting wall studs everywhere and exposed pipes and wires. Not exactly what we saw. It was more like a gentle home remodel, although I’m sure a lot of that was due to the fact that I didn’t even try to walk around the ship and see what all was going on. It was cold! Also, I didn’t feel like running into areas I shouldn’t be in, so I just stuck to my room and the dining room.
Well, and downtown Victoria. I think I singlehandedly boosted the Victorian economy in the last week. Shopping has never been so enjoyable (we’re doing Secret Santas as a cast, so it wasn’t all for me), and I saw a show, ate at several different restaurants and coffee shops, and learned where all the free WiFi was.
So what changed on the ship? I don’t know everything, ’cause I think a lot of stuff isn’t obvious, but these were at least some of the projects:
- Interconnecting doors in passenger rooms
- New mattresses in all guest rooms
- All new carpet throughout the entire ship
- Brand new upholstery in the theatre
- Upgrading a bar into a restaurant
- A whole new design and shelving system for a couple of the boutiques
- Cleaning and painting the entire exterior of the ship
- Replacing one of the fancy restaurants with a fancier restaurant (brand new layout and feel)
- Lots of new TV screens in areas, which must have meant tons of new cabling
- Refinishing the wood floors and trim in several areas
And on and on. There was probably a ton of activity in the engine rooms and actual ship systems, but I don’t know anyone willing to show me what all happened there, so we’ll have to live with knowing it was upgraded *somehow*.
We now head to Vancouver to pick up passengers and get back to our regularly scheduled cruise life. Although it’s quickly coming to an end. I have exactly four cruises left: Vancouver to L.A., a Hawaii trip, a Mexico trip, and one last Hawaii trip. That’s it! I’ve already started preparing for life back in New York in small ways, but it’s hard to believe everything will change so dramatically so soon.
Though I am an employee of Princess Cruise Lines, all opinions are mine only and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.