Cruise Ship Tour

Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands US – January 8, 2013

The sea was a little choppy today. At its worst, there were maybe three to four-foot swells. That meant the swimming pools were slopping water onto the deck like a blender with the top off. I don’t think it was severe enough to make people sick. It seemed to me it was just enough to make it somewhat challenging to walk, so you knew you were actually at sea.

The folded animal in our cabin.

Hillary, Tyler, and I took a “Behind the Fun” tour of the ship, Carnival Victory. We all found it very interesting. There were only 32 tickets available for two tours, approximately one percent of the passengers.
We began the tour in the galley as three of 16 participants. There is 111 crew in the kitchen, roughly ten percent of the entire team. The weekly food budget is about $243,000. All of the cooking appliances in the galley are either electric or steam. That is to help minimize the fire risk. Periodically, staff plan all of the meals for the next quarter.

Next, we walked to the theater. It has a 60,000 watt sound system. Some of the prop drops used in the shows are 20 feet tall by 40 feet wide, weighing up to 2,000 pounds. There are times when the presentations can be altered or even canceled, depending on the sea conditions.
One of the dancers talked about the feather packs they wear during one of the numbers in the show. Each one costs $5,000. Should one of the feathers need to be replaced, they run about $200 each. That is because they are hand-dyed ostrich feathers.From the theater on deck 3, we walked down to deck 0 to see the laundry operation. During the walk, we passed by both the brig and the morgue. I do not know if anyone was in either place, and I did not ask.
As we were touring the food and beverage storage area, we found out the weekly budget for beverages is $500,000. The hard liquor is stored separately because of the alcohol content and the fear of fire.
In a quick pass through the engine control room we found out the ship carries some 813,000 gallons of diesel fuel. That means a stop to fill ‘er up will run about US$3,200,000!! Two 25,000 horsepower motors are turning the propellers. Those also have an adjustable pitch to maximize performance.The last stop was the sexiest, the bridge. The captain personally toured us through the deck. The call sign for the ship is 3F FL 8 (with corresponding maritime flags). The wheel is only about the size of a dinner plate. Compared to the scale of the ship, the size of the steering mechanism is somewhat ironic.  The officers work four hours on, eight hours off, four hours on again.
The captain switched on the radar to include the water depth, which was about 8,500 feet. That is over a mile and a half!
One of the things we got to do was walk out on the port wing. That is the piece of the bridge that extends beyond the sides of the ship. It is used by the officers to monitor the docking procedure as well as tying the vessel to the dock. It was a fascinating view, while the ship was underway. There was a rectangular piece of glass in the floor of the wing. It was roughly two feet by three feet, and it provided a view directly down.
The bridge was very spacious. From side to side it is 116 feet. Add the wings to that, and it is around 132 feet wide. It was roughly 30 feet from the back to the front windows.
I would recommend this tour to anyone that takes a cruise.

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