‘Tis the day before delivery and all through the ship . . .I have spent the day here in Turku preparing to take delivery of the ship tomorrow. Adam Goldstein flew over with me and we and Harri Kulovaara proceeded to inspect the ship. My last visit here was over a month ago and the change is startling. I’ve drawn an analogy to the process my wife goes through when she gets dressed. There is a lot of preparation and organization which seems to take forever. Then at the end, the final pieces of livery and jewelry go on and the transformation is complete. In both cases (that of my wife and the ALLURE) the result is breathtaking.
The most striking feature is just how complete the vessel is. At delivery, OASIS was largely complete, but there were significant areas where workers were scurrying about frantically trying to finish. This was especially apparent in the entertainment areas such as the main theatre, the AquaTheatre and the upper decks. In addition, although the hardware was ready, the crew was rushing to get all the soft codes in place: plates, silverware, towels, retails supplies, casino chips, etc. As a result, it still looked very much like a construction site with the same kind of frenetic activity and the same kind of cacophony of noises coming from all directions.
By contrast, ALLURE is calm and the ship pristine. Here, the crew was able to get access to their areas much earlier and have already gotten most of that stuff put away. As a result, there is a calmness onboard that one rarely sees at a ship delivery. At the same time, there is a strong undercurrent of not allowing ourselves to become complacent. Everything needs to be perfect and while it is almost so, it is not yet so. The net result is that our inspection felt like no other inspection I have done. Where normally, we would be discussing what details needed completing and what our plan for completing them would be, here we were simply observing how polished everything was and what operating activities would take it to a new level.
We are down to only about 1,200 remarks and there is a confidence that it will be down to fewer than 500 by the flag changing ceremony tomorrow. Not quite zero but extraordinarily low and a testament to the strong efforts by everyone involved from the Yard, from the inspection team and from our operating groups. Only 500 remarks at closing would simply be amazing and in a league of its own.
There is one exception to the unhurried and unharried pace. We decided to replace the donut shop with a fancy hot dog station called the Boardwalk Dog House. (Don’t worry, the donuts will still be available from a wagon nearby.) However, since it wasn’t part of the contract, we are building the Dog House ourselves and this work couldn’t start until the yard released the area to us. Finally we have something about which I am an expert and I will weigh in on this important epicurean delight.
Actually the most frenetic activity is taking place in the yard’s executive boardroom about 300 yards from the ship. It has been taken over by the lawyers and bankers preparing for tomorrow’s close. The ship may be nearly perfect, but the lawyers know that the paperwork must be perfect without a qualifier.
For me personally, I’m feeling very good. The ship is in good shape. The new areas are all that we hoped them to be. What really makes it special for me though is seeing so many of my friends. I’m amazed at how many of the officers and crew I know from other ships and how warmly they have welcomed me. Usually when I inspect a ship it’s a slow process because I like to see every nook and cranny. This time it is a slow process because I can’t go two feet without stopping to talk and commune with people from the Yard or from our crew.
Tomorrow is the big day. It is hard not to be nervous about such a major milestone. Fortunately, others have laid the groundwork so I can proceed with confidence.