Dateline: 2015-05-28, Thursday
Location: Celebrity Millennium, many crew areas
We took a 3 hour guided Behind the Scenes tour today that took us to many of the areas on the ship that passengers are usually never able to see. This tour seems to alternatively be called the “Behind the Scenes” or the “See How It’s Done” tour by crew members and on printed material, which leads to a bit of confusion. So if you see either of those names it should be the same thing. It’s got a bit of a price tag to participate in it ($150 per person on our tour), but if you’re as intrigued by behind the scenes workings as we are it’s well worth the expense.
(Note: Earlier in the cruise we took another behind the scenes tour which focused exclusively on a Galley Tour.)
We started on the ship’s bridge, then went to the galley and food storage areas, the theatre and backstage areas, the engineering control center, many crew-only areas (like their mess hall, lounge and recreation area, express passageways, etc.), and finished in the laundry. Actually, the laundry was the last area we toured and were officially shown around, but the tour actually ended with them taking us back up to The Olympic (our favorite specialty restaurant on board) and serving us lunch there. Each table of 8 passengers also had 2 of the ship’s officers sitting down with them for lunch, so we had additional time to ask the officers lots of questions about on board life. A very nice touch!
One of the nicest aspects of the tour was that each area was led by someone that was an expert or in charge of that specific area. The ship’s bridge had the captain telling us about all the navigation tools they used, the theatre had the entertainment director and one of the performers, the engineering control room was actually filled with engineers doing their jobs that spoke to us, etc. So we got excellent information all along the way about how each individual area operated, and there weren’t any questions the group had that couldn’t be answered.
The number of sensor and mapping technologies in use on the bridge is pretty amazing — an interesting mix of cutting edge technologies and very “old school” traditional methods, each used in their specific optimal circumstance. The bridge sticks out farther on each side of the ship so the captain and crew are able to look down the length of the ship. On the areas that jut out over the water, there are also glass “windows” in the floor so they can see directly beneath.
The cold food storage part of the tour was very extensive (lots of information!) and incredibly interesting. There are separate rooms for fruits, vegetables, dry goods, meats, and alcohol — each with their specific settings for refrigeration and humidity levels. Everything, in all storage rooms, was elevated off the floor to guard against pests or food being ruined should there be something like a water leak in the room. For a 14 day period, (7 day northbound and 7 day return to Vancouver), this is a sampling of the amount of food they take on board: 6,000 dozen eggs; 12,000 pounds of potatoes; 15,000 pounds of watermelon; 6,000 pounds of cooking oil; 500 pounds of rice (just for the crew mess hall); 1,500 pounds of salmon (all fresh when in Alaska). There are a total of 32,000 items on the galley’s shopping list each time they restock.
The engineering room was filled with screens showing the status and operation of the engines, water pressure and flow, electricity capacity and usage — basically everything about the operation of the ship they needed to be aware of and control. We found it interesting that the computer screen displays still looked like very old control systems from the 1980s. The engineering crew demonstrated looking at different views and obtaining all the information they need, so the systems are obviously very capable.
While we were on the tour and below passenger decks in the crew area, we got to see something that wasn’t even really part of the tour. They were disembarking one of the crew’s officers, without stopping the ship! A large doorway was opened up just one deck above the water level, another small boat came up alongside, and the crew member hopped down onto the boat to leave — all while we were speeding along on the open ocean. There are a few more pictures (Flickr) and videos (YouTube) of this, especially if you want to get a sense for how fast we were moving along in the water when this was happening.
This is a look down the long corridor dubbed “I-95”. This long corridor runs the full length of the ship and allows crew members to quickly move to any area in the ship before heading up to the passenger decks. I-95 also has many crew areas directly off of it.
One of the larger areas off I-95 is the crew mess hall. Here they have a large cafeteria area with lots of food choices available. Like the passengers, they can eat as much as they like.
The laundry area was an amazing area. All those sheets and towels from passenger stateroom, napkins and tablecloths from the restaurants, and every other fabric on board that needs daily washing ends up here. You can see that some of the piles almost reach the ceiling in this large area. In the associated YouTube playlist, there’s a video of a huge machine that has sheets, tablecloths, or other large pieces of fabric feed into it, and the machine spits it out in a nicely folded rectangle.
Accompanying Pictures and Videos