Silversea Cruises is preparing to take delivery of a new ship, Silver Origin, from Dutch shipyard De Hoop.
Despite the global lockdown, Silversea said the construction outfit had implemented rigid safety procedures, reduced its workforce and devised ingenious ways to overcome challenges.
Four days after coronavirus was declared as a global pandemic, the Netherlands implemented a national lockdown, and the country ground to a halt.
Relatively isolated in Lobith, a remote corner of the Netherlands, De Hoop shipyard offered its approximately 250 employees the option to cease working.
While many were forced to return to their families or to their country of origin before borders closed, approximately 200 employees, mainly skilled carpenters, opted to continue.
Many employees were accommodated in an on-site residential facility, Barge Rossini, which had a reduced capacity from 200 to 100 for safety purposes.
As a result, contact circles were reduced, meetings were cancelled, and fewer people were allowed in each area of the ship.
While shallow waters on the Waal River delayed Silver Origin’s float out from November to December, the months of January and February brought heavy rain to Europe, leading to unusually higher water levels.
This prevented Silver Origin and Barge Rossini from passing beneath the 12 bridges that separate De Hoop Shipyard from the sea.
Only on March 26th was a safe passage to Rotterdam accessible, more than a month later than originally planned.
This left just four weeks between arrival in Rotterdam and the sea trial.
Held from April 27th–29th off the coast of Goeree-Overflakkee, Silver Origin’s sea trials were a success.
The finishing touches are now being applied to Silver Origin, ahead of the ship’s delivery in the coming weeks.
At the same time, Silversea has announced that it has extended its pause in operations until July due to the coronavirus crisis.
Silversea now plans to resume sailings with ship Silver Muse on July 16th.
This will be followed by Silver Spirit on July 17th, Silver Whisper on July 18th, Silver Cloud on July 20th, Silver Explorer on July 23rd, and Silver Shadow from July 26th.
Silver Wind is not due to return to service until November.