Cleaning the world’s biggest cruise ships

Cleaning the world’s biggest cruise ships

They’re commonly referred to as ‘floating hotels’. Some would even go so far as to call them ‘villages in the sea’. We’re talking, of course, about cruise liners.

These modern ships are constantly getting bigger. Alongside multiple dining venues and swimming pools, you’ll now find ice rinks, basketball courts and shopping malls, for instance. The scale of these boats is often beyond belief. But the continued addition of such high quality facilities is all part of making the holidaymaker’s experience unforgettable – and first impressions count.

So exactly how do you prepare a cruise liner for its maiden voyage, once the construction works are complete?

That was the assignment set for an 8-strong team of our IRATA-trained rope access specialists recently.

The cruise ship in question had just been built, and was sitting in dock in readiness for its first trip out to sea. But at over 350m long, 18 storeys high and with a 30 minute walk from the bow to the stern, there was a mammoth cleaning job to undertake before it could set sail.

Given Access North Structures’ high level cleaning and maintenance experience within the leisure industry, we were approached to quote for the project. Less than 48 hours later, our technicians were en-route to Southampton to begin the 4-day job.

For this particular contract, the work was to take place largely on the ship’s interior. There was a snagging list typical of many new build projects – the only difference being the height and scale of the finishing touches!

Cruise Steelwork Clean - Access North StructuresDust marks and fingerprints had to be removed from the 50m glazed lift shaft, for example, until the glass was crystal clear. Paintwork had to be touched up throughout, which meant our guys were working on every storey and over the edge of the exterior balconies. Tasks included everything from cleaning, painting and polishing, which put our multi-disciplined team to good use.

In fact the variety of works required on site – and the quick turnaround of the project from enquiry to arrival – meant the team had to work quickly, efficiently and with maximum responsiveness. They turned up complete with all of the rigging gear and maintenance products they could possibly need, to ensure a reactive service. But, in truth, the speed and safety with which IRATA rope access technicians can work, meant they were perfectly suited to the time-constrained job. They worked methodically, coordinating their tasks around other contractors, for maximum safety and productivity.

And given the five star treatment they received when they were on board, there were certainly no complaints. After all, it was just as important for some of the ship’s 2000+ staff to practice on willing customers, before the real guests arrived.

Of course, cruising operators need to maintain the optimum appearance of their ships long after the maiden voyage, therefore ongoing inspections and cleaning are also required. But the wow factor was certainly there when the very first passengers arrived on deck.

For further information about Access North Structures rope access services or to discuss the high level cleaning and maintenance works required for your structure, please call our head office on 01484 506282 or drop us a message.