Inside the Construction of Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas

Northern Europe’s largest gantry crane, nicknamed “Baby” at the Meyer Turku shipyard, lifted a single block of cabins for Royal Caribbean’s new Icon of the Seas, weighing more than 900 tons recently, Royal Caribbean Group officials said Tuesday.

The nine-deck, roughly 60-meters-wide block was moved in one day. It was the largest ever lifted in Europe, as far as shipyard officials knew.

Meyer Turku CEO Tim Meyer said there were no nerves in the move. His team had done a detailed study of how the steel would flex while being lifted and knew exactly how it should be handled while being moved into place.

“It’s very easy,” Meyer deadpanned. “It’s like building a Lego ship.”

While hoisting the cross section of cruise ship cabins was a feat of engineering, it was also an example of Icon’s aggressive build schedule. Putting the blocks together shoreside is much faster than doing so on the ship, so the larger the block moved, the less schedule burden.

In all, the Icon consisted of 201 blocks, with roughly one installed a day. Each block required about 100 meters of welding once in place.

Building the world’s largest cruise ship meant roughly 2,600 workers a day coming to  the Turku, Finland shipyard, representing some 20 nationalities from countless subcontractors. The ship will debut in Miami next January.

The Turku shipyard opened in 1737 — 58 years before the Meyer family started building ships.

Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty called the yard the “tip of the spear” of innovation.

In their seventh generation of ownership and 228th year in operation, the Meyer family remains both focused and humble.

Patriarch Bernard Meyer, CEO of Meyer Werft, declined to spend much time looking backward.

“We have no time to be proud; we have work to do,” he said.

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