The former cruise liner “Explorer” – now a very special floating university with lecture theatre, students’ hostel and refectory as well as other amenities – is to dock at Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven from May 4th to May 16th. It will be the first visit to a German shipyard by the 180 m long, 24318 GT ship since she was built at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg in 2001.
On the docket is not only routine classification work for Germanischer Lloyd but also repairs to her superstructures and engine plant as well as a number of improvements above and below deck.
The conventional cruise shipping career of the ex Greek-flag “Olympia Explorer” lasted only about four years. In 2004 the elegant cruise ship was taken over by the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) at the University of Chicago in Charlottesville, with the support and partnership of the universities of Pittsburgh and Colorado as well as the Chapman University. The purpose was to use her for student cruises as part of the “Semester at Sea” programme which has run successfully since 1963.
Since 2004, the “Explorer” has sailed throughout the world carrying students who are predominantly engaged in their studies while on board. One of the ways in which she differs from other cruise ships is that her stopovers in destination ports are unlike the stopovers on other ships. The “Explorer” stays a few more days in port than normal cruise ships to give students on board the opportunity for extended trips and studies ashore.
There is room on the ship for 836 passengers and 360 crew members. The crew at least will be on board on May 4th when the “Explorer” ties up at Lloyd Werft. The list of jobs to be tackled while she is in dock is a long one and includes steel repairs to superstructures and tanks, repairs to equipment pipe work systems over seven decks, ventilation plant repairs, the overhaul of sea cocks and rudder and propeller work. Also on the work docket are tank cleaning, conservation and a gearing plant overhaul. Above all however, the fresh water system, with which “Explorer” has had repeated problems, will be repaired by Lloyd Werft specialists. Finally, heeling tests will be carried out at the yard’s fitting-out quay.
There will also be work for Lloyd Werft to do in the passenger areas. New tiles will be laid and carpets in the public areas need replacing while the ship’s Bolidt floor coverings are also due for renewal.
After the work has been completed and classification has been renewed by Germanischer Lloyd, the next destination on the ship’s programme is the university city of Rostock. For the first time ever in Germany a new chapter in the U.S. success story “Semester at Sea” will be opened there.
Lloyd Werft, February 6, 2014