How to make an already-existing cruise ship bigger? Cut it in half, of course. That's what Silversea Cruises is doing to its Silver Spirit ship, which has been sailing since 2009. The 642-foot-long vessel was halved earlier this month so that a new 49-foot-long segment can be added, USA Today reports. The new and improved version of the ship will feature more restaurants and cabins, a larger pool area, and upgraded spa, fitness, and entertainment areas. "A rarely performed feat of maritime architecture, this type of lengthening has never before been employed for the extension of a luxury cruise ship," says Silversea in a press release.
More than 500 workers will be involved in the process, which is happening at an Italy shipyard and expected to take 450,000 worker hours and use 846 tons of steel, 360,892 feet of cabling, and 26,247 feet of piping. It will also cost $100 million, Travel + Leisure reports—a lot less than the $1 billion or more an entirely new ship can cost. Wexas Travel reports that 10 decks had to be cut through before the ship's two halves could be pulled apart to make room for the new section. The Spirit, which will have a 12% expanded passenger capacity after the renovation, will sail its first post-expansion cruise out of Italy starting May 6. (A cruise ship will carry you through the perilous Northwest Passage.)