The follow-up ships for RCCL for which we were commissioned in the Meyer Werft shipyard were equipped with considerably less stage machinery items.
At the rear of the ship there was a Nightclub Bar with a two-part stage. Once fully extended, the stage was 100 m2 wide. By retracting the outer half of the stage, the dance floor could be enlarged accordingly.
Waagner Biro received the order for the AURORA relatively late in the course of the overall project. The construction of the ship was already so far advanced that the heavy stage wagons which we had planned could not be transported into the ship through any of the available entries. We were urged multiple times to disassemble the stage wagons into smaller pieces, but this was not possible anymore in this state of manufacturing. We were taken by surprise when, finally, a huge hole with a diameter of approx. 6 m was burnt into the outer wall of the ship on stage level through which we were able to introduce the fully assembled stage wagons. Upon completion of this installation, the metal piece that had previously been burnt out of the wall was reinserted into the opening and the gaps were welded both from the inside and outside and later painted. From the looks of it, you would not have suspected a thing.
That was not to remain the only peculiar feature of our first mission to build a stage on a new cruise ship.
At the time, the safety concept SIL 3 was not yet a thing. The main security requirements were double brakes which had to be tested individually with an overload of 25%. The security experts of the so-called “Schiffsklasse DNV” were at the time only interested in load testing the brakes as far as stage machinery was concerned – and rightly so. The tests of the first 19 fly bars ran smoothly. But then it happened: during the test of the second brake, a heavy load hoist crashed onto the – fortunately – covered stage, practically in free fall.
After a moment of shock, no explanation was to be found at first; we checked the control system but found no clue explaining the faulty behavior. Only after disassembling the drive did we find the brake covered in oil, which had caused the drive to slip. A faulty sealing ring at the gear box had let a thin stream of oil leak into the first brake mounted next to the gear box.