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Stretching A Cruise Ship – A Unique Renovation

There are many ways cruise lines can go about renovating their ships. Some choose to rip out cabins and replace them with fewer, larger ones that offer more comfort. Others turn a restaurant into a lounge, or vice versa, with a lick of paint and a quick re-design. But there is a far more elaborate way to create more space and give a vessel a new look.


The art of ‘stretching’ a ship involves cutting it down the middle, inserting a ready-made section and then welding it back together again. What seems like a modern and lengthy process is actually something that started in the 1800s when new compound steam engines were first introduced. So that their ships could travel further without stopping to refuel, cruise lines were keen to add this new propulsion method to their vessels, but this meant losing cabin space.

Determined not to reduce their capacity, a trend was started by cargo company Allan Line. Once people saw how easily this could be done, many more made the decision to lengthen their ships to maintain the number of cabins. This remained the case until White Star Line revolutionised ship design and caused everybody else to rethink the layout of their vessels.

In the modern era, stretching a cruise ship is somewhat rarer but is still a route chosen by various cruise lines. The fascinating process means that companies can increase the capacity of their fleet without having to invest in an entire new ship. Hundreds of cabins can be built into the new section and then simply placed between the two halves of the ship for a fraction of the cost of a new build.

It was Fred. Olsen Cruise lines that restarted this trend in the 21st century when they lengthened Braemar and Balmoral in 2007 and 2008 respectively. MSC Cruises then went on to do the same in 2014 and 2015 with all four of their Lirica-Class vessels and, most recently, Silversea Cruises has stretched Silver Spirit in the same way. So, with the number of cruise passengers growing year by year, are we likely to see more cruise lines renovate their ships in this way in the future?

Take a look at how this process works below. This video shows the early stages of Silver Spirit’s ‘stretching’ and gives a great insight into what goes on. If you would like to book a cruise aboard any of the ships we have available, stretched or otherwise, call our knowledgeable team on 0808 252 0099. Alternatively, you can click here to fill in an online enquiry form.

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