The art and science of turnaround day

How the end of one cruise is turned into the start of another — in just hours

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There is no compelling reason for a guest Oasis of the Seas to know – or care – that the last day of his or her cruise is the first day of another.

Between one guest’s debarkation and the other’s embarkation, an extraordinary numbers game is played. To win, careful choreography must be followed with near exactitude. At stake is a degree of profitability, one that relies on keeping ships filled with guests and at sea.

It’s a fascinating, complex process – and one that the New York Times devoted more than 2,300 words to explaining.

It’s called “turnaround day” and it happens once a week while Oasis of the Seas is moored in its home port of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Times reporter Jad Mouawad described it as “part Nascar pit stop, part loading of Noah’s Ark.”

In less than 11 hours starting at 6:00 a.m., the ship’s 2,140 crew members must, among many other tasks:

  • Offload 6,000 guests and more than 12,000 pieces of luggage.
  • Clean every stateroom and bathroom and make every bed.
  • Take on enough provisions to feed and fete all guests for the following week, including 24,000 bottles of beer, 1,400 of Champagne and 9,000 cans of soda.
  • Welcome a new contingent of 6,000 guests and get their luggage from pier to staterooms.

“We have everything down to a fine art,” Oasis of the Seas Hotel Director Martin Rissley told the Times. “The minute efficiencies you can create in the process make a big difference in the end.”

Even when the end for one is the beginning for another.