How Does a Ship “Shrink” to Fit Under a Bridge? (Video)

Allure of the Seas.

MS Allure of the Seas is a cruise ship and is sister ship to the MS Oasis of the Seas,  the two of which hold the distinction of being the world’s largest passenger vessels, although it was recently determined that—through an anomaly discovered by design engineers—Allure of the Seas is actually two inches longer than her sister ship, which technically makes Allure the largest passenger ship ever constructed, despite the fact that both ships have identical superstructures.

Allure of the Seas is 1,188 feet (362 m) long, has a tonnage of 225,000 gross tons, and carries around 5,600 people.
The ship features telescoping funnels, a two-deck dance hall, a theatre with 1,380 seats, and an ice skating rink.

The Height of the ship is about 73 meters, it needs to be less than 65 meters to fit under
Denmark’s Storebaelt Bridge (Great Belt Bridge) So the cruise ship needs to “shrink” at least 8 meters to make it under the bridge. The video below explains how it’s all done.

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19 Responses to How Does a Ship “Shrink” to Fit Under a Bridge? (Video)

  1. Windsmoke. says:

    Allure of the Seas is part submarine with her ballast tanks, what a very tight squeeze that is to pass under the Storebaelt Bridge even with her funnel’s retracted very smart idea indeed :-).

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Windsmoke,
      It is very ingenious how they designed it all into the ship. You really don’t think too much about it until you see something like this.
      Thank You for visiting and also for the comment.

  2. malc50 says:

    Thanks magsx2, Entertaining and educational, as we have come to expect from your posts! The “Allure of the Seas” is on a much bigger scale than the “Viking Danube”, but the same general idea. When we did our Amsterdam to Budapest River Cruise, our river boat had to shrink to go through a number of locks and under a number of bridges.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi malc50,
      Thank You very much, like you I also learned a lot as well.
      Sounds like you had some wonderful trips, I think it’s amazing how they put these things into the design, even on your River Cruise they would of had to put in a way of “shrinking” the ship as they built it.

  3. travelrat says:

    Couldn’t they just wait till the tide goes out? 😀

    I saw a situation in Egypt once … the river cruise boat ahead of us forgot to take down the awning on the top deck as it passed through the Esna Lock, & it got crused under the gantry as the waters rose. I have video, but can’t post it, as this was back in the days of analogue tape. I did think of sending it to ‘You’ve Been Framed!’ though.

    (Incidentally, is the Great Belt Bridge another name for the Oresund Bridge, between Sweden and Denmark? My friend Stig, the Danish brewer, says they only built it so the Swedes could get some decent beer!)

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi travelrat,
      I’m glad I wasn’t on the boat in Egypt, I bet the people on board would of got a hell of a fright.
      I’m not sure about that name “Oresund Bridge” but in Wikipedia it does mention Finland and Denmark.
      “Construction of the Great Belt Fixed Link commenced in 1988. In 1991, Finland sued Denmark at the International Court of Justice, on the grounds that Finnish-built mobile offshore drilling units would have been unable to pass beneath the bridge. The two countries negotiated a financial compensation of 90 million Danish kroner, and Finland withdrew the lawsuit”

  4. bingbing says:

    It was on Discovery Channel a little while back. Pretty cool, eh?

  5. bronxboy55 says:

    That was fun to watch. I was also impressed by the explanations given in the video — simple and clear. Very often, people in those kinds of positions have trouble explaining what they do to people who know nothing about it. Not so here. Thanks!

  6. kymbo says:

    How cool is that?!!! Gee but can you imagine if they got it wrong? LOLOLOL

  7. gitwizard says:

    Great video. Don’t think i’d like to be on the bridge when the ship is passing under….just in case!
    Talking of maximum headroom,
    here in the UK we have the double decker buses that are an iconic sight in London and although I haven’t heard of a case for some time, every so often a new driver will have to take his vehicle on a detour for some reason and that detour might have a low bridge……amazingly, very few of these incidents have resulted in people being killed!

  8. gregoryno6 says:

    It does the job, but I think they approached the problem from the wrong angle altogether. Consider this alternative method.

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