The First Luxury Liner Made in Papenburg
MEYER WERFT was already well known for constructing spectacular new ships, but in April 1984 the shipyard dared the seemingly impossible: The company announced the construction of a cruise liners that would be larger than the German Europa, having a tonnage of 42.000 gt.
Even during the record construction time of only two years, the Homeric was good for a lot of legends. There is for example the rumor that an employee of the contracted shipping company first took a glance at the sea lock in disbelieve and then at the new ship. The man demonstrated humor: "I think you’ll have a really nice hotel here.", he is reported to have said. His scepticism was entirely understandable. When the luxury liner laid keel, there only was a 26 meters wide lock. Having 29 meters, the Homeric was to be exactly three meters wider.
However, the problem regarding the lock was already solved at this time. The city did already work on a new dock lock that should enable ships having an overall length of up to 40 meters and a draught of 7,30 meters to get out of the Papenburg harbor. The new plant was put into operation in 1985.
The real problems of this contract were invisible for laymen, because the construction of such a huge cruise ship was primarily a technical master stroke. To name only one example: Up to the construction of the by far biggest roofed building dock, ships in Papenburg were launched sideways. No shipyard in the whole world did ever try to launch a passenger ship the size of the Homeric sideways.
On the day of the launching the new construction with yard number 610 was still about forty meters away from the edge of the harbor basin. By means of a cleverly devised system of hydraulic presses the colossus of 16.000 tons was heaved towards the water centimeter by centimeter. On September 28th 1985 there was a great festival mood all around the shipyard. Nobody wanted to miss the event of the century and the Homeric did seem to know what she owed to Papenburg. At 11.30 o’clock sharp the commando was given: "Clip!". Axe hits rode the air and only a few seconds later the giant ships sided majestically into the water.
In the following months, MEYER WERFT worked at full speed. The cruise liner could start its test run in the North Sea already in the end of December 1985. On Mai 5th 1986 the Homeric left the shipyard and headed towards New York.