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Handling Specialty awarded contract by Royal Caribbean

The Royal Caribbean contract is the largest fixed price contract in Handling Specialty’s 58-year history.

November 10, 2021   by Plant Staff

Photo: Royal Caribbean Cruises International.

Handling Specialty was contracted in 1995 to produce the underwater stage lift system for Cirque du Soleil at the Bellagio, in Las Vegas. The ‘O’ show continues to perform two shows per night after 24 years on the original Handling Specialty lift systems.

Since that moment, several underwater stage lift systems have been designed, built and installed into multiple theatres including the City of Dreams theatre, which runs The House of Dancing Water show in Macau. This undertaking gained Handling Specialty a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Handling Specialty is a leader in underwater theatrical spectacles, and installs systems worldwide. They are also flown to remote vacation locations to provide skilled technicians to repair or maintain these multi million-dollar systems efficiently to ensure the show(s) go on.

The most recent project is the accumulation of a nearly 20-year relationship, designing and building for Royal Caribbean International.

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“This project began 2.5-years ago with technical sales and conceptual engineering leading the charge to win this prestigious venture,” said Tom Beach, President, Handling Specialty and Lead Sales Associate on the project. “We cherish our relationship with Royal Caribbean and with a revenue stream via new builds, service, and dry dock overhauls that will last over 10-plus-years, we understand what it takes to keep our customers happy.”

Handling Specialty’s turnkey solutions for Royal Caribbean includes conceptual engineering and contract settlements, to full design including all electrical and hydraulic networks, custom stage flooring, installation, training, commissioning and on-going MRO.

Photo: Royal Caribbean Cruises International.

“Experience goes a long way in winning a project as large as this,” said Beach. “Deploying professionals and skilled technicians to Finland over the next 6 years to install our equipment will be a challenge, but we’ve completed similar scenarios many times before.”

In March 2021, Handling Specialty sent a team of technicians to Barbados where they quarantined on the Allure of the Seas for 14 days, one of the Oasis class of ships, and then performed planned maintenance on the ship’s underwater stage lift equipment.

The same group of people then went on to Spain, where they completed similar work on Harmony of the Seas. Freighting the parts and flying people to these locations during a pandemic, and successfully completing the work ahead of schedule, is an example of Handling Specialty’s abilities to organize massive projects and perform the work without interruption.

“Having worked together for almost 20 years on our Oasis class ships, I’m thrilled to be partnering with Handling Specialty again,” said Christopher Vlassopulos, Superintendent SLVR and Architectural Lighting, Royal Caribbean International & Celebrity Cruises.

The financial impact on the Niagara-based company is a welcome one. Entertainment industry builds have been scarce through the pandemic, and a project of this size is a boost to company moral, and a nod to Handling Specialty’s track record.
“I feel certain that Handling Specialty will continue our relationship with Royal Caribbean International and international ship yards for decades,” said Beach.