Cruise Ship Welding Job

Last Updated/Verified: Mar 5, 2024

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Here is a real life cruise ship job I did for LCL Engineering. We added a water park to the Carnival Spirit while out at sea off of the coast of California.

Carnival Spirit water park coming soon sign.
Carnival Spirit water park coming soon sign.

This job was 2 weeks long and I had to travel from Ft Lauderdale Florida to Los Angele California to board the ship and then the ship sailed to San Francisco to dry dock and then to San Diego to drop us off before going to Hawaii.

The hours were crazy! It was as long as you can work, keep going 24/7! You can easily get 150 a week in. Its International waters and labor laws no longer apply! These jobs are for independent contractors and are a flat hourly rate (no overtime pay) and you must have your own insurance. People flew in from all around the World to do this job. Europe, Latin America, Asia and so on.

Arriving at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel
Arriving at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel
Hilton Hotel Hallway Los Angeles
Hilton Hotel Hallway Los Angeles
Hilton Hotel hallway Los Angeles
Hilton Hotel searching for our room.
Los Angeles Hilton Hotel Room
Our shared hotel room. It’s 2 people per room so make sure you get along with the person you are with. My roommate was intolerable. Kept me up all night and was rude as hell!
Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel Room
Another view of the room.
Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel Room Menu
The INSANELY priced menu for rich people! $19 for a 3 egg omelet and $15 for French toast!
Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel Room Menu
More overpriced food! We just went to Mcdonalds to eat!
View of Port Los Angeles Air Port
Approaching the Port of Los Angeles where the shop is docked.
View of Port Los Angeles Airport
Finally the ship is in sight.
Port Los Angeles
Supplies being loaded onto the ship by a crane.
US Border Agent
US Customs and Boarder Patrol. They check everyone! A dog even need to sniff welding cables becuse they could be a threat.
Shipping container used as tool box
Our tool boxes arriving that will be flown in by a crane. Out at sea you need to be prepared for everything.
Boarding Carnival Spirit
Waiting in line for 2 hours to board the ship while caring a 200 lb bag.
Boarding Carnival Spirit
About to go through Customs agents where they x-ray everything just like in a airport.
Carnival Spirit Deck 10
Carnival Spirit Deck 10. Carried a 200 lb bag up 10 flights of stairs. It was rough.
Carnival Spirit docked in Port of Los Angeles looking at Los Angeles
Deck 10 looking at Los Angeles
Port Los Angeles HATSU shipi.
Port Los Angeles HATSU shipi.
Panoramic View of Port Los Angeles
Panoramic View of Port Los Angeles
Carnival Spirit deck 11 water park construction beginning
Deck 11 where we are starting to build the water park. Just laying down the stainless steel.
Carnival Spirit water slide
The old water slide.
Carnival Spirit Forward Theater
Carnival Spirit Forward Theater where orientation and safety meetings are held for independent contractors.
Carnival Spirit hallways at night
Walking around at night in the ships hallways.
Carnival Spirit Port side cabin deck 5.
This was the room I shared with a guy from Ecuador. So much nicer than the rude roommate from Jamaica. He was quiet and we almost never seen each other. I spent a max of 2 hours a day sleeping.
Carnival Spirit cabin view deck 5 port side
The view from the cabin and noting but open ocean in all directions.
Carnival Spirit dining hall entrance
Entrance to the dining hall.
Welder large tool box
Our Tool Boxes on top of the ship. They are modified shipping containers that double as the office.
Carnival Spirit breakfast buffet
Chef prepared breakfast buffet. The food was awesome.
Carnival Spirit pacific sunset
Sunset over the pacific ocean
Dawn on the Carnival Spirit in the Pacific
Dawn on the ship and the Pelicans are taking as break.
David Zielinski
Thats me (David Zielinski) welding stainless to carbon steel to start the water park.
Tack welding stainless steel to carbon steel ship deck of the Carnival Spirit cruise ship
Tack welding stainless to the carbon steel ship deck.
E309L-17 Electrode for welding stainless steel to carbon steel.
E309L-17 Electrode for welding stainless steel to carbon steel.
E309L Stick Weld SMAW Slag Covering
E309L Stick Weld with Slag Covering
Carnival Spirit windy David Zielinski
It’s pretty windy on deck when the ship is cruising at 25 mph and winds are strong. Those are the conditions we were welding in.
Tack welding support pads with a E7018
Tack welding support pads to the deck with a E7018. This is the points that are going to support columns. We also have to reinforce the deck from below to support the weight.
Stick welding support pads with E7018 electrode
It’s really windy and you can see the sparks flying horizontal.
Support pads for ship deck fillet weld with a E7018
The pads welded and the E7018 slag chipped.
Panoramic picture of the Carnival Spirit water park being built.
Panoramic picture of the water park.
Working on the aft (meaning back) of the Carnival Spirit.
Working on the aft (ship term meaning back) of the Carnival Spirit. Another panoramic view.
Welding gas cylinders secured properly to ships aft
Welding glasses secured and our supply. If you run out of gas out at sea your out of luck! Plan carefully!
Carnival Spirit Lunch Galley
Getting lunch in the galley (ship term for dining area). Full buffet 24/7 and just about anything you want is available. Never had Filipino food and it was excellent!
Galley Carnival Spirit
Feels like a ghost ship sometimes.
Carnival Spirit rear galley ocean view
Eating lunch with a view of the ocean. This the back of the ship.
Carnival Spirit water park being built
Getting back to work after lunch.
Moon over top deck of Carnival Spirit.
Evening again and another view of the moon. In person it was a huge moon and the camera does not show that.
BAE System Dry dock entrance
Finally arriving at the BAE Systems Dry Dock in San Francisco California.
BAE Systems Dry Dock San Francisco
Finally in the BAE Systems Dry Dock where we will stay for a while. The ship will soon be raised out of the water.
Welders working in confined spaces.
Adding supports for the deck from below. It’s tight, things catch on fire and you need to squeeze into very small spaces.
Welding in confined space on the Carnival Spirit.
Helping pass stuff back and forth for another welder and being fire watch. This is the office.
Getting Ready to Weld in Confined Space
Getting ready to prepare another weld joint and add a support.
Crane loading water park supplies on the Carnival Spirit
A crane on a barge is loading the water park equipment.
Carnival Spirit water slide being lifted on deck.
Crane flying in the water park slide. That is what we were reinforcing the deck for.
Carnival Spirit water slide being lowered on deck.
Crane lowering the water slide onto the deck.
Moon over San Francisco in the BAE Systems Dry Dock
Another evening with the moon over San Francisco while at dry dock.
Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship water park barrier is getting installed.
The stainless steel water park barrier is getting fit into place.
Tacking stainless steel to carbon steel with a E309L-17.
Tacking stainless steel to carbon steel with a E309L-17.
Proper lanyard tie off on cruise ship
Bolting together the water slide. Notice how that person is tied off.
The BAE Systems crane in San Francisco moving containers and equipment.
The BAE Systems crane moving containers and equipment.
Another stainless steel to carbon steel weld using a E309L-17 electrode.
Another stainless steel to carbon steel weld using a E309L-17 electrode.
Stainless steel welded branch connection.
Stainless steel pipe branch fitting. This is a perfect example of you you ned to learn fitter math and know how to dissect a circle into degrees, minutes and seconds.
BAE Systems Dry Dock San Francisco
Looking down at the dry dock.
Tight pipe welding position.
Pipe systems inside a ship. This is a perfect example of why you need to learn to weld pipe in every position and in tight spaces both left and right handed. A welding booth is super easy compared to the real World! Those are not even that tight!
Carnival Spirit bow thrusters
Pressure washing the hull next to the bow thrusters.
BAE Systems dry dock ship evacuation drill of the Carnival Spirit
Ship evacuation drill and visit to San Francisco.
Boarding the Carnival Spirit at the BAE Systems Dry Dock
Evacuation drill is finished and boarding again. Got to walk up at least 15 flights of stairs. These ships are big!
Carnival Spirit lunch buffet
Another buffet lunch and it never gets old! The food is awesome! All chief prepared and made from scratch.
Welding stainless steel with SMAW to carbon steel with a E309L-17 electrode
Stick welding more stainless to carbon steel
Ship loading equipment
This is how you load a ship. That’s areal lift used for getting to high places.
Full moon over San Francisco bay
Full moon over San Francisco bay. We are still working day and night non stop. We just nap for a hour and take a shower and back to work.
ESAB SMAW Electrodes
ESAB electrodes and you can see how other languages spell “electrodes”. ESAB are excellent electrodes! Outside of the United States ESAB is the main welding equipment manufacture.
Fluxed Cored Arc Welding Wire E71T-1
Fluxed Cored Arc Welding Wire. E71T-1 is what is used on most ships. It’s so easy to run in any position. If you can Stick weld a few hours of practice is all you need to master FCAW welding.
Miller MIG/FCAW wire feeder used for outdoor welding.
Miller MIG/FCAW wire feeder used for outdoor welding.
Miller MIG/FCAW wire feeder used for outdoor welding. closed and sealed from water.
Miller MIG/FCAW wire feeder used for outdoor welding. closed and sealed from water.
Setting up the Fluxed Cored Arc Welder and dialing it in for our material thickness.
Setting up the Fluxed Cored Arc Welder and dialing it in for our material thickness.
The elevator on deck 5 of the Carnival Spirit.
The elevator on deck 5 of the Carnival Spirit. I was waiting for the Devil to jump out of there!
The Carnival Spirit lobby
The Carnival Spirit lobby. All hand painted murals and they spare no expense!
Carnival Spirit Galley
The galley overlooking San Francisco Bay and San Francisco. Galley is a ship term for the place you eat and cook.
Vertical up stick weld E7018 on water tank dragging uphill
Running some E7018 uphill on a water tank. I literally drag uphill. Once you get god enough you travel angle does not matter. You know how to walk the arc.
Electrode angle for stick welding vertical up and dragging technique
My vertical up travel angle. The text book is not always right! Once I build a shelf of weld I drag uphill like welding pipe.
Crane loading a Genie S-65 aerial lift
Crane loading a Genie lift S-65. It is a 65 foot aerial lift.
TIG welding stainless steel handrails.
Watching someone TIG Weld the stainless steel railing.
Dogs and wedges used to bend steel during fabrication.
Using dogs and wedges to squeeze the steel together. This is a very powerful way to clamp steel and move it where you want. 2 in plate bends easily with just a few taps of a hammer.
Stick Welding Stainless Steel with a Fillet Weld to Plate. using a E308 Electrode.
Stick Welding Stainless Steel with a Fillet Weld to Plate.
Stainless Steel SMAW fillet pipe to plate weld using a E308-16 electrode with slag covering
Stainless Steel Stick weld using a E308-16 Electrode with the slag covering and its still red hot.
Cleaned stainless steel pipe to plate fillet weld using a SMAW/Stick E308 electrode.
The cleaned weld from the E308 electrodes. It take some time to get used to and its pretty hard to do much better than that unless it’s heaverie plate.
Welder fire watch
Our fire watch. She is from the Filipinos and has been on the ship for over a year.
MIG Welding supplies, wire brush, chipping hammer a and MIG welding pliers.
The tools you need to MIG Weld: chipping hammer, wire brush and the lifesaving MIG welder pliers or welders helper as some call them.
Flux Cored Arc fillet weld using E71-T electrode
Fillet horizontal Flux Cored Arc Weld using E71-T electrode on a water holding tank .
Fillet Fluxed Cored Arc Weld using a E71-T electrode and C25 shielding gas in the horizontal position.
Another Fluxed Cored Arc welding I did on the holding tank.
Argon bottle on cart.
Transporting a Argon bottle.
Wile E Coyote Cartoon Argon Gas Bottle Idea
That Argon bottle on a cart gave me a idea! What could go wrong?
Underside of a ship deck
The underside of the ships deck where we need to reinforce it for the water park.
Confined work space
Getting into my work area for the next few days. Its very tight and you need to wiggle your way in.
Confined space with bad air quality wearing a dirty respirator.
That’s me working in the hole for a few days. The air quality sucks and that respirator started out pure white. When welding you don’t want to breath those fume. They are extremely toxic!
Confined work space
Can’t stand, sit or weld in any other position except laying down on insulation and dirt.
Welding vertical up with a E71-T Flux Cored electrode in a confined restricted space.
Welding vertical up with a E71-T Flux Cored electrode.
Genie S-65 on top deck of cruise ship.
Genie lift on the top deck.
Welding in confined space.
A few more days and I will be able to stand up to work like a normal person.
FCAW weld on gusset using a E71-T electrode in the horizontal position or 1f position.
Another Fluxed Cored Arc weld done on a gusset.
Overlooking the San Francisco skyline
Another night overlooking the San Francisco skyline.
Pipe to plate horizontal fillet weld 1F on stainless steel using E308 smaw electrode.
Another horizontal fillet weld on stainless.
Overhead welding in confined space with SMAW.
Today I am the fire watch and helper.
Welding vertical up with FCAW using a E71-T electrode and shielding gas or dual shield.
Welding vertical up with FCAW.
Carnival Spirit water park water storage tank being built.
A view of the water holding tank being built.
Inside of water tank being welded.
Inside of the water tank.
Carnival Spirit water tank construction.
More welding 24/7 in the water tank.
BAE System dry dock Carnival Spirit Galley.
Having a coffee break overlooking San Francisco .
Carnival Spirit desert.
Having some desert with my coffee. The buffet has just about anything you want including sea food.
San Francisco skyline.
Another evening overlooking San Francisco.
David Zielinski on welding job.
Another picture of me.
Carnival Spirit dinner buffet.
Another dinner at the endless buffet.
Carnival Spirit salad buffet.
The salad buffet.
Having some fun with the ship photographer. Shooting pictures of each other taking pictures.
Ship water holding tank for water park
The water tank is getting close to completion.
Stainless steel funnel welded to pipe with a flange
Stainless funnel with flange.
Vertical up FCAW weld on A36 steel and a E71-t filler wire.
Vertical fillet weld I did with FCAW.
Ship bulkheads Carnival Spirit
Bulkheads for the water tank. They keep the water from splashing around too much when the ship is in rough seas.
Miller XMT welder.
Miller XMT welder.
OSHA safety violation
Serious safety violation!
BAE Systems tug boats getting ready to escort the Carnival Spirit out of San Francisco bay.
TUG boats getting ready to escort us back out to sea.
Carnival Spirit lounge at night.
Passing through the lounge.
Carnival Spirit conference room.
Passing through the conference room. Pretty snooty!
Carnival Spirit lifeboats.
Lifeboats are being loaded back on for our return journey.
Carnival Spirit lifeboats being lifted onto ship.
The lifeboats are being lifted into place.
Carnival Spirit pool.
The pool on the top deck.
Radar arch on Carnival Spirit
Going back out to sea and looking up at the radar arch.
Carnival Spirit Deck 11
Another shot of deck 11 as we start going out to sea.
Carnival Spirit approaching the Golden Gate bridge.
Approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.
Carnival Spirit passing under the Golden Gate Bridge at night.
Passing under the Golden Gate bridge. I thought we were going to hit it. There might have been a few feet of clearance.
Zach Smith California welder.
Zach Smith’s first welding job back in 2010. He had no experience and nobody had any idea. He did a awesome job and kept up with guys who have been doing this for 20 years.
Golden Gate Bridge
Passed by the Golden Gate Bridge. Next stop open ocean.
Sailing to San Diego
Back in open waters off of the coast of California. Sailing to San Diego where we will be dropped off.
Shrimp being served on the Carnival Spirit
One of the last meals on the ship so had some shrimp. Actually I had a lot!
Cruise ship sailing
Another day working at sea.
Ship evacuation drill
Ship evacuation drill. If the ship starts sinking there are automatic doors that lock to save the ship. If you get caught in the wrong area you will die.
David Zielinski at sea
That’s me again. Just another picture for me to look back on.
Swollen hand injury
Don’t trust people you have not worked with. This guy held a pin for someone to hit with a hammer and they smashed his hand.
Ship docked at the port of San Diego
Finally had a god nights sleep and woke up to this view of the Port of San Diego.
Louis XII casino Carnival Spirit
Leaving the ship and walking through the Louis XII casino.
Louis XII casino slot machines Carnival Spirit
Slot machines are how cruise ships make there money.
Cruise ship slot machines
More slot machines.
Port of San Diego
Finally arrived in San Diego
San Diego airport waiting area
Waiting in the San Diego Airport waiting area. I still did not have a airline ticket and was waiting for Carnival to get me one. They wanted me to wait there 3 days for a ticket. I raised hell and they were not happy but got me my ticket.
La Salsa Grill
Never heard of La Salsa but it was good and reasonably priced.
Best Buy robot
To those who think immigrants are taking your job. It’s big business creating robots that are putting everyone out of work
Commuter plane San Diego
I could not get a direct flight out of San Diego so I got a commuter flight to the Los Angeles airport where my flight was waiting.
Commuter jet rear
After a few hours my commuter jet finally arrived.
Commuter jet cock pit
Finally boarding and on my way back to Ft Lauderdale