Silversea Cruises said it has begun a two-month project to lengthen the Silver Spirit by cutting it down the middle to insert a 49-foot section.

The new section will increase the length of the 36,009-gross-ton ship to 691.3 feet.

Silversea said the ship's capacity at double occupancy will be increased by roughly 12%, its dining capacity by 15% and its outdoor seating capacity by 20%.

After the conversion, which is scheduled to be finished May 5, Silversea said a new eight-restaurant configuration will replace the existing culinary infrastructure. Atlantide, Indochine, Silver Note and Spaccanapoli will complement the pre-existing Seishin, La Dame, La Terrazza and The Grill.

Outside, the pool area on the sky deck will increase in length from 98 to 148 feet, creating additional space for relaxing and a new aerobics area. Inside, the Zagara Spa concept will be installed, as will a new free-weights room that will complement the upgraded fitness center.

The Arts Cafe and Dolce Vita -- two new public spaces -- will improve the onboard entertainment options, Silversea said. All suites will be refurbished.

Silversea said the 49-foot segment has been inserted and the ship is now being reconnected. Approximately 846 tons of steel, 360,892 feet of cabling, and 26,247 feet of piping will be put to use in the lengthening, which is being done by Fincantieri and requires 450,000 man-hours.

Before entering the shipyard, the Silver Spirit stopped in Crete, where 11 shipping cargo containers of used furnishings containing 4,652 items were donated for use in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions.

Silversea said the ship was lengthened and upgraded to make it more similar to the Silver Muse, its new flagship introduced last year.

Departing on May 6, 2018, the Silver Spirit will recommence her service with a seven-day cruise between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Barcelona.

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