Archive for the ‘Costa Cruises’ Category

LNG – The Future Fuel For Cruise Ships

September 23, 2017

Costa Smeralda, 184,000gt LNG Ship (Coutesy Costa)

In June 2015, the Carnival Corporation announced that they have finalised a multi-billion dollar contract with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri, to build seven next-generation cruise ships, between 2019 and 2022.

The new ships will be for the Carnival, AIDA, Costa and P&O brands and will all feature a new “green cruising” design.

The ships will be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). They will use LNG in dual-powered hybrid engines to power the ship both in port and on the open sea. LNG will be stored on-board and used to generate 100 percent power at sea. Using LNG to power the ships in port and at sea will eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulphur oxides.

In April 2016, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)  Cruises has announced that it has signed a letter of intent with STX France for the construction of up to four new LNG-powered cruise ships, called the ‘World Class’. These will be more than 200,000 gross tonnes. and will be able to carry 5,400 passengers at double occupancy. 

MSC’s World Class (Courtesy MSC)

The first of the four MSC ‘Wold’ class ships will be delivered in 2022.

In October 2016, Royal Caribbean International announced that its two newest class of ships, ‘Icon’, will be powered by LNG . The vessels will be delivered in 2022 and 2024.

What is LNG?

Using LNG to power ships is not a completely new idea. However to date, LNG use has been restricted to smaller vessels operating rather short runs. This is due to the large size of fuel tanks required and the few bunkering facilities available. However it is a new idea for cruise ships and certainly for a megaship design.

LNG is superior to pipeline gas in quality. This is because LNG is purer, has more methane as well as other energy content, and also because of its chemical structure since it has a stable composition. Its combustion generates no unburned residues, particulates or soot, and releases less greenhouse gas than traditional marine gas oil (MGO). Future maritime emissions regulations, especially in sensitive environments are likely to demand this. Perhaps the most appealing aspect about LNG is that under the right operating conditions it can reduce fuel costs.

In addition, using  LNG can double the maintenance intervals, because the gas is so clean,  ship owners may get  25,000 hours between maintenance intervals, maybe more, opposed to 12,500 hours with standard fuel.

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Here is an interesting example: VIKING GRACE is a European passenger ferry (2013, 57,000gt, STX, Finland) powered by LNG. Gas take up more space than fuel-oil. In fact six times more space. Therefore large tanks for the gas are located on deck, of the ferry, to save space in the hull (See image above).

However the renderings of  Carnival’s newbuilds do not appear to have LNG storage tanks on the deck.

(Source unknown)

(Source unknown)

LNG cruise ship ‘concepts’ have been around a long time. The renderings below are a design by Wärtsilä, the marine engine company.

(Image courtesy of Wärtsilä)

(Image courtesy of Wärtsilä)

Interestingly the concept ship uses drive shaft technology, rather than pods. The LNG tans are located internally, below the funnel area.

2-ship-innards

( Wärtsilä)

The engines on-board the new Carnival ships will not exclusively be powered by LNG, but will be ‘dual fuel’ being capable of burring both LNG and liquid fuel, and combinations of both at the same time. burning exclusively LNG could be saved for environmentally sensitive areas. This would reduce the fuel storage space required.

Malcolm

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Costa Smeralda: Costa’s first LNG-Powered Ship

September 13, 2017

The steel cutting ceremony for the first of two ‘Helios-Class’ Costa Cruises ships  was held Wednesday 13th September 2017 at the Meyer Turku shipyard, Finland.

The ship, named Costa Smeralda, (Emerald Coast) is named after Sardinia’s main tourist area.

The ship will enter service in October 2019, with a sister ship following in 2021.

Carnival will be building a total of seven ‘Helios-Class’ cruise ships which will all be fully powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ships will be shared between the Carnival brands: Carnival (2), AIDA (2), Costa (2) and P&O (1).

Each ship will be around 184,000 gross tonnes and carry up to 6,600 passengers, which will be a record.

Costa Cruises’ president Neil Palomba said, ‘The two new Costa Cruises ships are a true innovation and set new standards for the entire sector. They will be among the first cruise ships powered by LNG, spurring the development of this green technology.’ He added, ‘at 183,900gt, Costa Smeralda is also a step up in ship size – we need the new facilities to answer to the demand of our customers and to increase our competitiveness for the future.’

During the steel cutting ceremony, Costa also announced a new livery that will appear on the bow of all its ships over the coming months. The design is a stylised version of the tricolour Italian flag fluttering in the wind at sea. The ship names will also be updated and will be larger in size than the current names.

(Costa)

Malcolm says: AIDA’s first vessel called AIDAnova also had her steel cut, at the German yard, Meyer Werft on 6th September 2017. The ship will be delivered in late 2018 and an as yet unnamed sister ship, in 2021.

The Helios-class:

P&O’s Helios-class ship, see HERE

Costa neoClassica To Leave Fleet

August 7, 2017

Costa-neoClassica (Courtesy Costa)

Costa Cruises has announced that the 1,302-passenger Costa neoClassica, will embark on her final sailing for the line on March 3, 2018, with a seven-night India and Maldives voyage. She is their oldest ship at 26 years.

The Italian cruise line will introduce four brand-new vessels to the market from 2019, although there are no further details about these ships.

Costa have not commented on what will happen to neoClassica after she is sold. However one Internet source* says that Costa neoClassica is believed to be heading to Florida next year to join Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, however president Kevin Sheehan Jr. (son of the former Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings ceo, Kevin) could not confirm that.

(Costa/*CIN)

Malcolm says: In 2014 Costa neoClassica changed her name from Costa Classica and underwent a major €90 million refurbishment. At 26 years old (1991) she should still have a few good years service left in her. Costa probably want to recoup some of her refit costs, so I very much doubt if they will scrap her. Sister ship Costa neoRomantica was built in 1993 and might just be the next ship to leave their fleet, in a few years time.

The New P&O/Carnival Mega-Ships Analysed

September 12, 2016

Carnival has announced that they have ordered seven 180,000gt mega-ships from the German ship builder Meyer Werft: two for Costa, two for Carnival, two for AIDA and one for P&O to be delivered between 2019 and 2022.

So far we have seen the renderings of the ship in the Costa livery and  a model of the P&O version. All versions are likely to be similar, but there are clearly some differences.

As per usual the renderings are not very clear in detail. If fact details can be deliberately withheld on early renderings. However I am not going to let a lack of facts stop me at least speculating about the ships design.

Firstly we can see that the design looks relatively conventional, with no split superstructure (like Oasis) and no unusual external features like ‘North Star’ (Anthem’s observation pod).

These ships will carry a maximum of 6,600 passengers, which is a world record. That’s up to 300 more passengers than Oasis, yet she will be 20% smaller. Therefore I don’t think we can expect Parks, Ice rinks, long Internal promenades or large indoor sports halls.  These sort of features may well be too space-hungry. In addition the Costa, AIDA, P&O and to an extent Carnival brands tend to avoid such ‘gimmicks’.  Their clientele do not expect them , although such big ships are likely to have extensive family/children’s facilities. They cannot ignore that sector of the market, if they want to fill their ships.

In fact the ships design looks rather like AIDA Prima, AIDA’s newbuild. Maybe some of AIDA’s design features will feature on-board the new  megaships?

The new ships bow is quite distinctive and rather like the one featured on AIDAprima. In fact AIDAprima does not have the traditional bulbous-bow, as she uses the MALS system. Maybe these newbuilds will use the same system?

AIDAprima, Nagasaki Japan. No bulbous bow.

AIDAprima, Nagasaki Japan. No bulbous bow.

There are clearly no big LNG tanks on deck, like some LNG ships (see here), so the tanks have been integrated into the ships hull. However I believe they are not allowed to be low/deep within the hull like normal fuel tanks, for safety reasons. This may alter the ships engine room design/internal layout quite significantly.

I count 8 lifeboats per side (Oasis has seven per side). However given the higher passenger numbers, the lifeboats must be bigger. In fact I believe they are the new ‘Fassmer’(See here) ones carrying 414 passengers each, compared to the Oasis/Schat-Harding lifeboats at 370 passengers each.

The lifeboats appear to be served by their own promenade deck, to enable passengers to board the lifeboats. Such prom. decks are not great for giving passengers a sea views as the lifeboats often obscure much of them. However their appears to be a second promenade deck.

The stern features a low extended deck area, reminiscent of MSC’s ‘Seaside’ ships. There appears to be six cabanas against the railings. Seven decks rise from the stern offering prime real-estate: many aft facing balcony cabins. Maybe the row of windows below the stern deck could be a restaurant?

Looking at the Costa renderings: Leading from the aft deck area, are some steps to a raised promenade deck which runs along 80% of the side of the ship. This prom deck is above the lifeboats and obviously solely for public use and not for lifeboat boarding. It does not appear to wrap around the bow, unless it has an internal tunnel. The rendering is not specific, but this could feature some bars and restaurants like NCL’s ‘Waterfront’. (“A much wider, half-mile promenade deck allowing for al-fresco dining.” was recently reported by P&O) 

The P&O model does NOT appear to show ‘steps’ on the prom, but seems to show a level, uninterrupted one level prom. P&O call it the ‘Lanai’ deck.

NewCostaShipsLNG2ddf3

Above: Courtesy of Costa. (Click to enlarge)

 

2016-10-26-21-49kk-14-1

P&O Model

Costa: CostaThe upper superstructure (amidships) appears to have  a glass skylight and a pool. Some structures run along side of ‘skylight’ and pool, on both the port and starboard sides, sloping down to the deck. Are these the tubes of a slide or maybe a track, for some sort of ride.

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In front of the funnel appears to be two spirals which definitely look like slides/water chutes (flumes).

(Courtesy of Seatrader)

(Courtesy of Seatradeinsider)

Costa: The central Skylight could suggest a central internal space like AIDA’s ‘Theatrium’ – a combined Atrium and performance space, with seating, rather than a conventional theatre at the bow. Carnival did mention the clever use of internal space with multi-function public rooms . (“An atrium with a glass wall the full height” has recently been reported by P&O)

I was not expecting a ‘tall’ atrium unless it had a duel role, as they are essentially a waste of space on such a busy ship.

23. (Red) AIDAprima Theatrariun

23. AIDAprima Theatrium (amidships)

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An AIDA Theatrarium – cick to enlarge (Image courtesy of AIDA)

Costa: Towards the front of the upper deck there is a cut-out which appears to be the location for a pool. The structure above it, looks like a sliding roof.

100

Costa: Behind the funnel there appears to be a glass-canopy, probably covering a pool and maybe forming a ‘Solarium’. That makes three pools on the upper deck. (It is now reported by P&O that there are three outside pools and one inside).

'Dome' behind funnel.

‘The Dome’ behind funnel.

It has since been reported by P&O : “The dome at the top of the new ship will be an entertainment space, with a pool and retractable stage, water feature and whirlpools, that can act as an all-weather venue for entertainment and dining during the day”. The Costa renderings do NOT show a Dome. It appears that the P&O’s Dome replaces a water-chute/flume on the Costa ship. This would seem to shrink the space available on the P&O sun deck.

2016-10-26-21-49-14-1bbb

The Dome

Costa: There appears to be a giant outdoor video screen at the very stern (image below), with tiered seating facing it. There appears to be a ‘scenic’ (Princess ‘Skywalkers’ type) walkway above the screen. I’m not sure if a fourth pool is hidden down there in the space.

150new

Costa: Amidships, but nearer the hull, there are three lines of windows on a curved section of the hull. This may be part of a possible ‘Theatrium’ a lounge or a dining room?

Internal Décor: I wonder if the now elderly, Mr. Joe farkus, will be creating more mind blowing interior décor as he has done for Carnival and Costa?  P&O will obviously have a more conservative approach to her décor.

One main dining room and one main theatre each holding half the ships compliment of passengers at two sittings, with two matching show-times, is the most efficient use of space (apart from when they are empty). However it is not very flexible.

Carnival ships have often had this traditional feature. However I would  expect multiple dining rooms – like NCL’s Freestyle/RCI Dynamic Dining. This may be Carnivals first real shot at a ‘flexible dining’ system like NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ or RCI’s ‘Dynamic Dining’. Although RCI have struggled to make their new system work well, so scapped it.

Four entertainment spaces have sine been reported by P&O, the Dome being one. A Theatrium could be a second, a conventional theatre could be a third, the screen with seating, at the stern, could be the fourth.

Costa 180,000gt ship

Courtesy of Costa. (Click to enlarge)

P&O have reported that there will be:

17 places to eat to suit all appetites and occasions
• Seven speciality restaurants
• 12 places to enjoy a drink and take in sea views
• 16 whirlpools
• Four swimming pools (three outside and one inside)
• 13 entertainment venues from the theatre to venues for adults only, including three pop-up entertainment spaces
• Nine places to have breakfast
• Five places to take afternoon tea
• Seven places to enjoy fresh coffee

In conclusion, the above text is a mixture of observation and guess work.

I do wonder if this new ship design will be a  little more like existing AIDA ships in design, than existing Costa, Carnival or P&O ones.

Interestingly I understand AIDA (aimed at the German market) are more relaxed in style, with a younger, more active demographic whose passengers favour buffet food. The entertainment is not the big Broadway type productions. Whereas Costa (Italian) are more traditional in style, with more formal dining and more lavish production shows.

It’s hard to imagine that one design of ship can entirely satisfies all camps.

I don’t think these ships will be very exciting, in terms of innovative spaces; Carnival tend to ‘play it safe’. They will probably be pretty conventional mass-market ships with thousands of cabins and many bars, dining rooms and shops. I believe that will be designed for maximum income generation and not spaciousness or unique facilities. Carnival have always focused on functionality and profit and leaves the innovation to the likes of RCI and NCL.

The most exciting aspects about these ships design will probably be their ‘scale’ and the LNG propulsion. However, the propulsion of course will have little impact on the passenger experience. (Apart from a soot free deck?)

Even with a half-mile promenade deck, given the passenger numbers, the pool deck is likely to be very crowded at anytime the sun shines.

I’m not suggesting that they will be bad ships. I just don’t think they will have room for generously sized public spaces or too much design-innovation. However the aspects of the design to manage the high passenger numbers, could be classed as an innovation in itself.

However the passenger density and ‘economies of scale’ offered by this ship design should enable Carnival to sell the cabins at very competitive rates.

Of course aspects of my speculation are likely to completely wrong. All comments welcome.

Malcolm

So what is an LNG powered Ship? See Here

Is LNG safe? See Here