So What’s An LNG Powered Cruise Ship?

June 25, 2015
Costa's 180,000gt LNG ship

Costa’s 180,000gt LNG ship

The Carnival Corporation announced in June 2015 that they have finalized a multi-billion dollar contract to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the industry.

The contract with Meyer Werft is part of larger previously announced strategic memo of understanding with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri for nine new ship orders between 2019 and 2022.

The four new ships will also 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.

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.

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 then ferry, to save space in the hull (See image above). Will the Carnival newbuilds mimic this feature, somehow? Carnival have already said “making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces”. Maybe this means storing the LNG tanks on deck/upper superstructure, freeing up internal space traditionally used for fuel storage, for passengers. Just a guess!

(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

Micky Arison (Carnival CEO) talks megaships HERE

Three Virgin Ships, But Smaller

June 24, 2015

cruises

Virgin Cruises has selected Port Miami as the home port for its first cruise ship that will set sail in 2020. They have also signed a binding letter of intent with Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri, for three new mid-size ships.

Virgin Cruises’ three new ships, of about 110,000 gross tonnes each, are scheduled  for delivery in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Each ship will feature 1,430 guest cabins to accomodate more than 2,800 guests. There will also be 1,150 crew on board to look after the guests and deliver the Virgin service. Embarking from PortMiami, Virgin Cruises plans to offer a range of seven-day Caribbean itineraries, with a Sunday sail date.

Always pose with pretty girls! (Virgin image)

Always pose with pretty girls! (Virgin image)

“This is a very exciting day for Virgin and travellers around the globe,” Richard Branson said. “We now have the right partners in place to build a world-class cruise line that will redefine the cruising experience for good. The Virgin Cruises approach will appeal to cruisers and non-cruisers alike, and we look forward to being in Miami and delivering an experience for people who want a new way to cruise.”

Virgin Cruises’ binding letter of intent with Fincantieri is the first part of a two-step process with both companies committed to signing a contract at the end of 2015. The PortMiami agreement will be present at the Miami-Dad County Board of Commissioners meeting on June 30th, 2015.

(A possible rendering of a Virgin ship?)

(A possible rendering of a Virgin ship?)

“We are committed to making waves in the cruise industry, and partnering with Fincantieri and PortMiami sets Virgin Cruises up to do just that,” said Virgin Cruises CEO Tom McAlpine. “Today’s announcement brings together important ingredients in our future success – Miami’s vibrant culture paired with the excellent Port infrastructure and Port team; and Fincantieri’s expertise in prototyping, their creativity and understanding of our vision.”

(Virgin concept/rendering)

(Virgin concept/rendering)

Customers are invited to join the journey by visiting the Virgin Cruises website to share their ideas on what the new cruise line can do to deliver an incredible experience at sea.

(Virgin)

Malcolm Says: This Virgin rendering/concept below has also been leaked:

(Click to enlarge - Acknowledgment: E. Thakkar)

(Click to enlarge – Acknowledgment: E. Thakkar)

Externally the ship rendering looks unique – rather like an Art Deco railway train , which I fully approve of.

The aft-rendering above resembles RCI’s ‘Oasis of the Seas’  split-hull design, with staterooms overlooking the inner space and an aft pool, which is not unlike the RCI’s Aqua-Theatre. In addition there is a ‘Quantum of the Seas’ style ‘Ripcord’ (free-fall simulator) thrown in for good measure.  All very interesting, but hardly very original.

However it’s just a concept/rendering, which does not mean that the ship will ever be built like that. The offices of marine architects must be full of drawings of unfulfilled concepts. The final design of the ship may be very different and probably more conventional.

So we have gone form two ships to three, but they have shrunk. Originally it was said that they would each be 172,000 gt but now they are 110,000 gt.  That’s mega-ship to mid-sized.  As for innovation, a 7 night itinerary from Miami to the Caribbean is hardly ground-breaking, is it?  However this will allow ‘Virgin Cruises’ to have a strong links with ‘Virgin Atlantic’, Branson’s airline.

Branson is a great entrepreneur, but I wonder what the Virgin brand can bring to cruising that is genuinely new?  I don’t doubt that the product will be well marketed and aimed at a younger clientele. We can also expect the entertainment and technology on-board to be impressive, after all Virgin started as a record label and diversified into communication and travel.

The problem is that the completion: Royal Caribbean, the Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival, already offer some very Hi-Tech ships aimed at a younger market. MSC also have some very impressive ships on order.

Malcolm

 

 

MSC Meraviglia Interior Images released

June 22, 2015

“Meraviglia”, or “Wonder” in English, is the feeling of being amazed when we see something new, extraordinary or unimaginable. MSC Meraviglia will be the first ship with three homeports and will spend her inaugural summer sailing the Mediterranean in Summer 2017.

Designed to amaze, the new flagship MSC Meraviglia, will be the biggest and most innovative cruise ship ever built by a global European-based cruise line.

The sophisticated combination of state-of-the-art-technology, a love of the sea, bold design, comfort and genuine practicality will allow MSC Meraviglia to dock at any cruise port around the world essentially expanding the choice of itineraries and destinations.

(Duplex site - MSC image)

(Duplex site – MSC image)

The cutting-edge MSC Meraviglia will have more than 355 sq. feet of stunning panoramic spaces, spectacular sea views, an indoor promenade with shops, bars, and restaurants, and a super amusement park. Also, the ship will be one of the greenest and safest ships in the industry.

The on-board technological advances alone are incredible. With ‘Near Field Communication’ technology, guests will be able to do things like make on-board payments, access their staterooms or geo-locate children, friends and on-board locations simply by using their cruise card, bracelet or smartphone. In addition, it will feature a jaw-dropping, and industry first, LED screen, which forms the entire ceiling of the ship’s interior promenade and will act as a digital sky beaming out compelling images and vistas throughout the day.

Guests can also experience a new level of luxury with the “Enhanced” MSC Yacht Club, entirely self-contained with restaurants, a solarium with its own pool, a private lounge and fascinating suites with private whirlpool baths.

Yacht Club Royal Suite - MSC image

Yacht Club Royal Suite – MSC image

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SHIP
•1033 feet long with more than 355,209 sq. ft. of public spaces
•2,250 guest staterooms with luxury accommodations for up to 4,500 guests (double occupancy)
•New family staterooms (combining 2 to 3 staterooms) for more comfort for all the members of the family
•Outdoor Aqua Park connected to a double deck indoor amusement park
•Double deck aft lounge designed for ground-breaking entertainment
•Double deck atrium with glass wall for spectacular sea views
•Double deck indoor promenade with shops, innovative bars, specialty restaurants and the longest LED digital sky
•Duplex suites with private whirpool baths
•Enhanced MSC Yacht Club with vast solarium with pool and dedicated restaurant
•World-leading environmental and safety technologies

(Courtesy of MSC)

Malcolm says: The aft lounge and Indoor amusement park are rather reminiscent of RCI’s ‘Quantum’ class.  The internal Promenade was of course also popularised by RCI. So impressive, but hardly very original.

MSC Seaside Steel Is Cut

June 22, 2015

In a ceremony held today in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Cruises cut the first steel for its new generation of ship, MSC Seaside in a ceremony at Fincantieri.

(Seaside - MSC Image)

(Seaside – MSC Image)

MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Today, we have witnessed the beginning of the work on an extraordinary new ship, MSC Seaside. It is a ship that revolutionizes industry standards, with an audacious and innovative design that brings guests and sea closer. It is also testament to MSC Cruises’ constant focus on innovation, as it is the fifth prototype ship we designed.”

“Moreover, MSC Seaside represents a key pillar in a €5.1 billion euro, seven-ship investment plan that will double our capacity by 2022 Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: “This ceremony is unique for our Group and the Monfalcone shipyard. MSC Seaside will be the biggest ship ever built in our shipyards, as well as the first we have ever constructed for MSC Cruises, whose strength – like ours –  lies in being a truly global player in its industry”.

edit2

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises CEO said “MSC Seaside will spearhead our campaign to expand our presence in North America. MSC Cruises has the unique opportunity to provide North American guests with an outstanding ‘Mediterranean Style Cruise’ experience, and guests from around the world a unique setting as it will sail to the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean.”  

(MSC)

Malcolm says: mega-ships ‘Seaside’ and ‘Meraviglia’ will firmly put MSC in the big boys league, as ‘Epic’ and ‘Breakaway’ did for NCL.  RCI need to watch their backs as these ship will surely offer serious competition for their ‘Quantum’ class.

Update: MSC slideshows HERE

Work Begins On MSC Meraviglia

June 19, 2015
(MSC Project Vista)

(MSC Project Vista)

The first of the Mediterranean shipping Companies (MSC) new ‘Vista project’ mega ships (167,600GRT ) has been named MSC Meraviglia (which means ‘wonder’ in Italian).

Speaking at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said bookings for the ship — due to be delivered in May 2017 – would open later this month – June 2015.

(Aft lounge - MSC image)

(Aft lounge – MSC image)

The ship, which will carry up to 4,500 passengers (double occupancy), will spend its first summer sailing the western Mediterranean. In a first for the cruise industry, it will have three home ports – Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona – giving UK guests the flexibility to choose where they start and finish their cruise holiday.

“MSC Meraviglia will be the biggest and most innovative cruise ship ever built by a global European-based cruise line,” said Vago. “We chose a name that denotes a sense of awe and wonderment, because of the many stunning features planned and building has started on a true maritime marvel.” Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises Chief Executive Officer added: “By investing €5.1 billion on up to seven new ships MSC Cruises will double its capacity by 2022.”  “MSC Meraviglia will be one of the greenest and safest ships in the industry, as well as one of the most technologically advanced. We are thrilled that in just a few weeks guests can start booking this truly remarkable ship, which will take cruise guests to the most exciting destinations around the world in outstanding comfort and style.”

(MSC rendering)

(MSC rendering – click to enlarge)

Among the features planned for the ship is the creation of special interlinked ‘cluster cabins’, which will allow up to three cabins to be opened up to accommodate larger family groups. On board, guests will be able to access a whole range of facilities via the latest Near Field Communication technology. By using NFC wristbands, cruise cards or their smartphone, guests will be able to make payments, book spa treatments and speciality restaurants, access their cabin and safe, and even geo-locate their children.

(Super amusement park - Image courtesy of MSC)

(Super amusement park – Image courtesy of MSC)

Entertainment options will include a large outdoor waterpark connected to a double-deck indoor amusement park; double-deck aft lounge and entertainment space; and spectacular two-deck interior promenade styled like a Mediterranean village packed with shops, bars and speciality dining and covered by an awe-inspiring 480sq metre LED dome ceiling.

The screen will form a ‘digital sky’ beaming out compelling images and jaw-dropping visual shows at scheduled times.

(Promenade - MSC image)

(Promenade – MSC image)

The ship will also feature an extended MSC Yacht Club area for guests in search of the ultimate in luxury and elegance.

For the first time, the ‘ship within a ship’ area will include the option of duplex suites, along with its own solarium, lounge and fine-dining restaurant. Despite their proportions [330 metres in length] MSC Meraviglia and the other Vista project ships will boast unrivalled manoeuvrability, meaning they will be able to access ports usually off-limits to the latest breed of mega ships. Image1 MSC Meraviglia is the first of two identical ships on order from STX France, the second of which is scheduled to be delivered in 2019. In addition, MSC Cruises has options for two further Vista project ships to be delivered by 2022. MSC Cruises, which has grown by 800% in terms of on-board capacity since 2004, carried 1.67 million guests in 2014 and generated a turnover of €1.5 billion. For 2015, MSC Cruises is forecasting an additional 10% growth.

(MSC)

Update: MSC slideshows HERE

Carnival: The Biggest Ship They Never Built

June 17, 2015

Not a news item, but a bit of nostalgia.

Pinnacle?

Pinnacle? (Fincantieri rendering)

In 2004, the Carnival Corporation launched a development program called the ‘Pinnacle Project’. It was shrouded in secrecy, however it is said that the aim was to design the world’s biggest cruise ship.

They say project Pinnacle was to be a 200,000 gross tonnes, 6,000 passenger prototype, cruise ship.

untitled

(Fincantieri rendering)

Around the same time Royal Caribbean International were developing their ‘Genesis’ Project, which later went on to become ‘Oasis of the Seas’.

Carnival abandoned their Pinnacle project, stating that the Dollar to Euro rate was not conducive to making such a large investment in a giant ship.

(Photo from intelcom)

(Oasis: Photo, intelcom)

Clearly RCI disagreed and ‘Oasis’ entered service in 2009, at 225,000 gt easily making her the world’s biggest cruise ship (and her class still is).  In fact there will be a third ‘Oasis’ class ships, ‘Harmony of the Seas’ by 2016, which will be slightly bigger at around 227,000gt. RCI also have an option on a fourth, for 2018.

I wonder if ideas from the ‘Pinnacle’ design will be incorporated into carnival’s new 180,000gt ships?

Below is a video form the Fincantieri shipyard, designed by Maurizio Cergol, which was almost certainly one of the ‘concepts’ for the Carnival Pinnacle:

.

Malcolm

Carnival Vista slide-show HERE

4x 180,000gt: Carnival Is Back In the ‘Big Ship’ Game

June 15, 2015

Introduction

When ‘Carnival Destiny’ entered service in  1996, she was the first cruise ship to be built over 100,000 gross tonnes.   In 1998  ‘Grand Princess’ (‘Princess Cruises’ brand) at 109,000gt was the largest cruise ship afloat.  Again in 2004, the ‘Queen Mary 2’ (‘Cunard’ brand) at 148,000gt  was the world’s biggest cruise ship.

Since 2004 Carnival have dropped out of the “my ships bigger than yours” game, blaming the unfavourable US Dollar to Euro exchange rate.  Since 2004, NCL, RCI and others have built increasingly bigger vessels. However  Carnival are back in the game with plans to build the world’s second largest class of ships*, only eclipsed by RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class. (*Based on the gross tonnage, the sandard measurement to compare ship sizes.)

However if your criteria to compare ship size is ‘passenger capacity’, these newbuilds can  legitimately be called the ‘worlds biggest’ ships.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Carnival Destiny (Image courtesy of Carnival)

News – 15 June 2015

180,000gt (Images courtesy of Costa. Click to enlarge)

180,000gt (Images courtesy of Costa. Click to enlarge)

Carnival Corporation today announced it has finalized a multi-billion dollar contract to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the industry.

The contract with Meyer Werft is part of larger previously announced strategic memo of understanding with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri for nine new ship orders between 2019 and 2022.

The four new ships will also 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).

The company said two of the ships will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft’s shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Additional information about the ships, including which new ships will be added to each brand, will be made available at a later date.

Based on Carnival Corporation’s innovative new ship design, each of the four next-generation ships will have a total capacity of 6,600 guests, feature more than 5,000 lower berths, exceed 180,000 gross tons and incorporate an extensive number of guest-friendly features. A major part of the innovative design involves making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces, creating an enhanced on-board experience for guests, said Carnival.

The four new ships will be the first in the cruise industry to 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 addition to the two ships being built in Germany, Meyer Werft – which had the capacity to accommodate these four ship-building orders in its production schedule — will also build the two additional ships detailed in today’s announcement at its shipyard in Turku, Finland.

Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said: “We are looking forward to executing on the next step in our fleet enhancement plan,” said Donald. “At a cost per berth in line with our existing order book, these new ships will enhance the return profile of our fleet. These are exceptionally efficient ships with incredible cabins and public spaces featuring a design inspired by Micky Arison and Michael Thamm and developed by our new build teams.” Arison is chairman of the board of directors for Carnival Corporation & plc and Thamm is CEO of the Costa Group, which includes AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises.

“These ships will expand our leadership position for the Costa Group, the market leader in all the major European markets,” said Thamm. “These will be spectacular ships designed specifically for our guests who sail on our Costa Group brands.”

(Carnival)

Malcolm Says: This is very exciting news. The press release is a bit ambiguous, but it looks like AIDA and Costa will get two of these big ships each.

So, these will be the second biggest class of ships, just 45,000 gt smaller than the ‘Oasis’ class, yet with a bigger passenger capacity of  6,600 compared to Oasis’s 6,296, all berths. (Space ratio, Oasis = 35, Carnival Newbuild = 27). Even though Carnival say they will be “making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces” I would still expect this to make the Carnival newbuilds feel more crowded than Oasis.

I bet that these new ship shave some sort of ‘flexible’ dining, with multiple dining rooms, like RCI have now adopted, in line with NCL

Carnival tend to retain their ship designs for many years, just making slight modifications over time. Therefore I would not be surprised if we don’t see P&O and/or Cunard and Princess, getting one of these new ships, sooner or later.

Liquefied Natural Gas: 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 a megaship design. 

The most attractive aspect of LNG to the cruise line is cost.  Under the right operating conditions LNG can reduce fuel costs.

Here is an interesting example: VIKING GRACE is a European passenger ferry (2013, 57,000gt, STX, Finland) powered by LNG. Large tanks for the gas are located on deck, to save space in the hull (See image below). Will the Carnival newbuilds mimic this feature, somehow?

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

More information about LNG: HERE

6,500 Words About ‘Anthem of the Seas’

June 11, 2015

DSC_0161

Just a reminder: My review of RCI’s latest ship, ‘Anthem of the Seas’ is now available to read.

One of the biggest ships in the world inspired me to write one of the longest reviews in the world – well 6,500 words anyway!

Let’s not forget that ‘Anthem’ does not have the ocean to itself.  She is in competition with a number of other cruise lines who now have  their own mega-ships, including NCL, Princess, P&O and Carnival. MSC also have some very big newbuilds to on order.

Anthem: Some strange art!

Anthem: Some strange art!

I have tried to address some fundamental question, which many other reviews have ignored:

Does Dynamic Dining actually Work?

Kids look well served, but what does Anthem offer adults?

Have RC retained their ‘wow’ factor?

How does Anthem compare to Oasis and the other megaships?

Does the ship feel like RCI or have they morphed into NCL?

I hope that you find the time to read at least some of it and find it useful.

Malcolm

Anthem of the Seas review HERE

Marco Polo Meets Britannia

June 10, 2015
(Image Courtesy of Karen Bradbury – click to enlarge )

(Image Courtesy of Karen Bradbury – click to enlarge )

In Marco Polo’s 50th years she has seen many different ships but this is the first time she has met P&O’s newest addition to their fleet, Britannia (left of image).

These two ships met in the beautiful Norwegian town of Flam, which gave their meeting a spectacular backdrop.

(S.Law, CMV)

Malcolm says: See, NOT all ships are the same. That’s what 143,000 gross tonnes (4,324 passengers) looks like compared to 22,000 gt (900 passengers).

Marco Polo review HERE

Nervous Flyer?

June 2, 2015
(Source Unknown)

(Source Unknown – click to enlarge)

A passenger on board an easyJet flight was shocked to see an airport worker applying what looked like duct tape to the engine shell, moments before take-off.

The passenger snapped a picture after spotting the worker applying the tape over a join in the turbine casing.

The image has been widely shared on the internet.

Commenting on the photo, a safety expert at the Civil Aviation Authority said: ‘The image appears to show aluminium ‘speed’ tape being applied to the aircraft”.

‘This tape is used as part of work to make minor repairs and is very common across the aviation sector and has been for many years now.”

Speed tape has an appearance very similar to duct tape, for which it is sometimes mistaken, but its adhesive is capable of sticking on an airplane fuselage or wing at high speeds, hence the name.

(Mail online)

Malcolm says: I don’t care what sort of tape it is or how well it can stick, the guy is still TAPING TOGETHER parts of a jet engine! This is proof-positive that It’s best to travel by ship.


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