When you mix a superyacht and a cruise ship, what you get is a ship so exclusive it creates its own market segment.
In boating circles, superyachts and cruise ships are two separate animals. Generally, yachting demands small, representational vessels with luxurious touches and are more stationary compared with cruise ships that sail continuously with thousands aboard. Design-wise, rarely do the twains meet.
This is about to change.
In May 2017, superyacht designer and architect Stefano Pastrovich, his Monaco design studio and Wärtsilä launched a new type of vessel, the X-Expedition, to cater to a growing segment of the ocean-going yachting/cruising business.
Key to the X-Expedition’s ground-breaking market position is the prototype design that blends the best details of cruise ships and superyachts, reducing price and purchase time, while keeping the exclusive character of the on-board experience with customised arrangements. Powered by the innovative Wärtsilä HY, a fully integrated hybrid power module, X-Expedition paves the way for unprecedented luxury guaranteeing optimised performance, efficiency and flexibility with minimum environmental impact. The X-Expedition can sail anywhere, anytime.
Giulio Tirelli, Director, Marine Engineering, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions, puts this ground-breaking new concept into focus.
“Wärtsilä HY was developed as a product that can be customised for specific requirements of different ship types. Thanks to hardware and software optimisation, Wärtsilä HY can perfectly meet the needs of this new niche segment of the cruising industry, opening up a lot of potential for growth,” he says.
Tirelli clenches the concept further: “Imagine having a sunset dinner at the captain’s table without noise, vibration or smoke belching out of the smokestacks. This is possible with Wärtsilä HY!”
In three sizes - 60, 108 and 200 metres with up to 250 passengers - the Pastrovich/Wärtsilä X-Expedition small capacity luxury cruise vessel is made for a new generation of well-heeled travellers who seek not just privacy, dependability and comfort but the adrenaline of exotic adventures.
X-Expedition is designed on a standard cruise ship platform. It is efficient and reliable to build and can be optimised. To differentiate their brands, cruise operators can customise the characteristics - exterior colours or interior arrangements - without losing the integrity of the standard ship.
In other words, X-Expedition combines the best of a cruise ship with the amenities and flexibility of a superyacht.
Thanks to its modular design and construction, X-Expedition is like a big puzzle where everything fits perfectly. This concept was developed to avoid waste of space and materials, achieving a perfect integration between exclusive design and optimised building costs.
The number of total cabins change according to their configurations, allowing operators to select preferred operational requirements.
Pastrovich carefully chooses details on board the X-Expedition to grant passengers an unforgettable experience.
“We wanted to design a new home at sea for our travellers,” explains Stefano Pastrovich, head of the Pastrovich Studio. “With this class of vessel, everything is designed with the passenger in mind: the cabins are the right comfortable size, the restaurants are placed to avoid seasickness, the number of restaurants is increased to reduce the number of tables for more privacy. The result? Passengers travelling with X-Expedition can enjoy pure comfort and privacy aboard a superyacht whilst sailing on a cruise ship.”
Wӓrtsilӓ HY is a unique hybrid product that combines engines, an energy storage system and power electronics into a single smart product. The different elements of the power module are optimised to work together through a new generation energy management system (EMS), specifically designed for this application. The EMS controls the power flow between the different power sources, but it also adds performance optimisation features with respect to vessel performance monitoring, emissions, trim and route. Wӓrtsilӓ HY achieves unrivalled efficiency of operations and delivers guaranteed performance.
“X-Expedition ships will make cruising greener and more comfortable than ever before,” continues Tirelli. “The EMS coordinates the engines and energy storage system to guarantee that engines are used at their highest efficiency load points during the entire navigation, reducing fuel consumption and emissions in compliance with the latest environmental regulations.”
In green mode, by switching to electrical storage power, emissions are reduced to zero for shorter cruise journeys, or at anchor. This also makes the stay on board extremely comfortable as noise and vibrations are almost eliminated.
Wärtsilä HY also features a new patent pending automation procedure that enhances the synergy between the energy storage system and the engines to guarantee smokeless operations at all load points and in all operating modes.
For added flexibility, Wärtsilä HY ensures cold system start-ups and instant load-taking capacity, with rapid response to step-load changes making power boosts instantly available. The higher level of redundancy given by the combination of engines and batteries provides also an extra safety insurance to the vessel.
All these features give the X-Expedition an unparalleled smooth ride.
“...so that passengers can dream sweet dreams while sailing in extreme locations,” says Tirelli. “And maybe book another cruise extravaganza during that dinner chat at the captain’s table.”