When you're cruising at sea with more than 3,000 guests and crew, you can't afford a breakdown. Cruise passengers also expect a high level of comfort on board, with minimal engine noise and vibrations. Fortunately for cruise operator Princess Cruises, and its vessel Discovery Princess, reliability and low noise is exactly what a diesel-electric propulsion system from Wärtsilä delivers.
Minimise engine noise and vibrations and maximise reliability for one of the world’s largest cruise vessels.
Supply and integration of complete diesel-electric propulsion system including diesel generators, electric propulsion motors, frequency converters, propellers and control software.
Ultra-reliable and quiet propulsion system that maximises reliability and passenger comfort and reduces fuel consumption and emissions.
Cruise vessels face strict requirements when it comes to safety and comfort, including noise and vibration. For that reason, diesel-electric propulsion has been used for many years on cruise vessels as the drives are perfect for quiet operation. Diesel-electric propulsion also has environmental benefits, as it reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and soot, as well as reducing fuel consumption. This is because it allows the diesel generators to be operated at their optimal range as the propulsion load varies.
Diesel-electric propulsion has been used for many years on cruise vessels as the drives are perfect for quiet operation.
A diesel-electric propulsion system consists of the diesel generators, electric propulsion motors, frequency converters, controllers and propellers. Instead of propellers driven directly by a motor, the diesel engines drive generators, which feed a common busbar system. This busbar then supplies the drives as well as other loads. There is a built-in level of redundancy with a system like this, so that even if one diesel generator is down or one complete engine room disabled the vessel can still generate propulsive capacity.
At 330 metres in length, Discovery Princess is one of the largest cruise vessels at sea. Wärtsilä supplied the diesel-electric propulsion system, which is built using components from multiple partners. “We use top brand suppliers for all the equipment in our system so everything is high quality,” says Tim Lawerentz, Project Engineer at Wärtsilä. This was especially important for Discovery Princess as the customer wanted an ultra-reliable system.
When it comes to diesel-electric propulsion, Wärtsilä acts as an integrator, delivering a hassle-free solution to customers in one complete system. Wärtsilä control software, which is both powerful and flexible, is also included as part of the package. “When sea trials were underway for a sister vessel of Discovery Princess, we were able to make customer-requested updates to the control software in one day and test it immediately thanks to our dedicated and flexible software team,” says Lawerentz.
When it comes to diesel-electric propulsion, Wärtsilä acts as an integrator, delivering a hassle-free solution to customers in one complete system.
The project took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, which required close cooperation between Wärtsilä and the shipyard, Fincantieri. “The yard was shut for a time due to the pandemic and we had to hold stock and wait until we could proceed. This meant a lot of contact with the yard and flexibility from everyone involved,” says Lawerentz.
Other challenges were related to the components themselves – for example, the propulsion motors weigh 180 tonnes, which meant they couldn’t be transported by road but had to travel from Germany by river, completing their journey by sea to the yard in Italy for installation.
In the end, all components were successfully delivered according to the yard’s schedule and Wärtsilä was able to perform all the integration work and software commissioning. The result is a cruise vessel with ultra-reliable and quiet propulsion – helping to create an unsurpassed level of comfort for guests on board.
Read more about Wärtsilä’s diesel-electric propulsion solutions