Cruising the world with Wartsila Twentyfour7 article

Cruising the world with Wärtsilä

Over the past year, three huge and highly sophisticated cruise ships have entered into service. They are all crammed full of the latest in ship navigation and entertainment technology. While one might expect that of the latest and greatest in cruise liners, the potentially surprising aspect is that these apparently disparate technologies are all provided by Wärtsilä.

Text: PAUL CONNOLLY Photo: Kaj Forsström/Wärtsilä

The name Wärtsilä evokes big engines and power plants driving the world’s ships and cities with thrumming efficiency.

It may not readily spring to mind when you think of sipping a cocktail as you watch the sunset in a blaze of colour on the deck of one of the world’s most luxuriously appointed cruise ships or find yourself curled up below deck watching a just-released movie on a vast, brilliant LED screen.

Yet, just as Wärtsilä engines help new cruise ships slice through the ocean, so Wärtsilä expertise and technology assist ship officers with navigation, and Wärtsilä Funa International provides cutting-edge entertainment systems to keep thousands of passengers happy and amused.

According to Maik Stoevhase, Director, Automation, Navigation and Control in Wärtsilä Marine Solutions , this is not as surprising as it first seems. “The synergy created by these various disciplines coming together under one ship roof demonstrates Wärtsilä’s prominence as one of the world’s major suppliers of state-of-the-art equipment for the cruise and ferry industries.”

Franc Polte, Sales Manager in Wärtsilä SAM Electronics, concurs. “Modern cruise vessels are highly complex with unique operational needs, and Wärtsilä has developed its technologies accordingly to meet these demanding requirements.”

Polte suggests that Wärtsilä’s contribution to the new 4248-passenger capacity Norwegian Escape cruise liner, the 2790-capacity Mein Schiff 4, and the monumental 6410-capacity Harmony of the Seas is indicative of the company’s 360-degree approach to ship technology.

“The Harmony of the Seas is powered by two 18,860kW Wärtsilä 46 16-cylinder main generator diesel engines and four similar Wärtsilä 46 12-cylinder engines producing 13,860kW each. Manoeuvring is assisted by four 5500kW Wärtsilä CT 3500 tunnel thrusters.”

This is the blockbusting technology we’re used to seeing Wärtsilä provide – huge engines that are four storeys high and improbably powerful tunnel thrusters.

Wärtsilä is continuously innovating. Polte is very excited when he talks about the new Wave Monitoring System, developed for the Harmony of the Seas and used in commercial shipping for the first time on the vessel. “This system has detectors on the bow and on each side of the vessel to monitor the actual wave height and to calculate the path and progress of the ship. This is a Wärtsilä development and is used for the first time on this ship, and this is fully integrated in all our Nacos Platinum software.”

The technology on the Harmony of the Seas also includes the Wärtsilä Platinum Dynamic Positioning (DP) System
“Modern cruise vessels are highly complex with unique operational NEEDS, and OUR technologies meet these demanding requirements.”

The technology on the Harmony of the Seas also includes the Wärtsilä Platinum Dynamic Positioning (DP) System, which provides a simple and efficient solution for vessel control, manoeuvring and station-keeping applications.

But it will also feature another brand new development, according to Polte. “After a few short cruises, the vessel will go to the Mediterranean area, and there we’ll also install another new system which is based on weather data and sea conditions and is designed to improve efficiency. Taking into consideration detailed weather and sea information, an optimised speed profile for the planned route is calculated to provide a smoother cruise for customers and decreased fuel consumption for the ship owners. This, too, will form part of the Wärtsilä Nacos system.

Last but not least, the Harmony of the Seas is also included in a service agreement, between Wärtsilä and Royal Caribbean, covering technical management and monitoring under Wärtsilä Genius services.

“On the Norwegian Escape, we have also used the Nacos Platinum navigation system. The workstations on the bridge allow the vessel to be navigated, controlled and monitored from various onboard positions, and they combine displays of radar, ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information) and conning information, as well as automatic steering and voyage planning operations.”

Wärtsilä technology doesn’t just make its way onto the super-cruise ships. Smaller 600-passenger-capacity cruise ships, the Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation, have also been fitted with Wärtsilä electrical propulsion systems as well as the Wärtsilä Valmatic Platinum integrated automation system, which has additional capabilities to optimise vessel power management.

It’s not just smart, money-saving technology that Wärtsilä is providing. Wärtsilä can provide fun too, courtesy of Wärtsilä Funa.

The cruise liner Mein Schiff 4 has not only been kitted out with Wärtsilä’s advanced Nacos Platinum integrated navigation system, but it also features the latest entertainment technology.

Wärtsilä Funa helped build the Klanghaus, the first philharmonic concert hall at sea. Wärtsilä Funa built the hall’s acoustic control and also engineered and installed all the entertainment systems for the theatre, including an 11-metre-wide by five-metre-high LED wall onstage to project films and live events.

As Stoevhase says, “Wärtsilä is not just about engines; it’s concerned with the whole vessel.”

Wärtsilä, it seems, is about power AND fun.

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