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A Revolution In Cruise Ship Design

Beau Mansfield Design and Sterling Design International are working together in the south of France to develop a new concept in cruise ship design - one that results in vessels being built more quickly, operating more efficiently and being more cost effective.

Beau Mansfield developed the new approach by observing the operation and construction of vessels firsthand, as an engineer and construction manager of large motor vessels. "Too often I have seen ships, and worked on them, where the working parts of the vessel have literally been crammed into spaces that were left over after the passenger accommodation areas were finished. Apart from annoying delays faced by the operators, it also results in higher than necessary costs, longer turn rounds, and unnecessary problems for the passengers," he said. Mr. Mansfield's method is to design the ship around the service and running point of view: incorporating innovative servicing and handling facilities to improve efficiency and reduce running costs.

He has teamed up with Sterling Design to put the concept to the test with the building of a 460-ft. (140-m) cruise ship for an as yet undisclosed owner. The design should allow daily functions to be performed with minimal effort and without bothering the passengers. The vessel will have three boarding platforms, one each at port, starboard and stern. The two side platforms connect directly to a lift to the lower deck, which will have a service passageway between the storerooms, freezer facilities and workshops. The stern platform, including a fold out marina, will be used when at anchor to load and unload passengers from the tenders. The tenders will be housed in the stern when not in use and will be picked up simultaneously by a central overhead extending gantry crane. The result of having three separate boarding platforms is that however the ship may be berthed, bulk provisions may be loaded easily and quickly by a small number of crew without interference to the passengers.

Other features of the design include the use of diesel electric propulsion with ABB Azipod drive units; unmanned generator rooms with full monitoring in a separate control room and on the bridge; a designated storage room for passenger and crew luggage; spare parts storage and inventory system; underwater lighting at the stern and side boarding platforms; and high standards of crew accommodation. The ship will have a capacity for 200 passengers and more than 100 crew members. Designed for long distance self-sufficient cruising, the vessel will have large storage areas for extra food and drink as well as fuel and water. It will be fully air-conditioned and be fitted with extensive electronic systems including the latest navigation, steering and engine control systems as well as entertainment and communications systems.

"The exterior styling of the vessel has been proportioned so the vessel's length, height and beam are all in harmony to create a balance between classic and contemporary design that is so often overlooked in Cruise Ship design today," said Mr. Mansfield. The details of the interior design and furnishings have not been finalized to date.

Sterling Design International has worked with Chantiers de l'Atlantique in the past on the design of cruise ships, including Star Princess and Nordic Empress. The company, headed by Joel Bretecher, also designed the exterior and interior of the 328-ft. (100-m) cruise ship Le Levant, recently commissioned at Leroux & Lotz for Compagnie Des lies du Ponant.

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