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Largest Cruise Ship Ever Built Visits New York

Call it fate, or perhaps just Destiny, but the financial future of the cruise sector seems to be directly linked to the construction of bigger and glitzier vessels.

Carnival Cruise Lines — no stranger to this profit-enhancing strategy, arguably ranking as the most successful cruise line in operation is currently in the process of introducing the newest addition to its fleet to the public.

At 101,000 gross tons, Carnival Destiny has replaced P&O's Sun Princess, which debuted in 1995, as the world's largest passenger ship — an honor which did not go unnoticed by New Yorkers as the ship docked at Pier 88 of the New York Marine Cruise Terminal from November 11 to 13.

Occupying the slip next to USS Intrepid, Destiny refused to be swallowed up in the shadows of the powerful monument to American maritime history. "We didn't intend to build the biggest ship. We intended the build the best," quipped Carnival Tour Guide Roxanne Steele as she led travel agents, journalists, maritime personnel and other invited guests through what seemed to be a floating city-state.

With the appeal of Las Vegas and the availability of amenities associated with posh Broadway hotels, Destiny will predictably be a financial coup for the cruise line as it moves into the fourth quarter of 1996. Starting its inaugural season in late November after visits to Boston and Norfolk, the ship will be deployed from Miami to the eastern and western Caribbean. While Destiny's interior favors the design trend towards busy and modern art, a modest gold-plated plaque mounted on the ship's Promenade or "Destiny Way," attests to Carnival's adherence to another cruise sector trend — Italian vessel construction. Destiny was contracted out to Fincantieri — a trait shared by the two premier vessels that will launch the Disney cruise venture in 1998. The group's Monfalcone yard completed the task on time, and with "innovation and flair," as called for in its corporate mission. According to Lloyd's Register, which classed Destiny, the ship is the first cruise vessel to comply with all of the amendments to the Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Convention of 1992. This includes safer positioning of lifeboats, emergency exit routes with low location lighting and improved structural fire protection standards.

While full smoke detection and automatic sprinkler systems have been installed in all accommodation areas, by Carnival's policy, smoking is permitted in all passenger cabins — a point of contention for a large number of agents touring the ship in New York. Many of these same people, however, were impressed with the ship's generous cabin design, with 60 percent of the staterooms featuring ocean views, and a little more than half of these featuring private balconies large enough for two to sit out on. The ship's diesel-electric propulsion system, supplied by ABB, employs a central generating arrangement with six ABB generators driven by six Sulzer diesel engines, giving a service speed of 22.5 knots. Two ABB 20 MVA synchronous propulsion motors, driving twin screws and controllable pitch propellers, operate at variable speeds, being supplied through cycloconverters. Although no new ship orders have been recently confirmed, Carnival has stated that it will base its ordering activity on the success of its products. If the stir created in New York from Destiny's visit is any indication of product approval, more orders may be just around the corner.

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