PASSENGER VESSEL MARKET Near-term future remains bright as owners want bigger, better a

British cruise ship operator P&O has generated a lot of news in the international cruise ship industry with a seemingly unstoppable desire to further raise its shipping profile by placing orders for bigger, faster, record-breaking cruise ships.

U.S. cruise enthusiasts are to benefit from two new superliners costing $295 million and $385 million ordered by P&O from the Italian Fincantieri yard for its Los Angeles- based subsidiary, Princess Cruises. Such orders have been placed j u s t two years after the decision was reached to enhance the U.K. shipping fleet with the order for Oriana. The first of the two Italian-built ships to be delivered will be a sistership to the 77,000- ton Sun Princess (due for delivery in January 1996) and will carry 1,950 passengers where as the second, at 100,000 gt, purpose-designed for the Caribbean cruise market, will be able to accommodate 2,500 passengers. Untold luxury is the theme of the latter vessel's design with three state-of-the-art show lounges, three luxurious dining rooms, five pools, an entire deck of suites, more than 700 cabins with verandas and, of course, the very spacious cabin size for which Princess is renowned. The upper pool a r e a will be enclosed by a MacGregor Magrodome telescopic roof and golfing enthusiasts will be able to enjoy "interactive technology" games on some of the world's best courses.

Delivery of this unnamed leviathan is, however, three years away, and for Europeans, excitement currently mounts for the newbuilding scheduled for operation closest to home — Oriana. Less spectacular perhaps than its future U.S. based sister,Orianais nonetheless a sleek, swift cruise ship steeped in traditional British elegance.

Scheduled to make her maiden voyage in April of next year, Oriana is now in an advanced stage of construction in the world's largest covered shipbuilding hall 1,214 ft. x 333 ft. x 197 ft. (370m longx 101.5m wide x 60m high) at the Meyer Werft yard in Papenburg, Germany. The biggest ship ever to be built by the yard and timed for delivery in its 200th anniversary year, Oriana will be added to an impressive list of c r u i s e and passenger vessel newbuilds, gas t a n k e r s and cargo vessels.

The 67,000- ton ship will join the great British favorite Canberra and its sister Sea Princess to become the third member of P&O Cruises' U . K . - b a s e d fleet, and when delivered will be the fastest c r u i s e liner b u i l t for 25 years with an o p e r a t i n g speed of 24 k n o t s (other d e l i v e r i e s to follow will make similar claims). Her high speed and technically advanced hull will enable Oriana to operate the best and most far-reaching itineraries worldwide and, unlike most modern cruise ships, she has been specifically designed and equipped to make the round-the-world trip.

Ordered from Meyer Werft in January 1992 following four years of debate on the feasibility of investing in another ship to operate out of the U.K., Oriana is the first ever liner to be custom-built for the British cruise market. Most of her steelwork is complete, and behind-the-scenes equipment and machinery in place includes four main and four auxiliary engines and two gearboxes, together with stabilizers boasting the largest fins ever made for a seagoing vessel.

As well as the highest possible technical specifications the vessel has naturally benefited from a team of highly experienced designers to ensure that she offers the best in comfort and ambiance. With a large number of public rooms, restaurants and a wide range of accommodation geared to offering traditional cruising comfort Oriana will also benefit from two and a half acres of deck area, making her one of the most spacious cruise ships afloat. With an overall length of 850 ft (260 m), beam of 105 ft. (32.2 m) and full draft of j u s t 26 ft. (7.9 m) to allow her to go alongside at many more ports t h an the average ship, she has maximum capacity for 1,975 passengers although regular capacity is likely to be 1,760. With ten passenger decks she has 914 cabins categorized as: 594 outside (118 with balconies); 320 inside; eight suites; 16 deluxe staterooms; and eight cabins for disabled passengers.

To achieve her service speed of 24 knots she is powered by four MAN B&W medium speed diesel engines, two 58/64 9Ls and two 58/64 6Ls. Configured in pairs as father and son, the smaller produces 7,950 kW (10,800 bhp) and the nine cylinder engine 11,925 kW (16,200 bhp).

Different sizes have been chosen to enable onboard engineers to choose the most efficient combination in order for Oriana to meet specific schedules.

The diesels drive twin Lips 5.8m four-bladed controllable pitch propellers each weighing 33.7 tons via Renk Tacke gearboxes. For extra maneuverability the vessel has three Lips 1,500-kWbowthrusters and two semi-balanced rudders and, for smooth running, twin Brown Brothers folding fin stabilizers.

The latter, with an area of 21.5- sq.-m., are so sized to suit Oriana's demanding itineraries such as high speed crossings of the Bay of Biscay and complete round-the-world voyages. Supplied by Edinburgh-based Brown Brothers (designers of the famous Denny-Brown fins for Canberra and Sea Princess), the fins are sufficiently efficient to eliminate a need for either a second set of stabilizers or an adjustable tail fin and thus will reduce drag.

Oriana will have six lounges, nine bars, three restaurants including the Conservatory on the Lido Deck, cinema, theater, nightclub, three dance floors, disco, casino and special "club" room for children and teenagers. Other facilities include three swimming pools (one of which is the largest to date on any cruise ship) and three Jacuzzis plus a fully equipped health center with gymnasium, sauna and spas.

Three top cruise architects and designers from Sweden, Norway and the U.K. are responsible for the vessel design. Coordinating architect is Swedish designer Robert Tillberg who is responsible for the overall style of the ship including the external profile and public room arrangement. London-based John MacNeece has designed many of the public rooms and Norwegian Petter Yran all passenger and officer cabins. Welding technology and classic lines together, Mr. Tillberg explains: "The major change in cruise ship design during my time has been the emphasis on space and openness. This is evidenced on Oriana through the huge amount of deck space, the superb picture windows, the four-deck atrium and private balconies." Mr .MacNeecesays that the brief to all three designers stipulated that Oriana's color schemes should be distinctive and bold, giving richness to her rooms. "When Oriana enters service she will become the benchmark by which all other ships will be measured and she will start to influence the way ships go," he said. "Others will begin to understand the benefit of building something appropriate to the market in which their ships will operate." Much of her style and design can be seen as a continuation of that of the popular Canberra, built in 1960 but still enjoying a love affair with the British cruising public. Signifi cant similarities lie in the relationship of accommodation decks to public rooms — which allows an easy flow round the ship and traditional use of materials — especially wood. No ship of this type would, however, be complete without its striking central feature—which in this instance is a four deck marble lined atrium complete with waterfalls.

Next April Oriana will enter the P&O cruise fleet in readiness for an unprecedented growth forecast by the industry. It is anticipated that more than 700,000 Britons will be cruising each year by the year 2000, in contrast to the current figure of 250,000.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2018 - Great Ships of 2018

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