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Renaissance Goes Upscale With Mite

Fort Lauderdale-based Renaissance Cruises has realized the first phase of a considerable fleet development program geared to the U.S. passenger market, with the delivery in France of the 342- stateroom R.One.

Her name may be minimalist, but the ship's interiors are characterized by a tasteful opulence and abundant variety reflecting a carefully considered commercial strategy- While the distinctly British feel to the public rooms, and the elegant tone of the passenger spaces throughout reflects the work of a London-based design studio, the vessel is distinguished overall as a specific market-targeted product conceived by Richard Kirbyheaded Renaissance.

The 30,277-gt R.One signals a new era for a company that has hitherto built its reputation on a fleet of 114-passenger yacht-type cruise ships, typically offering exotic itineraries in southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean and the Baltic. The Liberian-flag R.One is homeported in Piraeus, such that flights to and from the USA and pre- and post-cruise hotel stays in Greece and Turkey form an integral part of the Greek island and Eastern Mediterranean cruise vacations she offers.

On the basis of a double-occupancy, 684-passenger complement, the crew-to-passenger ratio is nearly one-to-two, while the passenger space ratio (PSR), a factor of the vessel's enclosed volume, rates among the largest in the industry for a ship of her size. Almost 70 percent of all staterooms and suites incorporate private balconies, and 93 percent have sea views, in line with the increasing expectations of clients. Renaissance has boldly designated the entire ship a non-smoking area, as one outcome of its thorough market research into preferences as well as tastes and aspirations. R.One is the first in a series of John McNeece pictured alongside the ship which he helped design, the first in series R. One for Renaissance Cruises.

six luxury vessels from Chantiers de l'Atlantique at St. Nazaire, which holds options on two further ships of the class. Such is the scale of its expansion plans t h a t Renaissance is already contemplating larger ninth and tenth vessels. The company retains three of its original class of eight Italian-built yachttype cruise ships, and forward bookings will carry this remaining trio into 2000 at least.

The refined lines and distinctive profile of the seminal Renaissance vessel are manifestations of the company's plan to strengthen its position in the upper segment of the cruise market. She has been assigned to a program of 10-day cruises in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, working out of Piraeus to Israel, Cyprus, Rhodes, Kusadasi and Crete.

Due for delivery in November this year, second- of-class R.Two has also been earmarked for operations in the same region, while follow-on sisters R.Three and R.Four will be homeported in Tahiti for 10-day cruises in French Polynesia and the South Pacific. It is understood that the company is provisionally considering deploying the fifth newbuild in Mediterranean v 1 1 * 1 T " ' i —i Europe, but plans for the subsequent vessels have yet to be disclosed. Renaissance Cruises retained London-based John McNeece for the coordination and design of all exterior styling and interiors, including the staterooms, suites, all public rooms and restaurants. Renaissance president Richard Kirby said "To achieve the timeless, classical elegance and comfortable functionality we wanted for these new ships, we have taken the unusual step of choosing one designer for the entire vessel, rather than selecting a variety of designers as is usual with a large, new cruise ship." McNeece said "It was a very exciting opportunity to design a ship exclusively for the U.S. market. The vessels provide a classic, high quality look for the U.S. market and bring a measure of character, style and elegance reminiscent of the classic liners, subtly blended with the best in leading-edge technology." "She is very much a traditional looking ship in which we have created a complete, seamless feel, unlike other new ships coming into service," he added.The onboard style and atmosphere is remiliscent variously of a London gentleman's club and an English country house, with the exception of the Sports Bar and Grill on Decks 10 and 11, respectively, which are unambiguously American.

The degree of choice conferred by the variety )f public spaces and restaurants is one of the sey features of the class, which are claimed to De the first luxury ships designed to provide multiple, casual dining options. R.One incorporates a full service spa and fitness center staffed with personal trainers and including the mly outdoor thalassotherapy whirlpool afloat and reportedly also the first fog shower, a form jf steam shower, on any ship.

The staterooms are located over five decks. Each is equipped with a state-of-the-art, interactive TV system, which not only offers sports and movie channels, plus live CNN coverage, but also the facility to order room service 24 fiours-a-day, make dinner reservations, payper- view events, sign up for shore excursions, purchase items from the vessel's shops, and settle onboard accounts.

In a technical context, R.One provides a new reference for the diesel-electric mode, encapsulating French electrical engineering systems and Finnish-developed, well-proven diesel machinery. Although Wartsila NSD has since introduced a new 320 mmbore medium-speed series, the longerstroke Wartsila 32, the prime movers ordered for the R. One are of the wellproven Vasa 32 design in its environment a l l y - a t t u n ed Low NOx version.

The selection of diesel machinery included both headroom and length considerations, the latter reflecting transverse bulkhead positioning. Each of the resiliently-mounted Wartsila diesels has a rating of 4,860-kW at 720-rpm, and operates on 380 cSt heavy fuel oil. The bank of four engines drives a corresponding number of 4.6- MW GEC Alstom alternators located immediately beyond the bulkhead separating the diesel engine compartment from the generator propulsion room. Energy is fed to the pair of Cegelec 6.75-MW propulsion motors positioned forward of the main generators, and acting on the long shaftlines turning the twin propellers. The converter rooms and main switchboard are accommodated at an intermediate Shipboard equipment specialist MacGregor was contracted as the turnkey supplier for the provision stores and associated reefer plant for the R.One, in a project which drew on its partnership agreement with refrigeration engineering firm York International. Designed to U.S. Public Health standards, the vessel's nine provision rooms are a mix of positive and negative level in the generator propulsion room. The maximum speed of 18 knots required to fulfill the vessel's regular cruising schedule necessitates only three main generators to be run. The added dimension to the system conferred by the fourth primary genset offers the scope, if required, to make transits at 21 knots, while also providing all requisite power for air-conditioning and ship's services. Having just two of the units engaged, feeding energy to both propulsion motors and thereby turning both shafts, gives an 11-knot capability in good weather

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