A the ship is the largest human structure capable of moving across the globe. It is therefore not surprising that putting a cruise ship together is a structural engineering tourism force.
There are only four shipyards with the ability to build the world’s largest cruise ships: Germany Meyer Werft; STX Europe, located in Finland and France; Fincantieri in Italy; and Japans Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Depending on the size of the vessel and the requirements of the cruise line, the timeframe from keel placement to final delivery is about 12 to 18 months, but the design process can take up to a year before work begins.
The size of the vessels is determined by their relative gross tonnage, which has nothing to do with weight. It is simply a measure of the internal capacity of the hull and its superstructure. Each ton is equal to 100 cubic meters; saying a ship weighing 150,000 tons is weak.
Creating a cruise ship is a complex procedure that combines a wide range of the latest technologies in a limited space. To shed light on the process, the Telegraph traveled to talk to a man who knows one or two things about ship design. Per Lindqvistis is the American business director for Tillberg Design of Sweden Inc., a well-known company that has created design concepts for prominent ships, including Regent Seven Seas Splendor, Crystal Endeavor and Norwegian Encore.
Here are 10 things you probably never knew about building a boat.
1. Designers create the flow
Since a cruise ship is as large as a small town, there are the same infrastructural challenges at sea as on land. All the designers involved in a project are focused on making the flow of traffic smooth and smooth for everyone on board, not just within each space, but also between areas on board. Therefore, impressive cooperation is needed to ensure that the areas comply with the requirements of the shipowners, the capacity of the shipyards and ensuring that all safety regulations are followed and maintained.
2. From the bottom up
The assembly of a cruise ship takes place on a dry bench. The waterproof boat is the strongest structural and heaviest part, so it was built first. These include power plants, fuel tanks, water tanks and ballast. The complex superstructure is gradually added, deck after deck, as the ship is nearing completion.
3. A combination of figures with large Lego pieces
Modern shipbuilding uses modular construction processes. Similar to a 3D plan, engineers create computer programs to disassemble the spacecraft into individual engineering blocks. One by one, these modules up to 80 per ship are integrated into the ship framework as the construction process continues.
4. Production of assembly line
For the vast majority of cruise ships, many modules include building rooms which are built separately from the rest of the ship. Every aspect of the cabin is added to this stage of assembly, including lighting, plumbing and fitted furniture. These are then transported to the shipyard, where they are put on board. This method allows different groups of specialists to work simultaneously, thus drastically reducing construction time.
5. Material things
As with any complex construction, the creation of a cruise ship must comply with exhaustive regulations and restrictions. Nowhere is this more comprehensive than when it comes to materials used in ship fabric. The exterior of a ship and its components are mainly steel or aluminum alloys. The higher the ship, the lighter the materials should be to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. Materials like carbon fiber help compensate for the weight of the steel. Nothing that is combustible can be used, so wood is prohibited. Each vessel is divided into waterproof transverse fillings, as well as different fire zones along the length of the vessel.
6. Design brain
Well-known designers are often assigned to design whip boat elements. These include Kelly Hoppen, who used her signatures of neutral color palettes and earthy materials in the design of accommodation rooms and apartments aboard the Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex. Tom Wright, designer of the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, also created many of the exterior areas of these two well-designed ships. Tom Dixon, who redesigned the Sea Container House in London, has brought retro-futurism to the seas with his rock-and-roll-inspired designs for Virgin Voyages’ first cruise ship, the Scarlet Lady. Adam D Tihany, who created the interior for the refurbished Beverly Hills Hotel in California and the Cipriani Hotel in Venice, will be the visionary projector behind the other Cunard, which will launch in 2022.
7. Remember the gap
It is not uncommon for cruise ships to stretch. From a financial point of view, extending an existing vessel can cost almost as much as a new vessel, but this gives the vessel owner extra capacity much faster than starting from scratch. To achieve this achievement, the ship is moved to a dry quay and lowered into massive blocks. The superstructure is then cut into two and the blocks rotate. The new prefabricated section, complete with hydraulic and electrical equipment, has been maneuvered on site with great precision. The sections are glued together, the utility systems connected and the body repainted.
8. Power supply forward
More advanced cruise ships, such as the Royal Caribbeans Quantum of the Seas, are equipped with withazimuth propellers. These are massive pods at the rear of the ship’s housing propellers that can rotate 360 degrees and provide optimal maneuverability. The propeller at the front of the pod effectively pulls the boat through the water instead of pushing it as with traditional propeller and axle systems. These propellers replace the steering wheels and have the benefits of reduced stopping distance, the ability to move the boat sideways, and greater fuel efficiency.
9. A tight squeeze
Inaugurated in 1914, the highly blocked Panama Canal, 51 miles long, sent long and arduous journeys around Cape Horn into history. The determination for the size of cruise ships passing through the canal is known as Panamax. The original double hair bands are 33.53m (110ft) wide and 320m (1,050ft) long. These measurements are essential for cruise ship designers navigating this engineering feat. The canal capacity doubled in 2016 when a new, third set of locks was inaugurated. Known as the Neopanamax, larger ships can now pass through these locks which are 49 meters (161 feet) wide and 366 meters (1,201 feet) long.
10. Eco-friendly credentials
Expedition ships are now being designed to minimize their carbon footprint and reduce pollution. This implies the inclusion of several technological innovations, including large battery banks and the hybrid diesel-electric propulsion mechanism. Selective catalytic reduction systems also dramatically reduce any harmful emissions of nitrous oxide. The next generation of mega-ships are boasting dual fuel capabilities and will largely be powered by lined natural gas, the world’s cleanest fossil fuel.
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