Fincantieri’s largest-ever continues cruise tradition

‘Royal Princess’ at sea ‘Royal Princess’ at sea

The new flagship of the Carnival Group’s Princess Cruises fleet, ‘Royal Princess’, is the largest ship to have been built by the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.

The current ship, recently named in Southampton by the Duchess of Cambridge, is not the first to carry this name. Its immediate predecessor was perhaps best known for an engine room fire in 2009, is, in repaired and refurbished form, still sailing as the Adonia in Carnival’s P&O fleet. Another former Royal Princess is the Artania, now with Phoenix Reisen, but better known as the P&O ship Artemis.

The latest Royal Princess was built at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard, with cutting of the first plate on 15 March 2011. The keel-laying ceremony was held on 11 October of the same year, followed by launch in August 2012. Handover was on 30 May this year, followed by naming on 13 June. She is the 31st cruise ship to emerge from the yard, and the 13th for the Princess Cruises brand. The Fincantieri group says that since 1990 it has built a total of 64 cruise ships, 41 of these being delivered post-2002. With a further 10 cruise ships in build and on order - including a sister ship to Royal Princess, due for 2014 completion - this market sector is proving highly worthwhile for Fincantieri, despite the threats posed by Asian yards which are muscling into this specialised shipbuilding sector.

Where Fincantieri and the other European yards score is in design and innovation. The builder describes Royal Princess as “an innovative prototype for a new ground-breaking class of ship, which stands out for its new ‘future-proof design’. The ‘future-proof’ concept applies not only to the ship’s layout and performance, but to the fact that the design ensures full compliance with all known current and future environmental and safety regulations.

One aspect of ‘future-proofing’ is careful design of all spaces. This means that wasted tonnage, contributing to operational costs, is avoided as far as possible, and that the ship will be able to adapt to various different types of cruise in different geographical areas. Another aspect is, naturally enough, design to save energy and reduce emissions into the atmosphere and water. Royal Princess and other ships of the same class are among the first passenger vessels to comply with the latest safe return to port requirements.

Passenger capacity of Royal Princess is 3,600, plus around 2,000 crew. Out of a total of 1,780 cabins, 81% (1,438) have balconies, maximising the revenue-earning capabilities.

Among the novel aspects of the design is a pair of public areas cantilevered over the side of the ship at top deck level. On the starboard side the area provides a walkway, known as the ‘Seawalk’, and a bar area on the port side. Compared with other ships in the Princess fleet there is a significant amount of increased space for public areas, such as cinemas, bars, atrium and dining areas. In part this is due to there being fewer pools, but also thanks to increased volume and better use of space.

Both sister vessels feature diesel-electric propulsion, based on four Wartsila medium-speed engines, with a total power output of around 62,000kW. Each pair of engines powers an 18MW SAM Electronics 133-142 rpm low-noise propulsion motor, driving propellers through conventional shaft drives rather than podded propulsion units. SAM Electronics’ scope of supply includes the four generators, propulsion control and monitoring systems, six 2.5MW thruster drives, six AC thruster motors, two dedicated 11kV switchboards for high voltage distribution, and eight low voltage mains supply distribution systems. SAM Electronics also supplied the MACOS Platinum integrated navigation and automation control system on the bridge.

Other notable suppliers include Somec Marine, which supplied the glass and glazing for the Seawalk as well as the balcony sliding doors, balustrades and partitions from Deck 8 up to Deck 16. The same company provided the continuous bridge glazing on Deck 14 and external glazing for the bar and restaurant area on Deck 4, which is capable of withstanding loads of 1,500kg/m².

Principal particulars Royal Princess

Length: 330m
Beam 38m
Gross tonnage: 141,000gt
Passenger capacity: 3,600
Propulsion: Diesel-electric
Main engines: 2 x Wartsila 14V46f, 2 x Wartsila 12V46f
Class: Lloyd’s Register
Notation: +100A1 Passenger Ship, ShipRight (SDA, CM), IWS, LMC and CCS
Flag: Bermuda


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