March 13, 2012 – En route to Vietnam
Today I received an invitation to tour the engine room. We met the engineering officer at the front office and he led us………….down to deck one and then through a door into the crew area, where I have never been before and then through a secured door into the engine area. We were in the control room; a sea of computer screens, monitoring all aspects of the mechanics of the ship – the engines, the A/C systems, security systems, power systems, water and waste systems, stabilizing system, and the ballast system.
From the control room we proceeded to one of the engine rooms, this one containing one of the three 12 cylinder engines on board which generates 8,640 megawatts of power.
On this ship, as on most newer cruise ships, the engines are used to generate electricity, rather than driving the ship directly. On older ships, the engines, one per propeller shaft, drove the ship directly, while on these ships the engines generate electricity which is stored in batteries to which the azipod motors are connected to drive the ship. Azipods, for the fishermen among you are exactly like fishing trolling motors – self contained pivoting engines with propellers hanging beneath the ship, which pull the ship through the water. They can pivot in any direction making maneuvering, particularly at low speed quite easy. They have eliminated the need for tugboats in most places. These engines also generate all of the other power needed on the ship. There are 3 12 cylinder engines and 2 16 cylinder engines on board, providing a total of 48,960 megawatts of power. There are two Azipods, using 15.5 megawatts each, and they can drive the ship in excess of 22 knots or 25 miles per hour.
There are three Carrier A/C units, which my friend David Gannon estimates would be 8200 tons of capacity each. They only run two at a time, keeping one in constant maintenance. They do a great job in varied climates – from Antarctica to Indonesia.
Many of the systems on the ship are driven by air controllers – these are the compressors for those needs.
The ship uses three of these evaporator systems to make its own fresh water from sea water, for drinking use, bathing, and cooking. In total, the ship can produce 370,000 gallons of fresh water per day at capacity, and the average use on board is 174,000 gallons per day. The final treatment systems re-inject minerals and required chlorine into the distilled water before distribution throughout the ship.
At the other end of the system is the waste treatment facility, which treats the waste, recycling some of the water to be recycled through distillation and some into water to be treated and recycled into the sea.
Some other interesting facts:
Fuel consumption: 140 tons of heavy fuel oil per day
Propeller diameter: 212 inches
Maximum speed: 24.5 knots (28 miles per hour)
Length: 780 feet
Width: 105 feet
Height: 180 feet
Draft: 26 feet
Gross tonnage: 60,874 tons
I found the tour of the mechanical systems fascinating – particularly given this floating hotel above, sailing on oblivious to what goes on below.