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Picking Up the Pace

Turku Shipyard wants to deliver a vessel every eight months

article picture: Picking Up the Pace

Turku shipyard is hard at work making the most awe-inspiring cruise ships in the world – and wants to pick up the pace even more. With seven cruise ships in the orderbook – that stretches to 2025 – the shipyard has started to rethink the way it conducts in business. To accommodate the bulging orderbook, the shipyard has a strategy to significantly increase its production within the next few years.

Poject Director Tom Degerman says that in the coming years, the shipyard will put out a large cruise ship every eight months. There are still ways to go before that target has been reached, however.

“Further upgrades and investments are needed to fully realize ‘a ship every eight months’ process,” Degerman notes.

“For instance, there has been large scale investments to our block production. We are now seeing the effects of those investments.”

Nevertheless, things have rarely – if ever – looked as good as they presently do in Turku. In December 2019, a significant milestone was reached as the 180,000 GT Costa Smeralda was delivered to the client, Costa Cruises. Smeralda sailed to Barcelona where she promptly started making the rounds in the Mediterranean.

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BIG & BEAUTIFUL

Many industry veterans have commented that Smeralda is one the most beautiful ships ever built at the shipyard. The cruise ship is also the single biggest ship Turku has produced, since the Allure of the Seas back in 2010.

“It’s almost as big as Allure, and, in my mind, truly a technological marvel on the seas,” comments Degerman who has 20 years of experience from calling the shots in such projects.

What makes her so special in the hitech department, then? – First of all, the newcomer showcases “the green wave” of the industry as it’s being powered by LNG. The usage of LNG as fuel cuts down all small particles and sulfur oxide emissions and significantly reduces nitrogen oxide and CO2 emissions of the ship. For Costa Group, Esmeralda is a part of an entire agenda as the company has invested in the construction of five new LNG ships.

SMART SAILOR

One could also call Costa Smeralda a sensational seaborne “smart city”. Apart from LNG, the ship incorporates a series of cutting-edge innovations designed to further reduce environmental impact. The daily water requirement is achieved directly from the sea, thanks to the ship’s desalination systems. Energy consumption is reduced to minimum by using LED lights, recovering the heat generated by the engines, the particular shape of the hull designed to significantly reduce drag in the water, and new generation elevators that recover energy by re-introducing it into the electricity system.

“The sustainability issue is really a key question for all industry players,” Degerman says, adding that in the 2020’s, the green mindset will only get stronger.

“The cruise goers, for instance, are increasingly environmentally-conscious.”

BROADWAY UPON THE WAVES

According to Degerman, a whole lot of knowledge, skill and imagination went to designing and building the ship’s entertaining features, also. Among the highlights: the Colosseo, a three-deck open area in the middle of the ship with stateof- the-art audio-visual technology inside which required truly specific capabilities to pull off.

There’s no doubt that the passengers appreciate the design, quality and features of the ship: for example, the exceptional upper deck areas and the Spanish stairs in the aft of the ship are a real treat in warm Mediterranean weather.

“The shows and performances onboard the ship are something to see,” says Degerman who has already received reports from Costa about the ship’s performance: everything is in fine working order and cruise patrons are really enjoying themselves.

“Starting March-April, the cruises on Smeralda have been sold out, as the season really kick off,” he says.

The only hitch so far came in January 2020, as Smeralda experienced a brief coronavirus scare. The vessel and its 6,000 passengers were quarantined at the Italian port of Civitavecchia following two suspected cases of coronavirus infection. This proved to be a false alarm and passengers were allowed to go onshore the next day.

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JUST IN TIME FOR THE PARTY

Meanwhile, the work never stands still in Turku – and another ship already commenced hull assembly at the shipyard. On 24 January, the hull assembly phase of Carnival Mardi Gras, a 180,000 gross tonnage cruise ship, was celebrated with the traditional coin ceremony at Meyer Turku shipyard.

Degerman explains that Mardi Gras is the second LNG powered cruise ship being built at Meyer Turku and will have many interesting attractions, including six themed zones. ‘Ultimate Playground’, for instance, will have water slides, a ropes course and the world’s very first rollercoaster onboard a ship.

“Putting a rollercoaster on a ship is certainly a new feature and guaranteed to make a big impact,” Degerman grins.

The ‘French Quarter’ will have New Orleans-inspired cocktail bars and restaurants, at Lido pool area passengers are able to enjoy fun in the sunÂ… and at the heart of the ship there is Grand Central, a large open three-deck space for entertainment and relaxing. A special feature of Grand Central, one that will really connect the passengers to the sea, is its floor-to-ceiling glass front, a complex feat of design and engineering skill.

EXPERIENCE IS STILL KING

Named after the legendary New Orleans carnival, “Mardi Gras on seas” should be as lively as the party back on land in Louisiana.

“ After all, it’s the big experience that people are after, ranging from good food and great service to various special entertainment features.”

In addition, Carnival Mardi Gras is benefiting from Meyer Turku’s 200-millioneuros investment program. The steel halls at the shipyard are going through a major rebuilding phase with new machines and IT systems, but also new processes to build the ships with newly trained employees.

Already the shipyard’s automated steel pre-treatment facility and storage have been up and running for some time and supporting the steel construction of Mardi Gras. More of the benefits will materialize later this year.

Text by Sami J. Anteroinen

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