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KONE wins a fourth consecutive Oasis-class order

KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, will equip Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's latest luxury cruise ship, Oasis 4. The new ship will be a sister vessel of the world's largest cruise vessel Oasis 3, with 42 elevators and two escalators. This is the fourth consecutive Oasis-class order for KONE. The cruise ship will feature KONE's energy-efficient people flow solutions which will benefit altogether 7700 passengers and crew members on a daily basis.

KONE is to supply the 360m long and 220 000 gross ton cruise ship with 24 energy-efficient KONE MiniSpace passenger elevators, including 12 scenic glass cabins, four KONE MiniSpace service elevators and 14 KONE MonoSpace service elevators. All the elevators will include regenerative drives that supply energy back to the ship's power network.

Oasis 4 will also be equipped with a special gangway button option which will direct passengers automatically to the correct level for disembarkation, depending on the port.

The order also calls for KONE to supply two KONE TravelMaster® galley escalators and three KONE Motala MC 2000 platforms for people with limited mobility.

"At KONE, we are extremely proud to be part of creating yet another Oasis-class cruising experience," says Ari Winter, Head of Marine Business at KONE. "For us, it is a testament of our successful work and solutions provided earlier for the largest sailing cruise vessels in the world, the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas."

Oasis 4 will be built byt STX France in St. Nazaire, France and it is expected to be ready in 2018.

The order was booked in the fourth quarter of 2014.   

TUI Cruises installs Resco PMS on its fleet

TUI Cruises has entered into an agreement with Rescompany for implementation of the powerful Resco PMS and POS (Resco SMS) on board its coming fleet of new builds. The Mein Schiff 4 is already under construction and will will be delivered in June this year. TUI Cruises has successfully operated the Resco systems since its first cruise back in 2009.

TUI Cruises was founded in April 2008. The cruise brand offers a contemporary holiday on the sea and is aimed at the German market. The company is a joint venture of TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd - the second largest cruise company in the world.

The first ship Mein Schiff 1 entered service in May 2009. The sister ship, the Mein Schiff 2, followed in May 2011. Following the successful launch of the first two ships, the fleet grew in 2014 with the first new building in Mein Schiff 3. The logical extension of the fleet is now three more new builds, the Mein Schiff 4 arriving in June 2015, Mein Schiff 5 in 2016 and the Mein Schiff 6 in 2017.

ABB wins marine orders for Star Cruises newbuildings

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has won orders worth $60 million to deliver complete electrical power plant and propulsion systems for two new luxury vessels for Star Cruises operated by Genting HongKong and to be built by Meyer Werft at its shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The orders were booked during 2014.
 
ABB will supply complete electrical systems for the new vessels, including power generation and distribution systems and thruster motors, as well as its latest-generation Azipod XO propulsion system, commanding power output of 20.5 megawatts (MW). ABB’s energy efficient Azipod propulsion uses less fuel than traditional systems and provides greater maneuverability in all operating conditions. ABB’s technology will contribute to optimized vessel performance and a high level of passenger comfort and safety.
 
Star Cruises, one of the world's largest cruise operators, has led the development of the cruise business in the Asia-Pacific region, where it operates seven vessels connecting a wide range of destinations. Based on the freestyle cruising concept, where passengers can dine at their leisure, and world class service with a warm touch of Asian hospitality, Star Cruises caters also to passengers from North America, Europe and Australia.

“This order from Meyer Werft for Star Cruises vessels demonstrates that leading cruise ship owners, in addition to prioritizing passenger comfort, demand outstanding maneuverability and overall cost efficiency from the vessels,” said Heikki Soljama, Managing Director of ABB’s business unit Marine and Ports. “Our successful track record in delivering technical solutions to meet these demands has resulted in ABB establishing a leading position in the cruise vessel market.”
 
“Star Cruises has successfully operated cruise vessels with conventional ABB electric propulsion since late 1990s. For our newbuilding project we evaluated alternative propulsion concepts and selected Azipod because the proven fuel savings and improved safety of operations are a good match with our needs,” says Captain Gustaf Grönberg SVP Marine Operations & Newbuilding, Star Cruises.

The 150,000 gross tonnage, 330-meter cruise ships with 1,682 passenger cabins will be able to accommodate 4,925 passengers each and will be delivered one apiece in fall 2016 and 2017.  The new vessels continue the successful collaboration between ABB, Star Cruises and Meyer Werft: Star Cruises' SuperStar Leo and Superstar Virgo were also built by Meyer Werft and feature ABB technology.

Cruise line supply networks – tides are changing with shift in global economics

The manufacturing landscape in China is undergoing a metamorphosis. Failing as recently as 1980 to crack the top five manufacturing countries globally, the nation surpassed the United States in 2011 to become the undisputed leader. Cost-savings measures on the part of multinational corporations and growth within its own borders were the main drivers behind this rapid and profound shift.

Today, due to a maturing economy, more skilled labor, advanced machinery and numerous other drivers, Chinese manufacturing is quickly ascending the quality chain. This can be a bonus or drawback for cruise lines looking to source products from the region, depending of course on an individual line or ship’s requirements. 

“China has for many years been the leading destination for sourcing hospitality products and other items for cruise lines, but other countries have now emerged including Vietnam and India. These countries also provide great value for sourcing textiles and manufactured products,” explains Jennifer Green, Senior Sales Manager Cruise Line and Hotel Divisions at WESSCO International, a hospitality product design and sourcing partner to the cruise industry for more than 30 years. “However, China remains very popular when it comes to sourcing large orders within a fast turnaround time.”

Folks have been predicting this shift in dynamics for a while now. In a June 2013 article compiled for the McKinsey & Company Quarterly titled A New Manufacturing Age for China, the authors warn: “Companies that continue to base their manufacturing strategies solely on China’s rock-bottom wages and stratospheric domestic growth rates are in for a rude awakening. New challenges will require new competitive priorities.”

Companies like WESSCO International make it their business to understand procurement in current and future, foreign and domestic market conditions. Capitalizing on deep knowledge of the travel/hospitality sector, supply chain management, design principles and a global presence, they are able to offer cruise line procurement teams mixed sourcing strategies to fit a diverse spectrum of needs.

“Our cruise line partners (which include Viking River, Viking Ocean, Princess, Disney, RCL and others) often put out to bid or place orders on a wide range of items. It would be challenging for them to ensure all these items are handled properly and within tight timeframes if going directly to foreign manufacturers,” says Green, adding that many people automatically think of China, a habit that could lead to missed opportunities elsewhere. “We can offer alternative products when the cruise lines are seeking items that can’t be sourced within a tight time frame or budget. Our offices in China, Vietnam, Greece and the US, let us move on a directive with any lead-time requirement, at any given moment.”

According to an August report by China-Briefing.com, Vietnam’s growing manufacturing sector and lower employee wages (at around half of those now common in China), is well-poised to fill the void left by China’s increasingly expensive processes. “Vietnam’s manufacturing sector grew at a compound annual growth rate of more than 9 percent between 2005 and 2010 and today accounts for 25 percent of GDP,” states the material.

Other studies, dating back much further, seem to support WESSCO’s secondary strategy of looking closer to home for quality manufactured cruise line comfort items. A 2011 study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) suggested that for some purposes, manufacturing would return the US. That report states: “Companies should undertake a rigorous product-by-product analysis of their global supply networks that fully accounts for total costs, rather than just factory wages. For many products sold in North America, the US will become a more attractive manufacturing option.”

WESSCO, for example, recently utilized both domestic production sites and factories in China to source custom menus for a cruise industry client launching a new line of ships in 2015. For best price and turnaround time, a Chinese manufacturer (already set up for production thanks an existing WESSCO account) was tapped for simple menus in larger quantities. For the same project, the cruise line also needed complicated menus, with intricate designs, in smaller quantities. These menus were sourced from a local supplier that was able to meet high a quality benchmark and offer short lead times.

With global sourcing trends evolving quickly, brands and manufacturers need to be increasingly savvy and aware of their options.  Price remains a key factor, but other considerations and alternatives must be taken into account when making sourcing decisions. Aligning with a nimble sourcing partner like WESSCO International can also minimize risks and improve quality.

Norwegian selects Rolls-Royce permanent magnet tunnel thruster for Norwegian Epic upgrade

Norwegian Cruise Line has selected a highly innovative and efficient Rolls-Royce permanent magnet tunnel thruster to upgrade the propulsion package onboard Norwegian Epic.

The permanent magnet tunnel thruster offers numerous advantages over traditional tunnel thrusters including significant reduction in noise and vibration, an increase in power output of around 25% from the same size propeller, and is removable underwater eliminating the need for dry docking.

Jay McFadyen, Senior Vice President - Marine Services, Americas, Rolls-Royce said:"We are delighted that Norwegian Cruise Line is the first cruise customer to select our new permanent magnet tunnel thruster as an upgrade to an existing propulsion package. Passenger comfort is a top priority for cruise lines, and the reduction of both noise and vibration, which our permanent magnet technology provides, is of paramount importance to successful cruise operators like NCL.

"This highly innovative and cutting edge permanent magnet technology is suitable for a range of applications in both merchant and offshore vessels, where exceptionally low noise levels, high power output, and rapid response to power demand will benefit operators, crew and, very importantly, passengers alike.

"What we have seen so far through the experience of our first permanent magnet tunnel thruster in operation on the Rolls-Royce designed Olympic Octopus, a highly advanced offshore anchor handling vessel, is that a permanent magnet motor thruster is quiet, efficient and durable. It is capable of running for thousands of hours in intensive dynamic positioning (DP) mode, where rapidly varying loads and alternating thrust directions are the norm."

The permanent magnet tunnel thruster design concept comprises a permanent magnet motor in a rim, which drives the propeller in the centre. The permanent magnet motor consists of two main parts - a stator that carries a number of electrical coil windings, and a rotor fitted with a number of very strong permanent magnets. A rotating magnetic field is created by the stator which interacts with the fields of the permanent magnets on the rotor, which generates force to drag the rotor around, providing the mechanical power.

Other benefits of permanent magnet technology include the freeing up of space directly above the thruster where traditional tunnel thruster motors are located, and a symmetrical design that gives equal thrust to port or starboard. It is available in 1600mm and 2000mm diameter.

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