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Publication Title | Safety and Stability through Innovation in Cruise Ship Design

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Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Stability of Ships and Ocean Vehicles, 14-19 June 2015, Glasgow, UK.

Safety & Stability through Innovation in Cruise Ship Design

Harri Kulovaara, Executive Vice President, Maritime and Newbuildings, Design and Technology, RCCL


The guests see one aspect of the operations, which may be the size of the vessel, the features of a restaurant, comfortable staterooms or the amazing architecture of the vessel. But what they do not necessarily see is everything behind this, making it work. Still, it is always there. It is about culture, it is about focus, it is about continuous improvement and it is about working together with the best minds; above all, it is about competence and knowledge – people!

Elevating the expectations, setting the goals and being true to them – every newbuilding project at Royal Caribbean Cruises starts by setting goals towards improving the guest experience. The same process that has created innovative vessels on the guest side has also been applied to the technical side. The result is the most technologically advanced cruise vessels in the world today with the highest levels of stability and safety, a strong focus on the environment and continual energy efficiency improvements.

Keywords: cruise ship design, safety and innovation, safety culture, life-cycle stability and safety


The organisation of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd is built around a fleet of 44 cruise vessels, operated by 7 strong brands. The combined capacity of the existing fleet is about 102,000 berths. In addition to that, 8 vessels are on order, boosting the capacity further by 10 per cent during the next few years. The itineraries include more than 480 destinations worldwide. A fleet of innovative and trendsetting vessels is turned into a winning concept by over 60,000 dedicated employees involved in all kinds of different tasks both ashore and onboard – from the chairman, to the naval architects designing the vessels, to the

Compiled by Par-Henrik Sjostrom based on discussions with the author and additional interviews with Kevin Douglas, Janne Lietzen, Mika Heiskanen, Clayton Van Welter, and Thomas McKenney

cabin stewards ensuring that the guests get a good night’s sleep in a tidy stateroom.



Economies of scale have driven the development towards larger and larger cruise vessels. A large vessel opens up new possibilities. When Project Genesis was initiated, eventually resulting in the Oasis class, the design team looked at the advantages of many different sizes, from 150,000 to 250,000 GT. They decided to go for a record-breaking 220,000 GT design. The size was not a means in itself; they just needed an outstanding product, taking the guests’ vacation experience to the next level. A large vessel offers more real estate and extended width, allowing new architectural possibilities. It became possible to open up the ship even more and create a substantially wider promenade, which again was regarded as a giant leap.


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