There are new propeller blades from Rolls-Royce on the VolendamNo stone has been left unturned when it comes to operating cruise ships more efficiently. With fuel prices low for now, cruise lines are working hard to wring the last bits of savings out of their fleets while building new ships with the latest gadgets to conserve energy. Annual conservation targets will keep Wall Street happy and the tech heads coming up with new innovative solutions.

“For quite some time now, we have been cruising many routes at a considerably lower speed. This is just one opportunity to achieve even greater fuel savings,” said Jens Lassen, senior vice president of marine operations at AIDA Cruises. “Efficient route management and optimized schedules and port times also allow us to save substantial amounts of fuel.”

Sailing slower comes at a delicate balance. Itinerary planners must find ports close by, while still appealing to passengers. Sail too slow and generators will have to add in power for the hotel load and fresh water production. Sail too fast and extra juice is being spent on pushing the ship through the water.

 “One method is fleet itinerary optimization, which includes actually switching off engines and drifting during certain short (cruises) where weather and traffic allow,” added Captain Gustaf Gronberg, senior vice president marine operations and newbuilding at Star Cruises.

Cruise lines are also investing in the latest propeller blades during routine drydocks, while the hull paint companies seem to be locked in a war of who has the best underwater application.

“A top method for fuel conservation with Holland America Line is utilizing redesigned propellers (Rolls Royce Promass) on the Zaandam and Volendam that maximize fuel efficiencies with slower speeds,” said Rob Boksem, senior vice president, technical. “We plan to expand this to the Rotterdam in April. In addition, we’ve achieved fuel reduction success with chilled water optimization whereby we use Siemens Demand Flow to regulate the chilled water flow and condensing pumps for the HVAC systems as demand requires and not pump continuously to waste energy.”

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Spring 2015