Work underway on the neoRomantica (photo: Sergio Ferreira)This has been a busy season for drydockings – with the Oriana and the QM2 at Blohm + Voss, the Albatros and Amadea at Lloyd Werft and other projects at Grand Bahama, Fincantieri’s Palermo yard and Cadiz. In addition, the Costa Romantica is being recreated as the neoRomantica in Genoa

The planning for the 90 million euro job got under way more than a year ago, according to Franco Porcellacchia, vice president of refits for Carnival Corporation, with feasibility and engineering studies, focusing on HVAC, electric power, fire protection and stability. “We looked at every aspect,” he explained, “from which we developed our job specifications.”

According to Andrea Gaetti, head of hotel technical services for Costa Crociere, with 111 more cabins, the number of lower berths goes up by 234 for a passenger capacity of 1,578 on a double-occupancy basis and a maximum capacity of 1,800, including third berths. In the process a number of single cabins are also being converted to double occupancy.

In addition to the 111 new staterooms, balconies are being added to 150 existing staterooms and 10 suites. Forty of the balconies are on the two new half-decks that have been installed on top forward, where the disco structure has been removed.

Porcellacchia said that the two new half-decks and the new cabins are adding an estimated 1,000 tons to the weight of the ship and an estimated 3,000-ton increase in gross tonnage. The extra weight is increasing the draft by 20 mm, he said, necessitating a revised load line.

Revised ship profileAmong the dramatic changes, the ship’s theater has been removed, giving up its space for the 4,200-square-meter Samsara Spa and wellness area, including treatment rooms, a gym, 50 spa cabins and a special restaurant.

“This is a radical change,” explained Gaetti. “Instead of having the traditional main theater, we will be offering entertainment in other lounge venues – comedy shows and cabarets. The entertainment will no longer be focused in the theater.”

When the Romantica was built by Fincantieri in 1993, she was built with sufficient lifeboat capacity then to accommodate the increase in guests, according to Porchellacchia. “We have added weight, but are still within the stability safety margins.” The two top half-decks are built in aluminum, using some 150 tons of aluminum, which is expensive, he noted, but saves weight.

The HVAC system was also over-engineered, so it will be able to service the larger ship without adding compressor capacity.

To boost the electric power supply,  Costa has installed two shaft generators, rated at 1.2 MW each, thus being able to maintain the existing propulsion power, despite having more onboard consumption. The Romantica has four main engines, two connected to each of the two propeller shafts, and four diesel generators for the hotel load. The additional shaft generators will use the energy from the shafts to produce electric power, in effect giving the new ship six generators while sailing. A new bow thruster will also be installed in addition to the existing two.

Energy-saving measures have been taken throughout the ship, including almost exclusive use of LED lighting. Frequency inverters have been installed throughout the HVAC system.

Three different architects were retained: Tillberg of Sweden, for all public spaces; Syntax of London, for the Samsara Spa area, including staterooms and the restaurant, and a light refit of all existing cabins; and Italian Studio Enrico Cervi for all crew areas.

The Somec Group is providing the glass walls of the aft restaurants on Decks 9 and 10, as well as sliding doors, balustrades and partitions for the balconies on the new cabins, in addition to windows in the Lido area, windscreens and balustrades for all outdoor public areas.

Main subcontractors include T. Mariotti, in addition to Milan-based Ellevi, which is refurbishing existing staterooms and interior spaces, and Genoa-based Gerolamo Scorza, which is building 151 new staterooms.

According to Porcellacchia and Gaetti, the neoRomantica is basically a new ship and should have an effective service life of at least another 20 years.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2011-2012