Oasis of the Seas: Breaking Barriers

The Oasis is 15 percent more efficient than Freedom class and 30 percent more than the Voyager class, explained KulovaaraThe Oasis of the Seas is not just the largest cruise (passenger) ship ever built, but also a totally new design and configuration, said Harri Kulovaara, executive vice president at Royal Caribbean Cruises. While the Oasis is clearly an extrapolation in size as well as in complexity, she is also the result of Royal Caribbean's 40 years worth of experience, as well as the combined experience and know-how of STX, Det Norske Veritas, the architects and designers, he added.

The Oasis has been built according to the probabilistic rules approach and using the latest computer modeling, he said. Due to the size, the fire zones are larger throughout the ship, but meeting and exceeding all fire safety requirements, backed up and verified through extensive fire simulation tools.

The lifeboats are also of a new design too, carrying 370 instead of 150 passengers, and “we call them rescue vessels," Kulovaara said. “We have used simulation tools to the full extent within the regulatory framework,” he added.

With the first set of seatrials coming up when interview by Cruise Industry News, Kulovaara said that the “our criteria may be different than a traditional ship, but we will still be monitoring the ship's behavior in the sea, speed and maneuverability as well as comfort in terms of noise and vibration. But because the ship is so large, the distance from the engines to the cabins, for instance, will be much longer and hence engine noise and vibration will be less. Instead, we are focusing more on noise from the air-conditioning and ventilation systems as well noise generated by people, slamming doors and such.

“In addition, we will be measuring the comfort on the large open deck especially in terms of the wind in our open neighborhoods.”

The second set of sea trials are scheduled for September, with delivery in late November.

The Oasis is 15 percent more efficient than Freedom class and 30 percent more than the Voyager class, explained Kulovaara. “We have focused on energy efficiencies in the design. Starting with a plain piece of paper, allowed us to pay a lot of attention to hull and propeller efficiencies. New computer calculations and modeling are much more effective. We have been able to select optimal hull lines and have done exceptional work on design of the bow, the stern and all appendixes such as fin stabilizer and thruster openings. We have even paid attention to the welding seems to gain maximum smoothness of the hull.”

Another design objective was to optimize maneuverability.”Our goal was to have easier controls and better maneuverability than the Voyager- and Freedom-class,” said Kulovaara. “At 140,000 tons, the Voyager was 70 percent larger than the Vision class, but more maneuverable. By having the right control systems and powerful pods and thrusters you can better counteract the inertia despite the mass,” he said.

With the pods, maneuverability in port is also greatly enhanced also at slower speeds because you can direct the force.”

Kulovaara said that Royal Caribbean had spent a year and half on system maneuverability studies and tested a number of configurations. The result on the Oasis is three rotating pods, compared to two rotating and one fixed pod on the Freedom, plus four large bow thrusters. In addition, the hull is also optimized for maneuvering capabilities in port, he explained.

“She can handle port traffic in much more difficult conditions than our other ships and will exceed ports own safety criteria,” Kulovaara added.

Excerpt from the Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Summer 2009

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