China advances in cruise ship manufacturing with commencement of second large vessel

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Picture credit : CMG

20th April 2024 – (Beijing) The construction of China’s second domestically-built large cruise ship has entered a significant phase with the start of final assembly at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (SWS), marking a pivotal moment in the nation’s maritime industry. As reported by China Media Group (CMG), a keel laying ceremony took place this Saturday at SWS’s No. 2 dock, setting the stage for rapid assembly akin to “building blocks.”

This advancement underscores a critical milestone in China’s burgeoning shipbuilding capabilities, particularly in the high-stakes cruise ship sector. “The keel laying represents not just a physical foundation but also a rapid progression in our shipbuilding technique,” stated Chen Jianwei, assistant general manager at SWS and director of the large cruise ship project. Chen highlighted that this step signifies China’s robust capabilities in mass design and construction within the cruise ship industry.

The new vessel boasts impressive specifications that exceed its predecessor, reflecting both growth in scale and technological advancement. With a gross tonnage of 141,900 tonnes, it surpasses the first ship by 6,400 tonnes and stretches 341 meters in length, 17.4 meters longer than the first. The ship also features an increased cabin count of 2,144, up by 19 cabins.

Environmental considerations have been paramount in the design of this second cruise ship, which includes two sets of desulfurization systems and five advanced environmental protection systems. These additions are part of a broader initiative to align with global sustainability standards.

The cruise ship promises an enhanced passenger experience with its expansive living and entertainment facilities spread across 16 decks. These include a large-scale performance centre, extensive dining options ranging from large restaurants to specialty eateries, and art galleries. The design optimizations have also expanded the public and outdoor recreational spaces to 25,599 square meters and 14,272 square meters, respectively.

As of now, 124 of the ship’s 699 structural segments have been completed, with outfitting work well underway. The project timeline is set, with the ship expected to be floated out in early May 2025, undocked by March 2026, and commence sea trials in June of the same year. The vessel is anticipated to be officially named and delivered by the end of 2026.

Reflecting on the lessons learned from the construction of the first cruise ship, Chen noted the application of scientific research results, management experiences, and methodologies that have significantly enhanced operational efficiency. “We have developed digital control means of giant system engineering that cover various aspects such as design, procurement, and logistics, which collectively streamline the construction process,” Chen added.