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Safety of a transatlantic crossing on a cruise ship


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Hi Stephen,

i have been lucky enough to do two crossings on the QM2. I am thinking of taking the newly built Norwegian Getaway its first transatlantic crossing in January. However, with all the talk of how superior ocean liners are to cruise ships I am a little nervous about going on this voyage. Do you think this warranted?
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Alcorcon,

I can't really comment on the seakeeping abilities of other ships -all I can say is that Queen Mary 2 is the ultimate comfort liner on the Atlantic. I've sailed through a few very rough storms on the ship, once travelling at 23 knots with all other ships hove to, and you could hardly feel the motion on board, even up forward where I was. During the design stage we estimated that the motions of the ship in any seaway would be less than half of those of Queen Elizabeth 2, and I am pleased to say that this has been proven to be the case. Queen Mary 2 is an immensely stable and capable ship. It didn't happen by accident -that's what she was designed to be!

But all this talk of Queen Mary 2 doesn't help you with your voyage! I am sure Norwegian Getaway will be fine. As a modern ship she'll have good reserves of stability and will meet all the latest rules and requirements. She is built by a very reputable shipbuilder. The crossing will be scheduled so as to not put an undue strain on the ship, so you'll be fine. Go for it and have a great time. Just try Queen Mary 2 sometime to compare!

Thank you for your question.

Stephen
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As a member of an engineering team during the space program, I am very aware of the role the center of gravity plays in stability. These new megaships are VERY tall and I would like to know what is done to keep the CG down so they don't topple in a storm. I just completed a transatlantic on Caribbean Princess and we dodged a storm as we left Europe, missing two stops (Shetlands and Faroe Islands). Would a liner have been able to handle the storm better and made the stops? Eurodam on the day trudged on out there as we went south.
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[quote name='7continentKaren']As a member of an engineering team during the space program, I am very aware of the role the center of gravity plays in stability. These new megaships are VERY tall and I would like to know what is done to keep the CG down so they don't topple in a storm. I just completed a transatlantic on Caribbean Princess and we dodged a storm as we left Europe, missing two stops (Shetlands and Faroe Islands). Would a liner have been able to handle the storm better and made the stops? Eurodam on the day trudged on out there as we went south.[/QUOTE]

Daer 7continentKaren

The stability requirements for modern cruise ships are very onerous, much more than for ships of old. There have been a spate of new maritime regs which have increased the stability requirements. Remember, old ships were riveted which added a lot of extra weight compared to today's welded ships. Also, although the ships appear tall, they are mostly air and aren't solid through and through. Passenger ships get a lot of their stability from what we call "the area of the waterplane"; this is related to ship beam and you can see that modern ships have wide beams which accounts for their good stability. In fact the margin of stability of today's ships is almost double that of ships of 20 years ago.

Thank you for your question.

Stephen
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  • 2 weeks later...
I sailed on the Norwegian Breakaway transat from Southampton to New York in April and she was incredibly stable in the bad weather we hit. You could walk around carrying things without falling into or holding the walls. I was pleased to see QM2 in the distance on the 5th May and wondered how she was doing as the second officer told me she had deviated her course slightly due to the weather otherwise we'd have missed her. My eastbound crossing on QM2 last January was disappointingly smooth. I've had worse in the Bay of Biscay where she aggravated my back something chronic with the slamming and juddering. I wish you a safe and happy crossing on the Getaway. :)
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