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Carnival Vista to feature Azipod propulsion system

Spaniel Lover

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This was a surprise to me...


ABB has announced that they will be supplying Azipod propulsion units for the Carnival Vista. See the press release here.


I'm surprised by this, as I thought that Azipods had fallen out of favor with Carnival Cruise Lines. I spoke to the Chief Engineer of the Carnival Splendor a few years ago (during the Behind The Fun tour) and his comments led me to believe that Carnival wasn't a big fan of Azipods anymore, after experiencing too many reliability issues with them.


His remarks seemed to be verified by the fact that Carnival hasn't installed Azipods on any of their ships since the Spirit class. So, reading the news today that there would be Azipods on the Carnival Vista is a surprise to me.


Perhaps ABB has worked out some of the issues in their newest Azipods... which are known as Azipod XO units. You can see a presentation about Azipod XO technology here.


In case you're wondering, there are six Carnival ships that have Azipods. They are the Carnival Elation, the Carnival Paradise, and the four Spirit-class ships: the Carnival Spirit, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Legend, and Carnival Pride.

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I found another interesting presentation about the Azipod XO system. You can view it here.


One of the benefits of the new Azipod XO system is that shaft seals and pads can be replaced while the ship is in port. In other words, they don't have to take the ship to dry dock and lift it out of the water to do this. Here's a picture to illustrate the point:




Because maintenance personnel can access the inside of the Azipod unit from within the ship, seals and pads can be replaced a lot easier.


I have a bit of a claustrophobia problem. So I just shudder at the thought of being the maintenance guy that has to go down in to the Azipod to do this work! I hope they pay that guy well.


The main benefit of the new Azipod units is increased fuel efficiency... possibly by as much as 15%. That's obviously why Carnival decided to go this way for the Carnival Vista.

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I figured they would go with Azipods, it's what pretty much every cruise line is using now, they're just the best option. The benefits far outweigh the negatives of them, and it's great they can do maintenance on them in port.

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Like you mentioned, the biggest factor for Carnival most likely is the logistical issues if something does go wrong in terms of having to take the ship out of service. Which makes sense from a logistical point of view.

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I also spoke with the Chief engineer on the Splendor a couple of years ago. He made the same comments about Azipod reliability. I presume the reliability of the new units is much improved. That combined with the superior efficiency to traditional shaft and propeller designs, made moving to Azipods the logical choice.


I would bet most ships going forward will utilize Azipod technology.



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Carnival Invests in Efficiency, and ABB Azipod Technology


By Rob Almeida On April 11, 2012





ABB has won a long-term service contract from Carnival Corporation to maintain and upgrade ABB’s Azipod equipment over the next 15 years for 20 ships in their fleet, cutting costs by as much as $1 million a year per ship.

Carnival is the world’s largest cruise ship operator and has 20 cruise vessels with Azipod propulsion systems.

Azipods differ from conventional shaft or z-drive configurations in that they are exclusively powered by high voltage electricity and the motors that turn the propeller are located outside the hull and integrated directly with the propeller itself. Benefits of this configuration include greater hydrodynamic efficiency, maneuverability, and more flexible placement of the on board electrical generation plant. The upgrades are projected to improve the already high energy efficiency of Azipod units by 2.5 to 4 percent.

“Customers in all industries are looking at ways to reduce overall lifecycle costs and make such costs more predictable, while continuing to improve equipment performance,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. “We provide a full portfolio of services, including ongoing technology upgrades and dependable maintenance support to help extend the life of equipment, and ensure that it runs at the highest energy efficiency levels possible.”

The service contract covers technology and energy efficiency upgrades for all Azipod systems and propulsion condition monitoring for all ships, and other system equipment maintenance.

The contract includes technology upgrades such as the newly designed Azipod optimized fin shape, which receives water flow from the propeller at a new, less acute angle that redirects the flow more efficiently and Azipod Dynamic Optimizer, a software tool designed to control the pod toe angle, which provides even greater fuel savings for large vessels.

For an “Inside Look at ABB Azipods” click HERE.

Carnival isn’t the only cruise line using ABB Azipods. The Captain of the Freedom of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ship, describes his experience using ABB Azipods while operating in a highly adverse current condition without tugs.

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