Have you ever been cruising aboard a mega liner and stopped to think “How on Earth would someone create this huge feat of engineering?” At Cruise1st, we’ve often found ourselves pondering such questions – amazed that the vessels we love so much could have come from the minds and hands of people.
So, here we investigate how many of the world’s major cruise liners are designed and built.
Who Builds ‘Em?
None of the major cruise lines employs their own in-house shipbuilders to design and develop their fleet – due to the incredible costs of the equipment and expertise required. Instead, there are a number of specialist ship builders which are responsible for piecing the megaships together. Meyer Werft from Germany, STX Europe and Fincantieri from Italy are three of the major shipbuilders – responsible for the majority of the world’s biggest cruise ships.
These shipbuilders operate massive shipyards in coastal and riverside towns, constructing multi-million pound ships from the sea up.
Flat Pack Cabins
If you’ve ever stuck anything to the inside wall of your cabin using a magnet, you’ll know that cruise ship cabins are magnetised. This is not just a handy feature to help guests increase their storage and organise their belongings, the magnetism is central to how cruise ships are constructed.
For the vast majority of cruise ships, all of their cabins are built separately from the rest of the vessel, on a construction line akin to a car factory. Every aspect of the cabin is added in the factory, including the plumbing and fitted furniture. These cabins are then transported to the shipyard, where they are slotted into the vessel using the magnetic force.
With some megaliners reaching close to 500 feet in total height (including the hidden below-water section which is roughly equal to the section above the ocean’s surface), putting any cruise ship together is a structural engineering masterpiece.
The hull of the ship is the first part built, constructed on dry land – creating a base for the vessel. Ground crews and massive cranes combine to build the hull, ensuring the structure is watertight, before placing the superstructure atop the hull. Many parts of the superstructure are remotely built in smaller blocks, then placed upon the hull like a Lego construction.
Shipyards traditionally include water control systems which allow the work crews to build the ship, both in and out of the water. This can simultaneously test the constructed hull for water-tight structure and allow the engineers to work on the (to be) under-water sections of the ship. Using man-made dam systems, the shipyards can allow the team to fill and empty the construction site as and when they choose.
Helping create a sense of escapism and total luxury, all the major cruise lines bedeck their vessels with the finest finishes and décor that money can buy. Employing the help of top artists and interior designers; the cruise lines ensure that their ships resemble high-end resorts, rather than modes of transportation.
From P&O Britannia’s £1million art collection to Norwegian Cruise Line’s massive, instantly recognisable hull designs — cruise lines are constantly looking for ways to help their newest vessels stand out from the crowd.
For a great selection of unbeatable deals aboard these engineering masterpieces, visit the Cruise1st website or call our dedicated customer services team on 0800 230 0655.
Images sourced via Royal Caribbean Press Center