And whilst on board some of our specialist cruise consultants had the chance to interview the ship’s own Chief Engineer on all things cruise related. Find out below all of the answers to the questions you’ve always wanted to ask from the power of the engines to the secrets behind setting sail, from Royal’s environmentally friendly plans to what the biggest challenge is as a Chief Engineer…
So, where did you start your career?
Nice question, thanks for asking a question about me! I began my career not in cruising, but in Cargo Ships a mere twenty six years ago now. I started as a Cadet, taking ten years of exams and training to become a chief engineer. I’ve been with Royal Caribbean for ten years now and I’ve been on Independence of the Seas for three years – so yes, a lot of time at sea!
How many engines are on-board & where are they?
We have a total of six engines on board and they are all kept on Deck 1! They aren’t your regular engines so we would only ever need four on at a time to sail across the ocean and five engines on when we need to get full power – we always keep one engine off as spare.
How many engines do you need on to set sail?
We only need to turn on two engines to begin to move- we would then run ¾ of our engines at a time to cruise from one port to the next, depending on the navigational route and the weather. One engine produces 10.6MW of energy an hour, so if we were to run all six at once we would be able to power a town with the population of 50,000 people!
Do you have to accommodate how many engines are being used with the number of passengers there are on board?
You’d think so, but no we don’t. Only 15% of one engine’s power is used to power all fifteen decks fully.
What is the biggest factor of power needed on board?
Water density is the biggest factor: one engine consumes two tonnes of fuel per hour. Plus water density is the biggest effect of fuel consumed. It takes four engines to be on at once when crossing the Atlantic- that’s four tonnes of fuel every hour!
What happens to the waste fuel on board?
All waste, including all water used on board, is purified and discharged back into the ocean when it’s safe to do so.
How much water is used on board?
At the highest point, usually when all the passengers on board are getting ready for dinner at around 6pm, the total amount of water consumed reaches 60 tonnes per hour. However, this can change depending on the time of day: for example, overnight this would drop to 20 tonnes per hour.
Where does the water come from?
We have tanks on board which take in sea water that then goes through a vigorous process of being boiled, purified and having minerals added to it. The tanks produce 90 tonnes of safe drinking water by the hour. Of course, we can only run this at sea or in the ocean, not near the coast!
What would you say the biggest challenge is as Chief Engineer?
It’s funny you should ask that actually because just last week Royal Caribbean announced an introduction of completely new environmentally friendly engines that will replace our existing diesel engines by 2020. This new technology, I didn’t believe we would ever see in the cruise ship industry, so new equipment is the most challenging, but exciting nonetheless.
Well, that was your behind-the-scenes interview with the Chief Engineer of Independence of the Seas! What are your thoughts? Have you always wanted to know what was revealed to our specialist cruise consultants? What else have you always wanted to know? Are you a big fan of Royal Caribbean? Leave us your comments!