Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

47 on any other ship to date, says Simon Mockler, the company’s senior director for newbuild decarbonisation. “We have pulled out every tool in the box. For example, we iterated hundreds of hull forms before we found the one that was just right for Icon [the brand’s first parabolic bow].” The air lubrication system (designed by Foreship and installed by Meyer Turku) will reduce friction further as will the (weekly) robotic hull cleaning from DG Diving Group, another first for RCG. In addition, the ship will have waste heat capture systems in various spots provided by different vendors. “LNG gives us opportunities,” says Stig Eriksen, chief engineer at Royal Caribbean International. “We are recovering the cold from the LNG, which is a cryogenic liquid, to increase the efficiency of the air-conditioning plant. We also have new technology where we are reusing the heat produced by the power plant to produce freshwater onboard. There are different ways of capturing energy which we would have lost in the past.” Another first for RCG and the industry is Scanship’s microwave-assisted pyrolysis (MAPs) waste-to-energy plant, which turns dry food and waste into energy. “This is a new way of handling waste onboard the ship,” says Eriksen. “With it we can produce energy which goes into the energy pool for the ship to power things like the reverse osmosis system.” The ship will boast structural firsts too. “The architectural elements of this ship – for example The Pearl opening up the ship to water – are technical marvels,” says Liberty. This dome-like structure is at the heart of The Royal Promenade and links two decks together. This feature is the pivot on which surrounding spaces sit. “It supports the decks above it and enables the three-deck high windows [and views out to sea],” says Jennifer Goswami, director of product development at RCG. “The superstructure that runs through it allows the distribution of the weight through the ship.” The innovation also fits in with RCG’s ‘water, water, everywhere’ ethos for this ship class. “Icon of the Seas has been completely redesigned from a construction and design perspective so guests know they are on the ocean,” says Goswami. “For example, you can see the ocean for the first time from Central Park.” Another “engineering masterpiece” is the AquaDome, according to Meyer. RCG chairman Richard Fain drew the initial design on the back of a napkin and worked with Kulovaara, Scott Butler of Wilson Butler, and more than 20 other architects and designers to make it a reality. It was a complicated process. “It was not just about building the glass structure but also putting it together and lifting the whole structure on top, where we had to calculate what happens and how many points we needed to connect in order to lift it,” explains Meyer. There are lots of smaller innovations onboard too. One example is the destination programme for the 22 lifts, which was designed by manufacturer Kone to minimise waiting times. Kone also devised a system whereby the lifts Royal Caribbean Group executives discussing The Pearl while touring the ship at the Meyer Turku yard COVER STORY Photo: Susan Parker