The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection newbuilds mark Hijos de J Barreras’ entry into the cruise market. The shipyard explains why it won the contract and how it intends to use the contract as a foundation to win more cruise orders
Spanish shipyard Hijos de J Barreras (Barreras) has entered the cruise ship market after winning the contract with Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection in 2017 to construct three luxury cruise ships. The first was launched in 2018, with the further two expected to be delivered in 2021.
The newbuildings are innovative for a number of reasons: The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is an extension of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and these are its first vessels; it is also the first time a hotel brand has entered the cruise ship market.
The cruise yachts – designed by Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Tillberg Design and Barreras – have an overall length of 190 m, a 23.8 m beam and will accommodate 544 people, including 298 passengers in 149 suites and 246 crew members.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection chief executive Douglas Prothero explained why the company chose the shipyard. “We had a bidding process – we wanted a shipyard to give us a customised experience, a yard that had a lot of experience in great steelwork and had experience in highly technical ships.”
He said the area the yard lacked experience was outfitting – but this was overcome by outsourcing the outfitting to the ‘best’ company in this field. Interior Proman, an Austrian company with expertise in outfitting superyachts has been awarded a contract with the shipyard to outfit the vessels.
Barreras shipyard project management office and sales director Alfonso Lopez Loureiro told Passenger Ship Technology “The cruise ship market is a natural evolution for the shipyard. We have a lot of experience with passenger ships – a lot of experience of building ferries and... this was the next step.”
The company started building smaller boats including fishing vessels, and in the 1990s entered the ferry market. It learned from the evolution and complexity of these ships and used this as a springboard to enter the cruise and luxury passenger ship market.
The cruise sector the company is most interested in is the luxury and expedition ship market. “The maximum length of vessel that we can build is 190 m, so we cannot build the big cruise ships, we need to build the smaller ships which are either luxury cruise ships or expedition ships,” explained Mr Lopez Loureiro.
Highlighting the benefits the yard is providing to the cruise ship operator, he explained how the yard was more flexible than some of the larger yards competing for the bid. “We have flexibility in following their requests, if they want to change something, we don’t have a problem.”
He added “The skills at the yard – the owners say the quality of steel is good and the quality of outfittings – those are our strong points. We use the local auxiliary industry which has very skilled workers – I think that also convinced the shipowner.”
He explained that the technical side of constructing cruise ships used “very similar skills” to building ferries.
He added “While there are differences between ferry and cruise technically, for example, HVAC is much more complex in a cruise ship, it is clear that there are not too many differences. Wastewater treatment systems are also much more complex but the rest of the systems are not so different between ferries and cruise ships, and we collaborated with the owner to define those systems from the beginning.”
Plugging the gap
The main gap was the interiors side. “At different points, we met with the owner to solve this and plug that gap, and Interior Proman was brought in to the project to help us learn and manage the interiors. People from the shipyard and Interior Proman are working together on this. The interiors are very important, and we are paying a lot of attention to this aspect.”
Indeed, three people from Interior Proman are based at the shipyard, working on the cruise ships.
“The interiors are very important, as are the finishes, because the owner wants them to look like they belong to a yacht, where the quality is higher than in a cruise ship.”
Five interior companies are working on the cruise ships in charge of different turnkey aspects. “Proman is helping us manage them,” Mr Lopez Loureiro explained.
The shipyard is building on its experience of building cruise ships and hopes to win more contracts.
“We would like to build more cruise ships, and we are improving the shipyard with this project, in terms of learning processes and management areas, we have improved a lot.”
He gave an example. “The construction of the cruise ships has allowed us to develop tools to manage the project, and to learn how the interiors are co-ordinated with other works in this type of ship. We are improving our tools and procedures.”
The cruise ships' construction is going to plan with the first vessel launched in October 2018.
Highlights of the ship include that the hull shape has been optimised to achieve the highest guest comfort levels possible, with low noise and vibration improving sea keeping capabilities and manoeuvrability. The cruise ship will sail at a service speed of 16 knots and a maximum speed of 17.8 knots.
The diesel/electric propelling plant has been designed with four main generators with a capacity of 3,600 kW each and two propellers of 4,600 kW each. MAN engines are used alongside ABB for the Azipods.
ABB’s solutions for the cruise ship will optimise energy efficiency and allow the vessel to be remotely monitored from shore. Two Azipod D propulsors will enable the ship to manoeuvre efficiently and effectively while the remote diagnostics service will empower a smarter approach to maintenance.
The cruise yacht will run on marine diesel only. The classification society is DNV GL and the registry is Malta.
Mr Lopez Loureiro said “The systems of the ship are designed to recover waste energy to be used as power elsewhere, for example the energy recovered from the HVAC can used for other things.”
Ferry construction is also an area the shipyard targets, and it has a strong background in this area. Latest deliveries for the yard include ferries for Naviera Armas, Eurolineas Maritimas (Balearia) and Transmanche Ferries.
Both cruise and ferry markets are of great interest to the shipyard, with Mr Lopez Loureiro summing up “Our clear intention is to move to cruise.”