The 110,000 gt ships are being designed and built with environmental responsibility in mind. Each will feature ABB's Azipod propulsion, which has become an industry standard in the cruise segment, with the proven ability to cut fuel consumption by up to 15 percent compared to traditional shaftline propulsion systems.
"Making Virgin Voyages environmentally sustainable is central to our vision and we are delighted ABB's Azipod propulsion will help us achieve that goal," said Stuart Hawkins, Senior Vice President, Marine and Technical Operations for Virgin Voyages. "Combined with excellent maneuverability, it was a natural choice for our ships."
"Azipod electric propulsion stands for innovation and efficiency like no other propulsion system and is fundamental to our vision of electric, digital and connected shipping," said Peter Terwiesch, president ABB's Industrial Automation division.
Two Azipod® XO units, with a combined propulsion power of 32 MW (43,000 HP) will propel each of the three ships. In addition to highest energy efficiency, Azipod XO units, where "X" stands for "next generation" and "O" for open water operation, provide high maneuverability and minimal noise for increased passenger comfort.
Each vessel will feature ABB's complete electric power plant concept, encompassing electricity generators, main switchboards, distribution transformers and a remote control system for maneuvering the Azipod units from the bridge.
The combination of Azipod propulsion and the electric power plant concept makes it possible to configure all of the equipment for optimized performance, resulting in increased efficiency and lower emissions.
In line with ABB's "electric, digital, connected" approach, the ships will have the capability to connect to the ABB Ability Collaborative Operations Centers infrastructure. This network uses remote equipment monitoring and data analytics to enable predictive maintenance, planned interventions or even remote technical support.
The ships will each be powered by two eight-cylinder and two twelve-cylinder Wärtsilä 46F four-stroke engines equipped with ABB's TPL-C turbochargers, designed to handle demanding operations and consistently chosen for large cruise ships for their reliability and efficiency.
Each of the ships will be 278 meters long and 38 meters wide and accommodate more than 2,700 passengers and 1,150 crew. All three ships will be built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy, with deliveries of the second and third vessel by the shipbuilder scheduled for 2021 and 2022 respectively.