Cruise Line Changes The Game, Safety Wise

You know the drill: In case of emergency, proceed directly to your muster station. But what if a ship encountered an incident that might normally throw things into chaos… and guests were able to basically stay in their cabins as if nothing were wrong? As Fincantieri shipyard puts the final touches on the Seabourn Encore — set to be finished in late November — new innovations being implemented might eventually mean just that, at least on smaller ships.

The Big Difference

According to the folks at Passenger Ship Technology, the new ship has been designed with “higher-than-required passenger comfort” in terms of what is known as “Safe Return to Port” (SRtP) situations. While such situations generally result in passengers being moved to one or two safe areas where they can be provided with very basic comforts. But Fincantieri’s merchant ship business unit project manager, Guido Checchinato, explained to the website how Encore is raising the bar.

“The owner,” he shares, “wanted to guarantee a higher level of comfort for passengers, even in the event of failure.” As a result, this means many more services will remain not only functional but available for guests. “In addition to the SRtP requirements, the elevators and all the toilets — not just one toilet for every 50 passengers, as expected by SRtP for the safe areas — will be in service.”

Is this the future of cruising?

While these developments would potentially mean that in certain types of emergencies, passengers would be largely unimpacted, it’s unlikely this will become a common feature among cruise ships anytime soon. Why? Because size matters. Encore will come in at just over 40,000 gross tons as opposed to, say, Norwegian Breakaway, which weighs approximately 146,600 gross tons. The smaller vessel will carry about 600 passengers as opposed to the nearly 4,000 ferried by the larger ship.

In order to provide the higher SRtP conditions, Encore is outfitted with many redundancies and back-up systems which take up quite a bit of space. It would be difficult, if at all possible, to replicate those conditions on a ship the size of most mainstream cruise ships.

So it seems that for now, we’ll have to continue familiarizing ourselves with the muster stations, because they’re likely to remain our best bet in case of emergencies!

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