Construction of China’s second homegrown large cruise ship in steady progress

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Recently, China’s second domestically-built large cruise ship entered a shipyard in Shanghai for final assembly.

At the shipyard of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (SWS), a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited, the three-level grand block sections of the cruise ship have taken full shape and are now progressing into the painting and coating phase.

Wei Shengsheng, deputy head of the Cruise Ship Project Department at SWS, noted that the construction of a cruise ship, which involves installation of over 25 million parts, is unique right from the initial steel plate cutting stage, explaining that a large number of steel plates used in cruise ship construction are thin-walled steel plates ranging from 4 to 8 millimeters thick.

Unlike other types of ships, large cruise ships are extremely sensitive to weight control, Wei said. An increase of just one ton in the ship’s own weight means a reduction in either the cargo capacity or the passenger volume, he added.

In addition, cruise ships, which navigate on the sea, need to endure the challenges of wind and waves and also address fundamental issues such as water and electricity supply, and waste disposal. Furthermore, they must cater to the needs of thousands of people on board for daily lives, leisure activities, and entertainment. Coordinating such a complex array of functions within limited space is undoubtedly a challenging task.

“After forming the hull, we began installing components, just like building bricks, which seems simple, but calls for skills,” said Yang Xin, also deputy head of the Cruise Ship Project Department at SWS. 

According to Yang, a cruise ship consists of the hull section and the hotel section, with dozens of areas providing dining, entertainment, leisure, and accommodation functions for passengers, as well as over 2,000 cabins of various types – an enormous system. 

Cruise ships integrate the most advanced shipbuilding techniques, outstanding materials, propulsion technology, electronics technology, communications and navigation technology, and hotel engineering technology, Yang added.

“A large cruise ship has to accommodate thousands of people living onboard simultaneously. Within the limited space, it requires equipment hundreds of times more than a normal cargo ship. The utilization of space is pushed to the extreme,” Wei explained.

In 2019, construction officially began on China’s first domestically-built large cruise ship, a process that took over 3 years. 

“Based on summarizing the experience gained from building the first ship, and leveraging a series of research results, management experience and tools, we optimized the building process and worked for technological breakthroughs,” said Yang, adding that the construction efficiency of the second cruise ship is expected to be improved by 20 percent than the first. In particular, the dry dock period will be reduced by nearly eight months. The core competitiveness of China’s design and manufacturing of large cruise ships is continuously enhancing.

“In building the second cruise ship, we are becoming increasingly confident,” Yang told People’s Daily.

Compared to the first ship, the second one is larger in size and equipped with more advanced facilities. It features a massive 16-deck superstructure area for living and entertainment. Through optimized design, the public areas and outdoor activity spaces have increased in size, further enhancing passenger comfort and experience. 

It is reported that after the ship entered the shipyard, construction work will revolve around hull construction, outfitting, and regional outfitting. Cabin module installation and interior outfitting will be basically completed by 2025. The ship will undock by the end of March 2026, begin sea trials in June of that year, and be named and delivered before the end of 2026.



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