Friday, March 15, 2013

Azipod Problems for Carnival Legend

Another Day - Another Problem for Carnival 

We're sure that is how Carnival Cruise Lines President and Chief Executive Gerry Cahill must be feeling as each day there is yet another incident of some kind in the news. It is a bit unfair to them since these types of problems occur on all lines, since they all use products from the same provider (ABB). 

The latest problem announced today is a propulsion problem on Carnival Legend causing them to change its current itinerary and left it limping towards port in Tampa at 14 knots (16 mph).  The ship made it's port call in Mahogany Bay, Roatan, in addition to visiting Cozumel and Costa Maya earlier in the week, but will skip its planned visit to Grand Cayman and proceed to Tampa, FL, it's home port where it is expected to arrive on Sunday.

Once again, Carnival is going above and beyond by compensating passengers: Guests on the current voyage will receive a $100 per person credit and a full refund on pre-purchased shore excursions for Grand Cayman. In addition, guests will receive 50 percent off a future Carnival cruise.

UPDATE:  March 21st: 

Carnival Legend's March 24 sailing will again replace a scheduled call on Grand Cayman with a stop in Costa Maya, the third sailing to do so, because of a problem with one of its Azipod® propulsion units. The remaining port order will also be altered.

Technicians continue to work on the propulsion system.  The problem doesn't impact the hotel operations, but it does cap the maximum speed of the ship which is the reason for the itinerary changes.

Passengers on the affected sailing have the option of canceling and receiving a full refund or rescheduling for a future departure date.  Unless passengers had their heart set on Grand Cayman, they should still experience a fun Caribbean adventure.   Hopefully Carnival will be able to correct this situation soon.

How Does a Ship Move

We'll take this opportunity to look inside the propulsion system that is used on Carnival and most cruise lines. ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. They are the producers of the Azipod® which is used on the Carnival Legend.

What is an Azipod

Azipod® is a podded electric propulsion unit where the variable speed electric motor driving the fixed pitch propeller is in a submerged pod outside the ship hull, and the pod can be rotated around its vertical axis to give the propulsion thrust freely to any direction. Thus the ship does not need rudders, stern transversal thrusters or long shaftlines inside the ship hull. 

Azipod propulsion system was introduced some 20 years ago and the system has gained a position of a major propulsion system for luxury cruise liners and ice going tonnage. The concept has many benefits. Due to the azimuthing propulsion its maneuverability is excellent, it saves space inside the vessel hull and gives a lot of freedom for ship design. Especially in ice going vessels the system improves the performance in ice operation. However, the most important benefit of the system is reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

More Technical Details

If you still want more technical details or if you are curious about what propulsion unit is on the ship you plan to sail on, see the ABB website which has all the information you'd ever want to know.

ABB, Propulsion Products References 2013
English – 2013-02-05 – 0,35 MB – pdf

Azipod General Presentation
English – 2012-07-06 – 8,54 MB – pdf

To the passengers on Carnival Legend - enjoy your leisurely cruise back to Tampa enjoying all the onboard activities of the ship. Plus do take advantage of the future cruise credit. 

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