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Captain  James MacDonald has known Jewel of the Seas almost
from the start.  The native of St. Petersburg, Florida has been with
Royal Caribbean International since 1990 and was the first captain of
Radiance of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas.   Accordingly, when
RCI decided to build another sister to those ships, Captain
MacDonald was the natural choice to go to Germany and bring Jewel
of the Seas through the final stages of her construction.  With the
exception of one year spent guiding Sovereign of the Seas through her
exit from the RCI fleet, Captain MacDonald has been with Jewel ever
since.
“Jewel of the Seas is a Radiance class ship.  There were only four of
these ships that were built.  They are 26 percent larger than the Vision
class ships with the same or less guests onboard.  As a result, they
have larger staterooms, larger public areas, less congestion   They
are very elegant ships in a lot of ways.”
“I do think you get the feeling when you are on these ships because of
the space and the number of guests onboard and just the décor and the
elegance of the ship that you feel that you are on a very special ship, a
little more personable.  They are probably on the limit of where you
can still be personable because they are almost 100,000 tons - - huge
ships.  I would say that Royal Caribbean has invested the money in
these ships to give that experience.  Some companies would have just
chopped them [so as to hold more passengers].  But these ships give
that experience of more elite-ness in that sense.”

Creating the Jewel

Like her sisters, Jewel was built in Pappenburg, Germany at the
Meyer Werft shipyard between 2002 and 2004 “at a cost of $500
million.  That is the package deal if you build four.  If you build one,
you are going to pay more.”
Jewel was built in a giant indoor dry dock.  “The way they are
constructed now, they are built in sections and when you finish a
section they are laid into place by huge cranes.   When they are ready
to move the ship, they flood the dry dock with water, which lifts the
ship from the blocks and the ship will float.”
“The Meyer Werft shipyard is a very old and respected yard.   They
do quite a good job.  But it is 30 nautical miles from the ocean.  To
get the ship from the dry dock to Eemshaven in Holland, they have to
transit the Ems river, which is very windy and narrow, shallow.  
When they started the [shipyard], ships were not nearly as big as now
and so running the Ems River was not a big deal.  As they became
bigger, it became more of a challenge.”
“The tide of the river is basically wind-driven and if you had an
unfavorable wind close to the time of delivery you may not have
enough water in the river to pass.  The biggest concern was the
depth.  The nightmare was that there would not be enough water in the
channel.  Then you would have to wait for the next full moon.  Of
course, that would have been a very big blow to all the planning, the
inaugurals and the delivery of the ship.  I’ll say they were very lucky
with all the ships that it did not happen.”
Still there were challenges.  Because of the configuration of Jewel’s
azipod propulsion system (discussed below), it was determined that
the best way to navigate the river was tow to Jewel backwards.  “So
her first voyage was backwards for 30 miles from Pappenburg up to
her salt water home on the North Sea.”
Along the way, the ship encountered a drawbridge where the
roadway would not lift so that it was vertically perpendicular to the
river   With Jewel’s width, there was not much room to get through
the opening.  Accordingly, the ship was trimmed so that she listed to
one side.  This allowed the tall upper portions of the ship to pass
under the angled roadway.
All of this was done with an audience.  “The Jewel was a Spring
baby and so there were a lot of people following the ship from
Pappenburg to Eemshaven.”
Once in Eemshaven, the final work was done on Jewel to make her
ready for service.
“The Jewel did quite an extensive inaugural season to introduce the
ship to the general public and different areas in Europe.”  She has
returned to Northern Europe each year since for the summer season
based in Harwich in England.  Likewise, she has spent each autumn
doing Eastern Caribbean cruises and the winters in the Caribbean.
“The Jewel has been on the longer itineraries the last five years.  She
is set up in some ways for a bit of an older clientele, I would say just
by her itineraries.  She still has all the amenities for children.  We
have a very good set up for kids with the Adventure Ocean and the
kids’ swimming pools but the itineraries are generally conceived as
longer and a lot of the family people cannot take that much time off.”
“In the beginning [the passengers were] Americans and it kind of
stayed that way for three years.  British were always the next highest
[nationality].  It is becoming more and more mainstream for the
British to come on and cruise.  This year we had a lot of British
onboard, sometimes more than the Americans.  More Spanish are
cruising and Canadians have always been in there too. We have a lot
of South Americans.  Brazil, Argentina, Mexico.  It varies but it is
quite international still.”
“You change your delivery a little bit when you know that you are
going to have a lot of British onboard like any nationality.  If you
know that you are going to have a lot of Mexicans onboard, you are
probably going to lean toward some Mexican ideas or at least Latin.  
You get to know these traits and likes.  You get to know your
clientele.”

An Environmentally-friendly Ship

Jewel’s elegance is not limited to her décor but extends also to her
technology.  Her main power plant consists of two gas turbine
engines.  “I think worldwide there are only the four here and the four
Celebrity [Millennium class] ships - - all under the Royal Caribbean
umbrella - - that have the turbines.  They are very powerful and they
are also environmentally friendly with very low emissions.  That has
won the ship awards in places like Stockholm, Sweden and gives the
ship ‘clean ship’ recognition, which is a good thing. And they are
quiet.  We get a lot of compliments on these ships.  There are no
mechanical connections with these turbines - - we are turbine/electric
- - so they are very quiet ships.”
“You can accomplish on this ship 20 knots and run the whole hotel
with one turbine.  These are big turbines.  They are the same one you
find under the wing of a DC 10 jet but they are given a marine
application.”
“Some people would automatically think that we are running kerosene
but we don’t run that high a flammable fuel for combustion because
we are not flying around in the air.  We are running marine gas oil.  
So, we are basically running in the turbine the same fuel that you
would run in a diesel car ashore or a truck.  That price of course is
substantial compared to a heavy fuel that you could run in a diesel
engine or even some turbines.  We put in a diesel engine so we can
run the diesel in combination with one turbine to meet that little in
between speed for itineraries without having to start the second
turbine, which increases your fuel consumption quite a bit.”
The way the power system works is as follows.  “From the turbine
itself they have to go through power turbines. The turbines are running
at about 10,000 rpm.  It is almost difficult to get your mind around
that type of speed but then that has to be reduced down to about 3,600
rpm and that has to be maintained to keep the frequency from jumping.
From the power turbine it goes to another shaft where it connects to a
generator that generates the electricity.  From there, it is distributed
through switchboards in high voltage cable whether it is to power the
hotel or direct down to the main propulsion system.  And then it goes
through a series of some electrical conversions through what they call
a cyclo-converter and it works with the electricity before sending it
to the azipods.”
“Because they work at such a high temperature [the turbines create
steam].  We divert that steam and send it to a boiler steam plant.  And
then we get from the steam turbine about 10,000 horse power just
from the hot air.  It also facilitates in the fresh water evaporators.  We
make all our own fresh water from sea water.  It facilitates the
process of boiling the sea water.”
The power plant is not the only environmentally-friendly part of the
ship.  “Royal Caribbean has put a lot of money into advanced waste
water plants that at the end of the day, you can almost drink [the waste
water].  It is treated so that all the bacteria are killed before [the
water] is allowed to be discharged.  Royal Caribbean is very good
about that going beyond the environmental boundaries of international
law.  Instead, of going out three miles, we go to 12 miles.  Continuous
improvement above and beyond compliance is one of the policies of
Royal Caribbean.”
“Paper, you burn a lot of that.  We have what you call
environmentally-friendly incinerators. Cans and aluminum, we get
those for recycling.  We recycle whatever we can recycle - - cans
aluminum, steel.  We have an environmental officer onboard.    
Whatever needs to be disposed of he will find the best way to do it.”
In places where the sea bottom is a delicate ecosystem that would be
disturbed if a large anchor were to be dropped upon it Jewel can use
her dynamic positioning system instead of anchoring.  This system
links data from satellites and the ship’s navigation system so that “we
can hover. Dynamic positioning will keep the ship [in position]
within a couple of feet.”

Azipods

Jewel of the Seas is not driven by a traditional propeller shaft
arrangement.  Instead, she has two “azipods” suspended below her
hull in the stern.  Azipods are giant metal housings with a propeller
on the front that is spun by an electric motor inside the pod.  Instead
of pushing the ship through the water as with the traditional
arrangement, the pods pull the ship in the direction they are facing.  
This is more efficient as the propeller is turning in undisturbed water.
“They are 20 megawatt - - 20 million watt - - azipods.”  As a result,
Jewel can reach speeds of more than 26 knots going forward.  In fact,
“we can go quite fast backwards - - 18 knots.  It would be kind of
bumpy because [the ship] is not pointed at the [stern] end.”
“They don’t build any rudders on these ships.  Each whole pod turns
360 degrees independently.  Whatever direction the propeller is
facing that is how it is going to pull.  So, you can put it at 90 degrees
to move the ship sideways and use them in conjunction with the bow
thrusters for turning in circles or sideways. You can stop the ship
quite quickly by turning the pod completely around and start pulling
the other way. With the ship at full speed, you can stop at 1.25 miles,
maybe six ship lengths.”

Strength and Stability

In addition to being a fast and maneuverable ship, Jewel has good
sea keeping abilities, which make her well-suited for sailing in any
type of weather she is likely to encounter on her itineraries.  “Her
dynamical stability and her range of stability is good   In high seas,
she is a good ship.  I have brought out several of these Radiance class
ships and been across the Atlantic and they are very good.”
“She is pretty much all steel.  There is a certain amount of aluminum
in the upper areas.    All of these big ships have a certain amount of
that.”   The aluminum makes the upper areas lighter and thus lowers
the center of gravity, which makes the ship more stable.
For aesthetic purposes, Jewel has large areas of glass that allow in
natural light.  However, the superstructure “is strengthen around it.  
The glass is strong too.  Triple plate - - three different layers of
glass.  And you can see the beams all through it.  It is designed to be
as strong as any other part of the ship.”
CLICK HERE FOR AN INTERVIEW WITH JEWEL'S HOTEL DIRECTOR

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Captain MacDonald at the
Welcome Onboard
Reception.
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Cruise ship interview - Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean
- captain - page 1
INSIDE VIEW:

DRIVING AN
ELEGANT SHIP

A CONVERSATION WITH
CAPTAIN JAMES MACDONALD
OF JEWEL OF THE SEAS

by
Richard H. Wagner
Jewel's Senior Officers
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