VESSEL REVIEW | Silver Origin – New Galapagos Islands cruiser is a luxury, all-suite affair


Silversea Cruises has taken delivery of its first-ever destination-specific ship, Silver Origin, from Dutch shipyard De Hoop. With the delivery of Celebrity Flora in 2019, intended for cruising the Galápagos Islands, this small cruise ship formula turned out to be such a success that soon the Royal Caribbean Group/Celebrity Cruises took an option for a second ship. However, after the takeover of Silversea Cruises by Royal Caribbean (becoming the majority stockholder with almost 67 per cent), the option was handed over to Silversea.

Designed and Lloyd’s Register-classed for worldwide service, Silver Origin was built according the latest probabilistic damage stability regulations and therefore complies with the relevant Rules and Regulations for 2020.

This is supplemented with the client’s constraint to comply with a two-compartment damage stability regulation. Moreover, along with compliance with future international rules and regulations, the vessel also commits to specific Galápagos National Park Directorate Regulations, whereby specific environmentally low-impact features were applied.

As this vessel is expected to be stationary – in a bay or near one of the islands – for around two thirds of its operating time, considerable thought went into the design and selection of equipment, allowing the ship to perform efficiently under dynamic positioning.

Combined with a zero-speed stabilizer system, the DP system will choose a heading to minimise the roll and heave motions on the vessel, significantly improving passenger comfort. To achieve a high level of redundancy and to meet the Class requirements (PSMR* and DP1 / DP-AM notation), the power and propulsion plant of Silver Origin is duplicated and housed in two separate engine rooms.

The power supply for two rudder propellers, two bow thrusters and other consumers, is supplied by four Caterpillar C32 diesel generator sets of 994kW each. The emergency diesel generator is a Scania of 339ekW.

The diesel engines are equipped with an SCR (selective catalytic reduction) installation, whereby the emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx) is greatly reduced. The rudder propellers, of 1,450kW each, were supplied by Steerprop from Finland, while the 400kW bow thrusters were provided by Veth from the Netherlands. With this configuration, a 12-knot cruising speed can easily be achieved and a high-manoeuvrability is guaranteed.

The introduction of this advanced propulsion system, the hull configuration (improved with CFD calculations) and the specially developed diesel engine arrangement, guarantee an average 25 per cent reduction in hull resistance, 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and equivalently fewer exhaust emissions. These characteristics make this cruise ship one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class, in addition to being IMO Tier III compliant.

One glance at the ship’s profile reveals the flared bow with an integrated bulb. This bulbous bow both reduces resistance in waves when in transit and saves energy when staying in position, similarly due to the higher efficiency of the bow thruster. The exterior design of this vessel was successfully boosted by the works of Dutch yacht designer Cor D. Rover, who worked in close cooperation with De Hoop and Silversea to combine the efficient hull lines with a striking and highly functional exterior design. The top deck design, especially, now adds a destination to the journey.

To further reduce the environmental footprint, the cruise ship accommodates an enhanced sewage plant to improve the quality and reduce the amount of wastewater. An improved HVAC system and improved thermal insulation, as a result of energy-efficient low-emissive glazing, leads to 50 per cent less energy consumption.

The HVAC equipment, installed by Heinen and Hopman, is capable of handling the challenging environmental parameters, warmer seawater and higher outside air temperatures of the Galápagos.

In the electric system, many more energy-saving measures have been taken. All electronics were successfully integrated and installed by Droste Electro, following a multi-year subcontractor relationship with the yard.

Aside from its design and use of eco-friendly technology, the vessel features the largest and most luxurious accommodations in the Galápagos region. The raw materials for carpentry, upholstery, finishing and decorations of all eight accommodation decks consist of sustainable, natural, regionally inspired materials.

With 51 staterooms divided over decks five and six and a capacity to host a total of 102 passengers, Silver Origin transports its guests in spacious all-suite cabins, featuring generous bathrooms and connected to the outside world through outward-facing layouts and integrated balconies.

The Owner’s suite, Grand suite and Royal suite – the largest in the Galápagos – feature separate indoor and outdoor living areas, whilst all other suites have large, private veranda/balcony arrangements. All of the vessel’s luxurious cabins feature full room automation that allows the passenger to control everything with just the touch of a button.

Also accommodated onboard, divided over 53 cabins, are the 87 crewmembers and personal suite attendants, to attend to the guests’ every need. These crew accommodations were built by the carpenters of De Hoop themselves.

Characteristic for this vessel is the large variety of public areas, to be found on decks 3, 4, 7 and 8. A choice of seven different seating locations includes a floor to ceiling glass-wrapped observation lounge and the open-air hideaway on the forward respectively mid and aft part of deck seven.

Explorer lounge

Guests can relax or enjoy naturalist presentations and excursion information sessions in the “Explorer” lounges, (one outdoors and one indoors), to the stern of deck four. On deck three, the outdoors and indoors “basecamps” are home to the tourist offices and there is also a stargazing platform on deck eight.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the restaurant on deck four, while the barbecue bar area, aft of the observation lounge on deck seven, offers a more casual dining space, panoramic views and dinner under the stars.

“The Marina”, the embarkation area located aft on deck three, is the primary point of access to the ship and guests will be brought on-board over water, in one of the available rigid inflatable boats (RIBs).

Silver Origin’s transom features integrated aft stairs, combined with a foldout stern platform with special boarding facilities, to allow safe and easy boarding for passengers.

Observation lounge

Behind the scenes, the dry/cold/freeze stores, galleys, pantries and eateries, up to and including the scullery and the waste/sewage management, are unique in their layout – allowing seamless service in the restaurants.

On decks 2 and 3, a RIB garage with hydraulic hull doors, hatches and dedicated cranes is provided for storage of the tenders. To allow for swift and unseen provisioning logistics by the crew, to the starboard side ­– near the dry, cool and freeze stores in the fore ship – a loading bay is provided for provisioning as well as luggage handling.

Shipyard De Hoop has put a lot of effort into minimizing noise and vibrations, the result of which can be seen in floating floors, flexibly mounted equipment and anti-vibration panels in walls and ceilings. The practical implementation of this was supported by theoretical frequency analysis of the ship and its interior construction. With Comfort Class 1 notation achieved, quiet and comfortable passenger areas are assured. In addition, thorough wind tunnel tests on the vessel’s superstructure shape ensure passengers on deck will not be subjected to exhaust gasses.

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Silver Origin
Type of vessel:Boutique cruise ship
Classification:LR X100A1, Passenger Ship, *IWS, Shipright (ACS B), EC0 (BWT, IHM, OW, P, SEEMP), XLMC, UMS, DP(AM), NAV1, PCAC 1 – 3, PSMR*, BWTS*
Owner:Royal Caribbean Cruises, USA
Operator:Silverseas Cruises, Monaco
Designer:De Hoop Shipyard, Netherlands
Builder:De Hoop Shipyard, Netherlands
Length overall:110.01 metres
Length waterline:101.50 metres
Length bp:97.72 metres
Beam overall:18.92 metres
Beam, moulded:17.00 metres
Depth, moulded (maindeck):6.50 metres
Draught, design:4.50 metres
Generators:4 x Caterpillar C32, each 994 kW
Propulsion:2 x Steerprop, each 1,450 kW
Bow thrusters:2 x Veth, each 400 kW
Emergency genset:Scania, 339 ekW
Maximum speed:15 knots
Bridge electronics:Alphatron
Fuel oil (MDO):210 m3
Fresh water:160 m3
Sewage, grey:153 m3
Sewage, black:45 m3
Treated water holding:142 m3
Urea:16 m3
Water ballast:530 m3
Accommodation:51 suites
Crew:87 persons in 55 cabins

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