A Concise Guide To Cruise Ship Engines: Part I

Ship Engine

Ship Engine

At Link Ship Chandlers, we love going behind the scenes to find out more about the inner workings of the impressive ships we supply in the course of providing chandling services from South African ports. In this blog and the two to follow we will be looking at the cruise ship engine from a few different angles. We’ll start by discussing the engine room and defining a few important terms.

What Does The Engine Room Look Like?

Cruise ship engines are normally located on the lowest decks, just above the keel. This is because these ships need the heaviest weights to be situated as low as possible in order to provide stability. Naturally, these engine rooms are quite large – some are up to three decks in height. The configuration depends from one ship to the next; it is laid out according to two mandates – saving space and staying safe.

In order to save space, the machinery may be divided into a variety of smaller compartments that house various parts of the engine separately, e.g. the AC system and the actual combustion unit. Breaking up the engine into these units also contributes to overall ship safety – if a fire should break out or the hull be struck, it helps to contain the damage.

Important Cruise Ship Engine Terminology

Here are a few important terms that require definition if you are to properly understand the complexities of cruise ship engines:

  • Main Engines: These generate the power required to move the ship. In the case of direct drive diesel engines, the units are connected to the propeller shaft. Where diesel-electric technology is in use, it will be connected to the main generators.
  • Engine: Engines use a type of fuel and internal combustion to generate electricity.
  • Motor: A motor uses electricity to facilitate propulsion. I.e. motors use the electricity generated by engines, turning it into kinetic energy that allow the propellers to turn.

Fascinating stuff, right? Next time we’ll discuss conventional diesel engines VS new environmentally friendly technology. We’ll be sharing further perspectives on shipping and ocean-faring right here on the blog in the coming weeks and months as well, so check back soon. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to a member of the Link Ship Chandlers team if you would like more info about our maritime supply services at Cape Town, Saldanha, Port Elizabeth, Coega, Durban and Richards Bay.


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