Carnival Corporation Driving Technical Innovation

“Where there are particularly large refits or complex ones, we provide project management resources to support the brands,” said Chris Millman, vice president of corporate marine technology at Carnival Corporation.

Perhaps the biggest project coming up for Carnival Corporation is a battery system retrofit for AIDA Cruises, as the German brand will get a 10MW battery installation with the goal to maneuver into port, hook up to shore power, and then sail out of port, all with zero emissions.

“The impact of that will be zero emissions for a port call, which is something we are looking at,” Millman said, adding that a fuel cell installation was also happening in the near future on an AIDA vessel.

Long-term planning is centered around less emissions with the eventual goal of finding the zero emissions fuel of the future.

Varying Projects

Many of the ideas and project topics come from the brands themselves, noted Mike Kaczmarek, senior vice president of marine technology for Carnival Corporation.

Thus, those projects can turn into company-wide refit projects, energy-efficiency initiatives and help lend resources and support to prototype future technologies.

“We have been running a technical prototype initiative whereby we are assessing the impact of different technologies on the ships,” said Millman, pointing to variable speed pumps, fan controllers, different hull coatings and LED lights.

“We’ve developed a recommended package for all our ships … it brings all the ships into line with technologies we’ve identified as being effective at improving energy efficiency and waste management,” he said.

After seeing the results of an air lubrication system on a pair of newbuilds, that technology has now been retrofitted to a handful of existing ships, where Carnival first equipped the ships with the fastest itineraries in the fleet that would benefit the most.

Hull Coating

““Following the pause period, and with ships returning to service, they needed hull cleaning and we needed to understand which ones needed it the most,” Millman explained.

New is a remote hull cleaning drone that also collects all the fouling off the hull, alleviating concerns from port authorities and letting Carnival evaluate what was on the hull.

The AIDAprima is slated for a battery pack installation

With no shortage of hull coating options available, different water temperatures and ship speeds and itinerary patterns, the company is constantly evaluating new hull paint.

Carnival ships are sailing globally with different hull coatings, and test patches of new coatings.

“In one case we coated a whole hull with a completely new paint. It has proven to be very successful,” Millman said. “We haven’t seen it through to the end of five years yet but we are moving to doing another couple of trials.”


Supporting initiatives include a host of subject matter experts at the corporate level – whether it’s a hydrodynamics wizard, a waste heat genius or other top minds in specific fields.

“The background assistance is there for the brands,” said Millman.

Getting pitched all the time with the latest emissions-saving gadgets, the corporate technology team goes through potential projects, brings in subject matter help and then evaluates proposals.

Two Carnival ships in Cadiz

“We would then prioritize what to trial depending on what we feel would bring the best ROI on improving energy efficiency,” Millman said. “Then run the trial and report back.”

Company-wide, a technical team gathers twice a year for two to three days, going through all the projects, providing updates and making decisions on where the future focus should go.

“The biggest (future) tech initiative will be on alternative fuels … that is a major way to decarbonization.”

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2021-2022 

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