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Viking Grace – environmental pioneer of cruise-ferry business

Viking Line’s newbuilding, which will be delivered in January 2013, will be a milestone from an environmental standpoint. The Viking Grace has already attracted global attention, since she will be the world’s first large passenger vessel to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The cleanest fossil fuel available today, LNG provides major environmental advantages.

Viking Line has systematically planned the construction of the Viking Grace in a ways that will enable the use of cutting-edge technology to achieve a cleaner environment, in accordance with sustainable development principles. The company has endeavoured to find optimal environmental solutions in all areas.

Hydrodynamic hull minimizes swells

The Viking Grace has a hydrodynamically optimized hull shape and highly efficient drive technology that saves energy. Extensive development work has been devoted to the hull shape, which minimizes swell waves. In day-to-day operations on board the vessel, recycling and resource optimization will be guiding principles.

"The marine environment in our archipelagos is as enchanting for holidaying families as it has always been, but we have realized that we should take greater responsibility for the environment. The environmental risks and threats that affect the Baltic, as an inland sea, are well known among today’s travellers. Our customers have a right to demand that what we do is more sustainable in a long-term perspective. We are very pleased that we can offer customers a more environmentally friendly alternative on our ferry service between Finland and Sweden," says Captain Henrik Grönvik, commanding officer of the Viking Grace.

The Viking Grace is being built in compliance with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships 2009, which is monitored by the maritime classification society Lloyd’s Register. The rules of the Convention cover the entire life cycle of a vessel as well as the management at recycling facilities of hazardous materials/substances in particular.

LNG radically reduces emissions

As a fuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is globally unique in a passenger vessel of the Viking Grace’s size. Natural gas creates substantially less hazardous emissions. Nitrogen emissions and particulates are reduced by 85 per cent and greenhouse gases by 15 per cent. Sulphur emissions are practically zero. LNG is stored in low-pressure tanks, which are double-mantled and located outdoors at the rear of the vessel. They are filled from an LNG supply ship. The natural gas that is delivered has been cooled down to -162 degrees Celsius and is in liquid form; its volume is thus 600 times smaller than in gaseous form. Natural gas is lighter than air, and in case of any leakage outdoors it is automatically ventilated away. The gas pipes are double-mantled, which means that no gas is emitted into the engine room in case of any leakage.

The environment a high priority on board

Thanks to cutting-edge technological and operational solutions, it has been possible to prioritize environmental aspects in order to achieve both environmental and cost savings. The task of optimizing resources occurs in all departments on the Viking Grace. This includes:

• Energy consumption that minimizes atmospheric emissions

• Water consumption aimed at minimizing the quantity of wastewater

• Waste management to minimize the quantity of waste as well as to recycle or sort waste

• Using chemicals in ways that reduce the number of products as much as possible and employing correct dosages (environmentally friendly alternatives are prioritized)

• Avoiding disposable (single-use) products or those with short service lives As on Viking Line’s other vessels, all wastewater is pumped ashore. Toxic paints are not used on the bottom of the vessel; instead the hull will be cleaned manually several times per year by divers.

Specially designed refuse stations with sorting compartments are located in the stairwells next to the cabin departments. On-board employees’ workwear and a number of items in the cabins and elsewhere have been designed by Touchpoint Oy, a Finnish-based company that works towards sustainable development.

"One of our cornerstones at TouchPoint is to develop products and services that stand for what is good and right. We bring together design and responsible manufacturing, where a well-functioning and controlled production chain is combined with humane considerations. The result should communicate the values our customers stand for and reinforce their brands. We are convinced that ecologically designed products with a high ethical value will benefit the end-user and lead to economic advantages," says Carita Peltonen, Sales and Marketing Manager at Touchpoint Oy.

Environmental considerations in restaurants and kitchens

The vessel’s restaurants will not use disposable receptacles and will minimize their use of disposable packaging. Milk will be served in pitchers, sugar in casters etc. Glass, cardboard, plastic, metals, aluminium, food waste and office paper will be sorted. Instead of serving bottled water, the restaurants will use their own carbonated and filtered water in bottles that are recycled.

Kitchen equipment will employ a Galley Energy Management (GEM) system, resulting in energy savings of around 20 per cent compared to conventional equipment. The Viking Grace is the first vessel in the world that will utilize this system. Locally produced food will be prioritized when menus are planned. In food procurement, the aim will be to use the least possible packaging. Food waste will be separated and brought ashore to be turned into biogas and compost. Used cooking oil will be recycled.

The vessel’s hotel, spa and conference operations

Cleaning routines will be a large-scale activity on board. Instructions to cleaning staff will not only explain that the use of chemicals and water but also the use of lighting and air conditioning should take place in an environmentally economic way. Steam cleaning machines will save both water and detergent. The cabins will feature water-conserving showers and faucets, low-flush toilets and waterless urinals. Cabins will be equipped with Philips TV sets made according to the EcoDesign principle (lower weight, more efficient packaging and better recycling properties). The conference department will also follow the company’s general environmental policy by endeavouring to employ recyclable materials as much as possible in the equipment that is used. In the spa department, heating of sauna units and pool water will employ the best energy-conserving technology. Showers will use water-saving mouthpieces. Spa treatment products will be organic. Entertainment, audiovisual technology and the tax-free shop Here too, it is important to ensure environmentally optimal use of energy, water and chemicals. Instead of being paper-based, cruise programmes will be displayed on IP-TV sets and on monitors. All lighting for entertainment activities will employ light-emitting diode (LED) technology. The electricity consumption of LED spotlights is a fraction of what ordinary spotlights use. The duty- and tax-free department will sort cardboard, plastic and paper for binding together using a baling press. Refrigeration equipment will be energy-efficient. The duty- and tax-free shop will sell many products from companies with green values. Such new items among cosmetics include Korres ( and Yes to Carrots ( Weleda, Ren, Nuxe and Björk & Berries are environmentally conscious brands that have already been featured by Viking Line for some years. One new clothing brand is PEOPLE TREE, which will only be sold on the Viking Grace ( Finnish-based Costo ( uses recycled textiles in its products, which are otherwise already available on Viking Line vessels.

dSign Vertti Kivi and Microsoft collaborates to design Viking Grace teen areas

Viking Line Abp has entered into an agreement with Microsoft regarding the game technology on-board Viking Grace. Operational in January 2013, this next-generation ferry is a testament to the latest developments within eco-friendly technology. Viking Grace will also offer an entirely unique onboard experience in terms of comfort, design and entertainment.

dSign Vertti Kivi and Microsoft have collaborated to design TEENS, a space developed exclusively for the use of teenagers. TEENS will be equipped with Microsoft’s latest innovations and games, including Xbox 360 consoles with the revolutionary Kinect. Through this technology, teenagers will be able to walk in the shoes of their greatest heroes, drive exotic cars down open roads, or dance the night away. Teenagers will now be able to enjoy a truly amazing experience on-board, Viking Line says in its blog.

ABB's EMMA Advisory Suite

The environmentally designed and built Viking Grace is to be made even more eco-friendly with a complete energy monitoring tool called EMMA Advisory Suite. This ABB-provided suite contains all the tools relevant for onboard monitoring as well as options for optimization and fleet level follow-up, tells ABB Marine's Jukka Ignatius in Viking Grace blog.

"The automatic onboard monitoring tool EMMA Onboard Tracker clearly visualizes the overall status of the vessel’s energy efficiency. The vessel’s performance is divided into four KPIs (Key Performance Indicators): cost of operation, energy production/consumption, navigational aspect and finally the optimization level. EMMA uses state of the art machine-learning algorithms to adjust KPI target values dynamically according to operational conditions such as speed and weather. This gives the crew realistic goals and the possibility of improving their operations.

Viking Grace also has the option of being equipped with the EMMA Advanced Optimizer module for dynamic trim optimization. This tool enables the operating crew to reach the optimum floating position, again by using modern adaptive algorithms developed by ABB, in all operational conditions.

All the onboard tools can be connected to EMMA Fleet Control – a modern web-based data discovery tool which allows the shore personnel to further analyze and follow-up on the collected data and calculated KPIs."

Entertainment technology aboard the Viking Grace to be among best in the industry

Viking Line’s new passenger ferry, the Viking Grace, will be equipped with entertainment and conference technology in which the foremost brands, with the newest and best technical features, will be represented. Planning work has taken a couple of years, and some of the solutions are being unveiled for the first time in Europe and on the Baltic Sea.

The vessel’s entertainment activities

There is a general perception that a show is ready to go when the orchestra has placed its instruments on the stage, all set to perform. Unfortunately, the reality is not this easy. Before we can speak of a real show or performance, we need microphones, music stands, mixers, processors, amplifiers, smoke machines, light consoles, static and moving lights and above all, lots of cables. Nowadays better shows also include background videos and thus require cameras, media servers, screens and large LED walls. Technical productions presuppose expertise, programming knowledge and know-how in handling live performances. Each cruise will offer a unique, memorable experience for passengers. 


All lighting for the entertainment on board the Viking Grace will employ light-emitting diode (LED) technology. LED spotlights are a bit more expensive than conventional halogen and arc lamp ones but pay for themselves quickly. For the Viking Grace, this translates to savings of about €10,000 per year in spotlight replacement costs. The electricity consumption of LED spotlights is also a fraction of what ordinary spotlights use, so this will also save vessel fuel. Viking Line’s other ferries have also switched almost completely to the use of LED spotlights for this reason.

Moving images

Major investments have been made in video displaying on board. In every nightclub or other entertainment venue, there are large video walls that use either LED or LCD (liquid crystal display) technology. In addition the venues have smaller 46 or 55 inch LCD displays. Each cabin will be equipped with an IPTV (Internet protocol television) set. In the public areas of the vessel, there will also be more than 200 information and entertainment boards. 

Audio engineering

The Viking Grace has so far been, and will remain, a pleasant challenge for the people working with entertainment and conference technology. It is impossible to overstate how many planning hours they have spent or how much time they have devoted to making the equipment work together to achieve the best possible results.

"Have you become tired of inaudible loudspeaker announcements? We have, too, so we decided to buy audio equipment we are certain will be loud enough According to the information we have received, so far no vessel has been equipped with a sound reproduction system that is as powerful and comprehensive. We will naturally also acquire sound level meters for the entertainment venues, to make sure that the sound is not too loud. Personally, I’m really looking forward to programming and begin using this technology on board the Viking Grace, and finding out how the circuit diagrams that we’ve created using computer-aided design (CAD) – our sound processor programmes – and our other planning works in real life," explains Jouni Sironen, Audiovisual (AV) Manager of the Viking Line fleet.

EU Commission approves Viking Grace environmental grant

Viking Line, the Finnish cruise ferry company, says that the European Commission has approved an environmental grant issued to the company by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The grant amounts to €28 million and it forms part of financing for the 58,000 gross ton cruise ferry Viking Grace that the company is building at the Turku yard of STX Finland. This will be the first large passenger vessel to use lng as fuel.

 The Commission concludes that the grant is in line with European Union guidelines and regulations, Viking Line Managing Director Mikael Backman said in a statement.

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