What Navigation Features Do They Have?
Scenic Space-Ship captains need to know exactly where the vessel is on the river at all times, not only to help with navigating upcoming turns, but to make sure the speed is appropriate to the schedule. For this reason, all ships are equipped with advanced communication technologies – from GPS and radar to internet and TV satellites.
Here, Marin offers extra insight on the importance of this tech: “Our ships have all kinds of technical wizardry mounted on their wheelhouse roofs, and these masts and antenna are what make our European river cruises possible.
“One of the most important systems is radar, which tells the crew exactly where the ship is in relation to other vessels and obstacles, enabling safe navigation and an autopilot feature. It also gives a reading of the water depth front and aft, to prevent running-aground.
Other useful navigation systems include GPS, for current positioning, weather reporting on wind speed and air temperature, and a chart which measures how much the river’s current is affecting the ship’s drift.
“With all this information at their fingertips, our captains can ensure smooth and safe passage through the continent.
“Other useful navigation systems include GPS, for current positioning, weather reporting on wind speed and air temperature, and a chart which measures how much the river’s current is affecting the ship’s drift.
“With all this information at their fingertips, our captains can ensure smooth and safe passage through the continent.”
What’s the Docking Process Like and Is It Difficult?
One of the questions we’re asked most often by our guests is – how do you dock a Scenic Space-Ship, and is it difficult?
Whether in the heart of Budapest or the hills of the Douro Valley, docking a Space-Ship safely and smoothly can be a fine art. Remember that these ships measure upwards of 130 metres and weigh over 2,000 tonnes – so they’re not the easiest things to handle on a narrow stretch of water.
To explain how it’s done, here’s Marin: “Everything is against our Space-Ship crews when docking in a new port – from the forward momentum of the ship to the drift caused by the wind and the river’s current. Luckily, they’ve years of experience in manoeuvring these large vessels, and make it look very easy.
“Basically, the entire docking procedure is done by the bow thruster – a transversal propulsion device installed in the bow of the ship to make it more manoeuvrable. Bow thrusters make docking easier, since they allow the captain to turn the vessel to port or starboard side without using the main engine (propulsion mechanism) – which requires some forward motion for turning.
“Docking a river ship may look impossibly difficult to us, but for our Space-Ship captains, it’s just another day on the river.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth look at how our Space-Ships work, and how they’re able to transport you in complete luxury between Europe’s extraordinary destinations. Special thanks to Marin for shedding light on the inner workings of our 5-star river fleet.