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ATHENS, Greece -- Just last year Mega Crown International Cruise Lines, LLP jolted the cruising industry with the launch of the Brobdingnagian, a 17,000 passenger Extreme-Ultra-Mega cruise ship. Now it is turning the industry on its head again with the launch of the Ibrido, a first-of-a-kind, hybrid cruise ship.
According to company spokesperson, Svelette Minkenopolis, the Ibrido (Italian for "hybrid") is a conventional cruise ship in all respects except for its power plant. It is there that the Ibrido breaks with tradition to incorporate both diesel and electrically powered engines.
The conventional diesel engines power the ship at low speeds. Then, when the ship has reached its cruising speed (approximately 17 knots), propulsion is transferred to the electric engines.
"Automotive hybrid engines," noted Minkenopolis, "work the other way 'round: Vehicles are electrically powered at low speeds and conventionally powered at higher speeds. This is where the propulsion system for our new ship is truly innovative."
From company memos attained by Err Travel, it was learned that the hull of the ship is plated below the water line with a special amalgam of nickel, zinc and silver. As this material is propelled through the salt water, it creates a massive magnetic field, or the Zone of Electrical Generation (Z.E.G.). Cathodes placed along the ship's keel "scoop up" the generated charge and use it to power the four 122,000 volt electrical motors.
A unique feature of the ship's propulsion system is that the faster the ship is propelled through the water, the more energy can be generated, which, in turn, can propel the ship even faster. In this way the ship's speed is only limited by what ship designers call its "hull speed." In this case about 35 knots.
When asked by reporters about the top speed for the ship, Minkenopolis would not comment, but naval architects familiar with the design have estimated that it is in excess of 35 knots. That's fast enough to pull a water skier. In fact because of the mass of the ship (approximately 55,000 tons) the Ibrido could pull 3700 water skiers!
Sea trials for the Ibrido will begin next month and the ship is expected to enter service in the Caribbean next fall.
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