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Quantum of the Seas Engine Issues


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This may or may not be germane to this topic, in fact, I'm sure it isn't.  However, on my first cruise on a Royal ship, the Oasis of the Seas, one of the steering/propulsion pods, of three, wasn't working at all during our entire cruise.  On Facebook (of which I'm no longer a part of) a month or two before our cruise on it, someone said that only 2 of the 3 pods were working.  Well, when we took the tour of the Bridge, I asked one of the officers if one of the pods was unusable/broke down.  This is as I'm looking at the monitor that shows the performance of each of the pods and the starboard pod was all ZEROS (also, while at the aft of the ship, you could see that there was only 2 propulsion streams).  There was silence for what seemed to be a long time.  Then the Captain chimed in and gave a very convoluted answer.  So, I asked him directly, "yes or no" is the pod working"?  He said that yes one of them were not working but it wasn't an issue because there are two others doing a great job.  I asked when it was going to be fixed.  He said when the ship goes into scheduled drydock/amplification.  

It was of no concern for safety that I asked the question(s).  Just trying to see how upfront Royal is about these things.  I believe the ship cruised for months without being fully capable, propulsion wise. 

Interesting read:

https://www.cruisemapper.com/accidents/Oasis-Of-The-Seas-690

No, there is no suggestion, by me, that we should not cruise, not one bit.  But, it just goes to show that no matter what, business will take care of business.  Makes me wonder what the airlines don't tell you about their aircraft. How many of us, drove our cars in less than safe condition?  Have you noticed big trucks going down the interstate with blown tire(s), the recap flying off the wheel(s) and God knows what else?  It ain't a safe world out there.  Live long and prosper 🖖.  Just do it!

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Curiously, I've just had changes made to the itinerary of my upcoming Anthem cruise, with a similar story of engine issues: "To accommodate routine engine maintenance, we've reduced our speed between ports and as a result, we've adjusted some of our arrival and departure times in Spain, Portugal, and the Canary Islands."

We haven't actually lost any of the ports but will be getting less time in most of them. It's interesting that we now have the two oldest Quantum class ships having cruises impacted by engine issues.

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These things happen. Mechanical equipment needs repair from time to time and they can't always predict when something is going to break down or if they have enough spare parts onboard to fix it as it happens (especially in today's world of supply chain issues). And unfortunately these things could happen if there is a shortage of mechanical labor. Don't expect them to tell you these types of things in a bridge tour. 

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3 hours ago, D Alt said:

These things happen. Mechanical equipment needs repair from time to time and they can't always predict when something is going to break down or if they have enough spare parts onboard to fix it as it happens (especially in today's world of supply chain issues). And unfortunately these things could happen if there is a shortage of mechanical labor. Don't expect them to tell you these types of things in a bridge tour. 

I totally agree with your premise.  

I didn't expect anyone on the bridge to just come out and advertise that an engine/steering/propulsion system was down, that's why I asked.      However, I was shocked at the resistance of the Officer and Captain to answer an easy question.  The officer's face almost turned into a pretzel and really didn't say anything other than ahhhh, ummm.... The captain's first answer was not an answer, it was obfuscation.  It wasn't until I asked Yes or No that I got a yes.  AND, this, my experience, all happened long before COVID and supply chain issues.  

 

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I read the article on Cruise Hive,  but I nor my TA haven't received any communication from Royal in regards to my August 1st Quantum cruise. When looking at the app, Juneau seems to be missing. And in the website if you try to book this date Ketchichan is replaced by Skagway. So, there is conflicting information everywhere. One of many concern is missing already booked excursions due to port changes.

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On 6/30/2022 at 4:58 PM, Moby Dick said:

https://www.cruisemapper.com/accidents/Oasis-Of-The-Seas-690

No, there is no suggestion, by me, that we should not cruise, not one bit.  But, it just goes to show that no matter what, business will take care of business.  Makes me wonder what the airlines don't tell you about their aircraft. How many of us, drove our cars in less than safe condition?  Have you noticed big trucks going down the interstate with blown tire(s), the recap flying off the wheel(s) and God knows what else?  It ain't a safe world out there.  Live long and prosper 🖖.  Just do it!

Oh you don't want to know what we are not telling you at the airlines. LOL!!!

Just know it is all heavy regulated by the FAA, and there are certain things that must be operations for an airplane to takeoff and there are certain things that can be deferred.  It is called a MEL or (Minimum Equipment List) and airlines must follow the MEL if something on the aircraft isn't operational, but at the end of the day it is perfectly safe. I'm not just saying that because I work for an airline, I'm saying it because it is true and because I know seriously airlines in the US and their pilots take safety.   Another thing about the airlines the MEL isn't indefinite there is either time frame limit, or a limit on the number of takeoffs an airline has on a MEL before the aircraft is consider dead and the MEL item must be fixed.  At the end of the day even if the airline has followed the MEL the final decision lays with the Captain.  If the captain isn't comfortable with the MEL the captain can refuse the aircraft and it does happen.  However for people under the impression that every time an airplane takes-off everything is working 100%, well............... SURPRISE it isn't, but it is totally safe.

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10 hours ago, JasonOasis said:

I know seriously airlines in the US and their pilots take safety.

Pilot goes down with the plane, therefore there is some self preservation to do the right thing. Not so much on a ship..  hello Costa..

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My youngest daughter used to schedule airline maintenance for a commercial airline out of  Indianapolis.  She would say that same thing that @JasonOasiswould say.  And for the vast majority of time, I'm sure that it is well intentioned and true.  However, like everything else in life, there are human frailties, mental abilities, and just plain laziness.

When she was talking about how great things, safety wise, were, she would also comment/complain about far too many people not doing what they were supposed to do or just weren't capable of doing it. She had to call aircraft back, on very few occasions because someone didn't read the entire maintenance document and missed something as did the supervision.  How certain rules were stretched to meet timelines and so on.  That's not to say that it was running rampant, not one bit.  But, it did happen.  Hence, we do have accidents rarely but they do happen.  I do feel safer on a commercial aircraft than I do driving down the street.  

One funny thing about her job, she also had to diagram where aircraft would park in the hangers based upon the anticipated length of maintenance, size of the aircraft, where on the aircraft work was going to be done, and a few others.  I asked why the maintenance chief on the ground didn't do that and she said they would always screw it up and nobody would agree on a plan and created a lot of friction amongst the mechanics.  So, she was a very low level Corp., employee doing what a 100+K a year maintenance chief wouldn't/couldn't do.  She also had a minor function in the Emergency Operations Center during a real life emergency.  Fortunately, during her short time of employment with that airline, she didn't have to work in there, real world.  And to be upfront, this was around the 2000 - 2003 time frame.  I'm sure a lot has changed since.

I'm now glad/proud she's an EEG tech in a children's hospital in Indy.  A lot less stress and a lot more pay!  But, we can no longer fly for free.

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Since my September Quantum sailing was booked on Cruise With Confidence, I am cancelling it moving the FCC over to my Oasis in January.  Quantum could be fixed by then, but didn't want to take the chance. Discovery Princess is going out 1 day earlier, so trying them out for the first time. I always get drinks packages and wifi, so the Princess offering with a balcony was a little cheaper. Was in a studio balcony on Quantum.  Have to admit, Im appreciating the IT aspects better thus far.  

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On 7/2/2022 at 7:46 AM, JasonOasis said:

Oh you don't want to know what we are not telling you at the airlines. LOL!!!

Just know it is all heavy regulated by the FAA, and there are certain things that must be operations for an airplane to takeoff and there are certain things that can be deferred.  It is called a MEL or (Minimum Equipment List) and airlines must follow the MEL if something on the aircraft isn't operational, but at the end of the day it is perfectly safe. I'm not just saying that because I work for an airline, I'm saying it because it is true and because I know seriously airlines in the US and their pilots take safety.   Another thing about the airlines the MEL isn't indefinite there is either time frame limit, or a limit on the number of takeoffs an airline has on a MEL before the aircraft is consider dead and the MEL item must be fixed.  At the end of the day even if the airline has followed the MEL the final decision lays with the Captain.  If the captain isn't comfortable with the MEL the captain can refuse the aircraft and it does happen.  However for people under the impression that every time an airplane takes-off everything is working 100%, well............... SURPRISE it isn't, but it is totally safe.

I used to search out sites like this, they can be so funny and entertaining:

 

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We are scheduled for this cruise 9/12. Scheduled this one due to Dawes Glacier viewing. This is our 3rd trip to Alaska, but first one to this Glacier. We have been to the other ports. If they cannot give us the itinerary we signed up for, we should be given the option to cancel for a full refund or at least a full FCC. It would be different if the malfunction occurred during the cruise. Hope Dawes makes it for our cruise and feel for those who are losing this opportunity.

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RC sent out an updated email about Quantum. One engine is out of service and they're having a hard time getting the parts.  Another engine needs to go out of service for scheduled maintenance.  I guess that explains why right now she's going at normal speeds.

 

They're also increasing OBC for the hassle and now allowing cancellations.

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8 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

I'm still confused what the engine problems are since she was skating back to Seattle at 21 knots this morning.

Agree, why aren't the July itineraries impacted too?

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42 minutes ago, Pattycruise said:

It’s interesting that Anthem is sending emails for something similar.   Same class?  Maybe there’s a recall/known issue happening 

 

I wondered that too, especially since I'm on that 23rd of September sailing. We haven't lost any of our ports but our time has been shortened in most of them. If I'm not mistaken, these are the oldest two ships in this class.

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15 hours ago, Sari said:

Agree, why aren't the July itineraries impacted too?

I believe because the parts wont come in until August and that's when they intend to do the work, which requires slower speeds.

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There are six engines on these ships, two very large, two large and two smaller.  During normal operations they would call on various combinations of these engines to create the power needed for that moment in time.  While docked in a port the hotel side of the ship can operate with minimal engines operating.  A high speed run has more power demand so more engines are needed online at that moment.  Normal cruise speed require less power compared to high speed operations so fewer engines.  

These engines are routinely taken out of service for maintenance.  This occurs in between dry docks during normal everyday cruises.  Ships engines are routinely taken out of service and overhauled while we the cruising public never know.  They have enough engines so they can completely take one offline, rebuild it and the cruise goes on.  This can take several days while we go about a normal cruise and no one ever knows they are in the process of rebuilding an engine.  If you have ever cruised before it is possible they were doing routine maintenance on one of the engines during your cruise. 

The problem occurs when one engine begins to exhibit premature signs of a problem while at the same time a different engine also needs to be taken offline for normal routine maintenance.  It doesn't mean that engine is dead completely but as they monitor engine performance and things like particles in the oil the advanced computers can throw up a yellow flag that something isn't right.  In an emergency they could continue to use that engine at full power but doing so may shorten the life of the engine and damage parts that can't be replaced so they tend to go easy on that engine.  

Routine engine work happens all the time and we never know.  Normally new parts are flown in and a week later it's back in service at full performance.  That isn't happening right now.  Parts and in some cases the contractors from the engine manufacturer who come on board to do certain work are in short supply right now.  Meanwhile another engine needs to go through the normal maintenance overhaul which will leave them with two engines unavailable at the maximum capabilities. 

It might be tempting to say just delay the scheduled maintenance on that other engine but that has consequences.  Delaying or altering maintenance could shorten the life of that engine but more importantly it could also result in the ship being out of compliance with its operating certificates resulting in the ship having the operating certificate revoked.  In order to prevent a situation where a ship is left powerless at sea the governing bodies absolutely require work be done based on an established schedule and deviations are carefully scrutinized.  During inspections by agencies like the coastguard they check the logs to ensure maintenance is being performed per established schedules.  A ship deviating from scheduled maintenance is a red flag.  Agencies like the coastguard don't care that they can't visit a glacier and guests may be disappointed.  Safety comes before guest disappointment.  If inspectors and regulators allowed for deviations there are less ethical companies in the shipping industry beyond the cruise industry that would abuse those loopholes and make it part of their standard operating procedure so the regulators are very strict about adhering to the established schedule. 

Normally a Quantum class ship can reach speeds as high as 22 - 24 knots.   Those speeds place a huge demand on the engines so it requires they operate at maximum power.  Not all legs of a cruise itinerary are equal.  For Oasis class the run between St. Kitts and Florida is a high speed leg.  Other legs between other ports are performed at lower speeds.  The same is true for Alaska itineraries.  Some legs require higher speeds.  When they can't produce higher power output they can't include the higher speed legs of an itinerary.  Changing one leg of an itinerary has a ripple effect on the entire itinerary.    

As it turns out in August they must take one engine offline for its established scheduled maintenance.  They are not allowed to delay that maintenance.  Unfortunately right now a different engine is showing signs of a premature condition that require them to not use that engine as they normally would.  There are still four engines so there is no danger or risk for any cruisers, it's not a safety issue making the ship unsafe, they just can't achieve the speeds needed for the higher speed legs of the itinerary causing the entire itinerary to be evaluated and altered.

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5 hours ago, twangster said:

There are six engines on these ships, two very large, two large and two smaller.  During normal operations they would call on various combinations of these engines to create the power needed for that moment in time.  While docked in a port the hotel side of the ship can operate with minimal engines operating.  A high speed run has more power demand so more engines are needed online at that moment.  Normal cruise speed require less power compared to high speed operations so fewer engines.  

These engines are routinely taken out of service for maintenance.  This occurs in between dry docks during normal everyday cruises.  Ships engines are routinely taken out of service and overhauled while we the cruising public never know.  They have enough engines so they can completely take one offline, rebuild it and the cruise goes on.  This can take several days while we go about a normal cruise and no one ever knows they are in the process of rebuilding an engine.  If you have ever cruised before it is possible they were doing routine maintenance on one of the engines during your cruise. 

The problem occurs when one engine begins to exhibit premature signs of a problem while at the same time a different engine also needs to be taken offline for normal routine maintenance.  It doesn't mean that engine is dead completely but as they monitor engine performance and things like particles in the oil the advanced computers can throw up a yellow flag that something isn't right.  In an emergency they could continue to use that engine at full power but doing so may shorten the life of the engine and damage parts that can't be replaced so they tend to go easy on that engine.  

Routine engine work happens all the time and we never know.  Normally new parts are flown in and a week later it's back in service at full performance.  That isn't happening right now.  Parts and in some cases the contractors from the engine manufacturer who come on board to do certain work are in short supply right now.  Meanwhile another engine needs to go through the normal maintenance overhaul which will leave them with two engines unavailable at the maximum capabilities. 

It might be tempting to say just delay the scheduled maintenance on that other engine but that has consequences.  Delaying or altering maintenance could shorten the life of that engine but more importantly it could also result in the ship being out of compliance with its operating certificates resulting in the ship having the operating certificate revoked.  In order to prevent a situation where a ship is left powerless at sea the governing bodies absolutely require work be done based on an established schedule and deviations are carefully scrutinized.  During inspections by agencies like the coastguard they check the logs to ensure maintenance is being performed per established schedules.  A ship deviating from scheduled maintenance is a red flag.  Agencies like the coastguard don't care that they can't visit a glacier and guests may be disappointed.  Safety comes before guest disappointment.  If inspectors and regulators allowed for deviations there are less ethical companies in the shipping industry beyond the cruise industry that would abuse those loopholes and make it part of their standard operating procedure so the regulators are very strict about adhering to the established schedule. 

Normally a Quantum class ship can reach speeds as high as 22 - 24 knots.   Those speeds place a huge demand on the engines so it requires they operate at maximum power.  Not all legs of a cruise itinerary are equal.  For Oasis class the run between St. Kitts and Florida is a high speed leg.  Other legs between other ports are performed at lower speeds.  The same is true for Alaska itineraries.  Some legs require higher speeds.  When they can't produce higher power output they can't include the higher speed legs of an itinerary.  Changing one leg of an itinerary has a ripple effect on the entire itinerary.    

As it turns out in August they must take one engine offline for its established scheduled maintenance.  They are not allowed to delay that maintenance.  Unfortunately right now a different engine is showing signs of a premature condition that require them to not use that engine as they normally would.  There are still four engines so there is no danger or risk for any cruisers, it's not a safety issue making the ship unsafe, they just can't achieve the speeds needed for the higher speed legs of the itinerary causing the entire itinerary to be evaluated and altered.

I would love to see the engine room in one of these ships,do they ever let guests have a peek like the bridge?

 

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