The world’s largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, is built to withstand the most challenging weather conditions. Accommodating approximately 7,600 passengers, this gigantic vessel, measuring 365 meters long and nearly 50 meters wide, weighs 250,800 gross tons. It is Royal Caribbean’s first ship to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel, contributing to energy efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint. Constructed by about 6,000 workers at Turku Shipyard, the ship was delivered to the client at the end of the year.

One of the ship’s suppliers and contributors to the construction project is Turun Teräskaluste Oy, Tuteka, a long-term partner of Stalatube, specializing in demanding steel structural solutions. The longstanding partnership dates back to the 1970s when Tuteka’s founder Aake Kiviniemi and Stalatube’s founder Reino Rajamäki initiated a strong collaboration that has evolved and solidified over the years.

Through collaboration and unwavering ambition, stainless steel solutions were manufactured for the world’s largest cruise ship. Stalatube provided stainless steel beams and profiles for Tuteka, which were used to build railings for staircase runs and glass-walled windbreaks for the upper deck water park areas of the ship. Particularly, the windbreaks placed on the ship’s upper deck are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, needing to withstand at least 75 m/s winds. Additionally, the glass panels of the windbreaks are heavy, requiring the columns to be not only rigid but also corrosion-resistant. The design and installation work of the guardrail posts were made particularly challenging by two conical-shaped exhaust vents, into which the guardrail structures were integrated as part of the vessel’s visual whole. Due to their shape, the exhaust vents presented a geometric challenge for precise design and pre-assembly work. 

The project began about three years ago, with 25% of the orders delivered in 2022 and 75% in 2023. 

A stainless steel frame post isn’t just a post; it’s an essential part of the entire staircase structure. After prefabrication, the entire stair structure is welded to be airtight and watertight, says Aleksi Kiviniemi, CEO of TuTeKa. 

Stalatube’s stainless steel was also used to build the ship’s ventilation pipes. Two cone-shaped pipes are integrated into the ship’s visual design, posing geometric challenges for precise planning and prefabrication work. 

Stainless steel, being more resistant to corrosion than hot-dip galvanized steel, was chosen by Tuteka from the project’s inception to ensure the products’ corrosion resistance during construction and warranty periods. 

The pipe beams were pre-marked with the locations and dimensions of all equipment fittings, aiding in prefabrication and installation. The plan had to precisely adhere to the drawings, said Krister Renwall, the Stalatube designer responsible for laser cutting.

The most important factor for the project’s success was careful planning. Precisely prefabricated components and installation ensured that we stayed on schedule, Aleksi commends. 

One of the biggest advantages of stainless steel is that it doesn’t require painting or maintenance. From manufacturing to warranty, it’s reassuring that there are no concerns about the product rusting. Stainless steel is a worry-free option. However, the railings on Icon of the Seas were painted for visual reasons, to blend with the overall aesthetic of the water park. 

Although the first Icon of the Seas cruise ship has just embarked on its maiden voyage from its homeport of Miami, USA, the design and prefabrication of components for the second cruise ship’s stairwells are already in full swing at both Tuteka and Stalatube factories. The partnership, spanning over 50 years, continues as two new state-of-the-art cruise ships are being built at the Turku shipyard in the coming years.

Aleksi Kiviniemi, CEO of Tuteka, is pleased that the first Icon of the Seas has departed from the port of Turku towards Miami, and preparations for the staircase structures of the second cruise ship are already underway. 

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Header photo: CruiseMapper, https://www.cruisemapper.com/ships/Icon-Of-The-Seas-2110
Other photos: Tuteka

Jukka Matilainen

Export ManagerEnergy Industry, Hollow sections & profilesStalatube Oy (Finland)

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Photo: https://www.cruisemapper.com/ships/Icon-Of-The-Seas-2110

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