Shipyard De Hoop has delivered its second expedition cruise vessel, the Silver Origin, to Silversea Cruises. With the delivery of Celebrity Flora in 2019, it was the first shipyard in the Netherlands to once again deliver a cruise ship since the Prinsendam from the Merwede shipyard in 1973.

After delivery of the Celebrity Flora, the Royal Caribbean Group/Celebrity Cruises took an option for a second ship. After the takeover of Silversea Cruises by Royal Caribbean (becoming the majority stockholder with almost 67 per cent), the option was handed over to Silversea. The Silver Origin was launched on the 30th of December 2019 and delivered to Silversea Cruises on the 3rd of June in the Rotterdam harbour area. Just like the Celebrity Flora, the Silver Origin is intended for cruising the Galápagos Islands.

De Hoop’s management is certain that more than a decade of participating in smaller seagoing cruise vessel projects, with the associated design development and investment in knowledge, has now paid off. De Hoop’s CEO, Patrick Janssens, states that this was the ideal basis for entering the growing market of expedition cruise vessels. Furthermore, with many Dutch suppliers and subcontractors on the client approved “makers list”, this project presented a great opportunity for the Dutch shipbuilding industry as a whole.

Damage stability and DP operation

Designed and Lloyd’s Register classed for worldwide service, Silver Origin is built according the latest probabilistic damage stability regulations and therefore complies with the relevant Rules and Regulations for 2020. This is supplemented with the client’s constraint to comply with a two-compartment damage stability regulation. Moreover, along with compliance with future international rules and regulations, the vessel also commits to specific Galápagos National Park Directorate Regulations, whereby specific environmentally low-impact features were applied.

As this vessel is expected to be stationary – in a bay or near one of the islands – for 66 per cent of the operational time, considerable thought went into the design and selection of equipment, allowing the ship to perform efficiently under DP (Dynamic Positioning). Combined with a zero-speed stabiliser system, the DP system will choose a heading to minimise the roll and heave motions on the vessel, significantly improving passenger comfort.

To achieve a high level of redundancy and to meet the Class requirements (PSMR* and DP1 / DP-AM notation), the power and propulsion plant of Silver Origin is duplicated and housed in two separate engine rooms.

Propulsion with SCR

The power supply for two Steerprop rudder propellers, type 20 CRP of 1450 kW each, two 400 kW Veth bow thrusters and other consumers, is supplied by four caterpillar C32 diesel generator sets of 994 kW each. The emergency diesel generator is a Scania of 339 ekW. The diesel engines are equipped with an SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) installation, whereby the emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx) is greatly reduced. With this configuration, a 12-knot cruising speed can easily be achieved and a high-manoeuvrability is guaranteed.

The introduction of this advanced propulsion system, the hull configuration (improved with CFD calculations) and the specially developed diesel engine arrangement, guarantee an average 25 per cent reduction in hull resistance, 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and equivalently fewer exhaust emissions. These characteristics make this cruise ship one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class, in addition to being IMO Tier III compliant.

Exterior design, HVAC and floating floors

The ship features a flared bow with an integrated bulb. This bulbous bow both reduces resistance in waves when in transit and saves energy when staying in position, similarly due to the higher efficiency of the bow thruster. The exterior design was boosted by Dutch yacht designer Cor D. Rover, who worked in close cooperation with De Hoop and Silversea to combine the efficient hull lines with a highly functional exterior design.

To further reduce the environmental footprint, the cruise ship accommodates an enhanced sewage plant to improve the quality and reduce the amount of wastewater. An improved HVAC system and improved thermal insulation, as a result of energy-efficient low-emissive glazing, leads to 50 per cent less energy consumption. The HVAC equipment, installed by Heinen & Hopman, is capable of handling the challenging environmental parameters, warmer seawater and higher outside air temperatures of the Galápagos.

Shipyard De Hoop has put a lot of effort into minimising noise and vibrations, the result of which can be seen in floating floors, flexibly mounted equipment and anti-vibration panels in walls and ceilings. The practical implementation of this was supported by theoretical frequency analysis of the ship and its interior construction. With Comfort Class 1 notation achieved (the highest possible Class notation), quiet and comfortable passenger areas are assured. In addition, thorough wind tunnel tests on the vessel’s superstructure shape ensure passengers on deck will not be subjected to exhaust gasses.

Dealing with coronavirus

In the first months of 2020, the coronavirus rapidly developed into a worldwide pandemic. Around this time the Silver Origin was being prepared for departure to the Rotterdam harbour area. For passing the bridges in the Rhine River, the top deck modules were removed. These would be refitted in Rotterdam, where the final stages, including sea trials and final finishing, were planned to take place.

With rapidly implemented (stringent) virus protection procedures, the transport commenced and the build continued. Delays of materials and equipment (being stuck in warehouses all over the world), unavailability of technical services and other side effects started to interfere with the build planning. Nevertheless, the yard, its suppliers and subcontractors continued to find solutions for the issues which popped up.

Despite limitations on workforce, other limitations and severe side effects, the overall delay on the vessel’s readiness remained less than six weeks. During the sea trials, the DP tuning was done by IT specialists from Navis of St. Peterburg, who logged on to the ship and with this performed the first remote DP tuning ever.

Vessel particulars

  • Length, over all: 110.01 m
  • Length, waterline: 101.50 m
  • Length, between perpendiculars: 97.72 m
  • Beam, over all: 18.92 m
  • Beam, moulded: 17.00 m
  • Depth, moulded (maindeck): 6.50 m
  • Draught, design: 4.50 m
  • Propulsion power: 2x 1450 kW
  • Bow thruster power: 2x 400 kW
  • Speed, max: 15.0 kn
  • Passengers: 102 persons in 51 suites (in six different varieties)
  • Crew & Personal suite attendants: 87 persons in 55 cabins

Tank capacities in cubic metres

  • Fuel oil (MDO): 210 m3
  • Fresh water: 160 m3
  • Sewage grey: 153 m3
  • Sewage black: 45 m3
  • Treated water holding: 142 m3
  • Urea: 16 m3
  • Water ballast: 530 m3


  • Lloyd’s Register of Shipping: X100A1, Passenger Ship, *IWS, Shipright (ACS B) EC0 (BWT, IHM, OW, P, SEEMP), XLMC, UMS, DP(AM), NAV1, PCAC 1 – 3, PSMR*, BWTS*