The legendary Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 on the Hudson River in New York City, October 16, 2008, as she departs for the final time.

19 February, 2012

The Shape of Things to Come, Part 3

I continue with my analysis and admiration of  rear ends......of ships.

Costa Magica, as seen from the stern while we docked in Nassau, Bahamas in April 2007, shows off her prop pockets.  Honestly, this feature completely escaped me on our first cruise on her.  I had noticed what I thought was a weird wavy waterline the previous year when we had been onboard for a Caribbean cruise.  From the tender ride heading into port, I thought they had perhaps adjusted the waterline since the majority of the time while steaming, there would be water off the props, perhaps in that pattern.  I got a chance to see the stern up close in Nassau and my initial impression was very wrong.  These were propeller "pockets" for her conventional shaft propulsion.  As compared to a later stretched version of this same hull design in the Costa Concordia, the Italians gave the newer ships a small "spoiler" or stern flap.

Source of this photo is unknown, taken from my files collected off the internet, so I cannot credit anyone.  Fincantieri, the builders of both Magica and Concordia, have updated the stern design with this appendage.  What is not visible is whether this appendage was literally added on or whether more plating modifications were done to fair in the transition.  Perhaps the pockets were eliminated.  Photos of Concordia on her side now do not offer any further information as this part of the hull is fully submerged.  In time, when more of her damage is documented, I hope to add additional information to this post.

Costa Magica stern is shown above with the highly angular surface planes typical of this often used Carnival hull design. I have to admit, the more I viewed the ship, the more I came to more than tolerate the appearance.  From someone accustomed to the more graceful sterns of Queen Elizabeth 2 and her predecessors, this was a big step.

Looking at this profile now again, seveal years later, the design does strike me as very Italian, in the Alfa Romeo Milano or 154 style.  One could even say that it is done in the latest Cadillac style of folded planes used in their popular car designs. Some like it, others hate the look.

For Costa Concordia, it looks like the designers just tacked on a small spoiler to gain a little speed and efficency, like automotive designers do.  Maybe Captain Schettino liked to view it as such, since we all keep hearing that he drove the ship like she was a Ferrari!

Luck would have it that the retro Disney Wonder was berthed adjacent to the Magica and offered a sharp contrast in stern designs.  What a beautiful ship she was, and that opinion has nothing to do with my bias for dark hull colored ships!

Disney Wonder in Nassau, Bahamas, April 2007

I absolutely love the lines of the Disney ships, including the new Disney Dream that has recently joined the fleet.  Here we see a modern interpretation of classic Art Deco/Streamline Moderne design, flawlessly executed in typical Disney style.  Now this ship, and her near identical twin, the Disney Magic, were built by Fincantieri, so the yard does know how to do curved plating opposed to all the flat plane surfaces on the Costa ships.  Interesting, the new Disney Dream was not built by Fincantieri, but by the the German yard of Meyer Werft, the builders of the Celebrity Solstice class ships; the ships with the exaggerated duckbill stern appendages previously referenced in Part 2 of this subject post.  Both the new Disney ships and the Solstice class ships are high on my wish list to cruise on.  In the meantime, I'll continue with my arse end admiring....of ships.


  1. Great Analysis with a tangible explanation.
    WELL DONE, Ken!

    Ken MacLean /

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