Earlier this year, Incat Crowther’s CEO Brett Crowther spoke to International Cruise and Ferry Review about Incat Crowther’s capability to design and deliver large, high-speed ro-pax ferries for operators in Europe. The interview focused on the partnership between Incat Crowther and Spanish shipbuilder Astilleros Armon after the companies worked together to deliver two 123-metre ro-pax fast ferries for Balearia.

The second of the two ferries, Margarita Salas, was launched on 14th December 2023, while Eleanor Roosevelt has been in operation since mid-2021. Each vessel has been designed with an elevated customer experience in mind, with the vessels boasting the latest technology including a QR-code accommodation system. Margarita Salas and Eleanor Roosevelt are also operationally efficient, fitted with dual-fuel LNG engines that ensure each vessel is capable of being powered by renewable fuels such as 100% biomethane and green hydrogen mixtures.

The delivery of Margarita Salas and Eleanor Roosevelt, both designed and built in less than 24-months, showcases the capability of Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon to design and deliver large ro-pax fast ferries in the European market.

Read the full, four-question interview with Brett below where he talks about how the partnership between Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon has created a strong capacity for future projects.

ICFR: Please tell us about the success of the Eleanor Roosevelt project and why this has led Balearia to order a sister ship from Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon?

Brett Crowther: “The world-first Eleanor Roosevelt is a truly customised, technologically advanced vessel which was delivered in partnership with Astilleros Armon in less than 24 months. Balearia has been very happy with the operational performance and efficiency delivered by the Incat Crowther 123, with high passenger demand being seen. This has led to the order of a second vessel less than 18 months after the vessel began operating. Our digital shipbuilding process was crucial in the successful delivery of Eleanor Roosevelt and we have now deployed this process once again in the design of Margarita Salas.”

ICFR: Can you tell us about the design/technology upgrades you will be making to Margarita Salas and give us a brief update on the progress of the project?

Brett Crowther:Margarita Salas will have the same physical characteristics as Eleanor Roosevelt but will boast a series of upgrades developed in partnership with Balearia and Astilleros Armon. Primarily, Margarita Salas will have a second passenger deck with a lounge in the bow and will double the area of the aft terrace with an outdoor bar service. There are a range of production improvements and other advances that have also been implemented as the design has matured. A range of other technological advancements, such as the ability for passengers to access their accommodation via a QR code as well as a video monitoring system for passengers with pets, have also been incorporated into the design of Margarita Salas.”

ICFR: What makes Astilleros Armon particularly well suited for building high-speed ro-pax ferries?

Brett Crowther: “Astilleros Armon has proven it has the capacity and expertise to produce world-class high-speed ro-pax ferries via the successful delivery of the Incat Crowther 123. Given Astilleros Armon is based in Europe, they provide a great option for European operators seeking large, customised, high-quality vessels built close to the market, negating the high cost of delivery and oversight costs. Astilleros Armon invested heavily in the workforce and facilities for this type of ship, creating a strong capacity for future projects. In addition, Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon worked closely with European-based Oliver Design on the interior design and integration of the many passenger-centric technology features. This collaboration meant that a local, full-service solution was available to Balearia in the design and build of their new vessels.”

ICFR: Why do Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon work well together as partners in the high-speed ferry space?

Brett Crowther: “Both Incat Crowther and Astilleros Armon take a client-centred approach to our work. This means that we focus both the design and build phases on truly customising each vessel we produce to the operational needs of our clients. While Incat Crowther’s proven digital shipbuilding technology allows us to tailor every component of a vessel to an operator’s requirements, Astilleros Armon has a focus on lightweight construction techniques to deliver a high-performance vessel. Together we have a track record of delivering world-class, bespoke passenger ferries that incorporate high-quality finishes and the latest technology to deliver a superior customer experience.”

Read more about Eleanor Roosevelt here.

Read more about Margarita Salas here.