Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company with 10 global cruise brands that collectively sail to more than 700 ports of call, owns and operates the Arison Maritime Center, home of the Center for Simulator Maritime Training Academy, also known as the CSMART Academy.
Opened in July 2009 and located in Almere, Netherlands, outside Amsterdam, CSMART Academy established itself from the start as a world-class training center for safety and excellence in maritime operations. It features the most advanced simulator equipment, technology and instructional tools, which provide participants with a superior maritime training experience that emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making.
CSMART Academy sets a high standard for progressive training protocols for bridge and engineering officers, with one of the world’s most experienced maritime training faculties. The staff and faculty have helped pioneer ground-breaking advances – including Carnival Corporation’s role-based bridge and engineering management system, an approach never before implemented on such a large scale.
Building on CSMART Academy’s legacy of training excellence, in July 2016 Carnival Corporation expanded its training operations with the opening of the Arison Maritime Center, a spectacular, state-of-the-art campus featuring CSMART Academy and CSMART Hotel.
The center is named to honor the legacy of the Arison family, which founded and grew Carnival Corporation into the world’s largest cruise company.
The centerpiece of the Arison Maritime Center is the CSMART Academy, which features the most advanced bridge and engine room simulator technology and equipment available, with enough space to complete rigorous annual professional training for the company's 6,500 deck and engineering officers.
With its scale, technology and equipment, and progressive training approach, the new facility is the most progressive maritime center of its kind in the world for training and continually improving industry-wide safety and excellence.
Carnival Corporation partnered with several top Dutch companies to ensure the Arison Maritime Center met the company’s standards for excellence. This included working with AMVEST Vastgoed B.V. to purchase a seven-acre plot of land in Almere, one of Europe’s newest and fastest growing cities. The center’s campus and buildings were designed by renowned architect Paul de Ruiter, and Dura Vermeer built both the academy and the hotel. The design and construction meet the rigorous environmental and sustainability standards required for the LEED Gold certification.
At around nearly 11,000 m², CSMART Academy enables Carnival Corporation to train more officers more often, spend more time training on simulators and provide more real-time feedback to officers than before.
Carnival Corporation’s CSMART Academy has implemented a training environment concept in collaboration with Transas. The simulators provide a wide array of programming and simulated exercises for various maritime scenarios. Working with the CSMART Academy team, Transas developed 12 cruise ship models and delivered 60 sailing areas and ports around the world, including Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Singapore and Glacier Bay, Alaska that are specific for Carnival Corporation’s vessel operations.
The full mission bridge simulators are modeled after the newly designed bridge of the Koningsdam from Holland America Line, which began sailing in May 2016.
The nutical training environment consists of:
• 4 full mission bridges with two additional sets of bridge wings each and a safety center replicating the onboard version.
• 8 part-task bridges provide for specific operations training and assessment, including an interface with the onboard bridge system used on Carnival Corporation vessels.
• 7 Instructor control stations are used for monitoring and control.
• 4 de-briefing rooms one for each full mission simulator.
As well as providing education to the company’s bridge officers, CSMART Academy provides engineers with advanced training, utilizing the latest in visual simulation technology. The full mission engine control room simulators facilitate exercises in all phases of engine control room and engine room operation. They also feature four ground-breaking interactive multi-modal machinery outstations that represent the systems and equipment critical to engine room operations.
Like the bridge simulators, the full mission engine room simulators are based on actual ship layouts and systems, scaled to size and representing a diesel electric engine room comprising six diesel generators and two propulsion motors, along with ancillary and auxiliary equipment. These simulators allow trainees to navigate their way around the actual engine room of a ship to operate and repair equipment, with the genuine sights, sounds and even temperatures found in a cruise ship’s engine room. Engineering officers also work on the all-important communications with the chief engineer overseeing the team in the engine control room.
Technical simulator (TechSim) environment consists of:
• 4 full mission engine room simulators
• 12 virtual machinery space stations
• 2 high voltage training systems
• 2 engine room simulator classrooms (12 stations each)
• 4 debriefing stations and rooms.
In collaboration with the CSMART Academy team, Transas developed three cruise ship engine models with different propulsion systems, including a virtual replica of ship automation systems. The TechSim model uses the high tech ‘gamification’ with 3D engine compartments walk-through and usage of avatars controlled via large touchscreens or gaming controller to ensure realistic situational training for engine room and machinery functions. A unique replication of the Safety Management System is based on the real ships application.
Along with the simulator training, CSMART Academy has 16 large instructional classrooms with video capabilities to review and discuss exercises conducted in the simulators.
Adjacent to the CSMART Academy, the CSMART Hotel is located with 176 rooms to accommodate officers participating in the training program.
The bridge and engineering officers study an intensive 40-hour course, accredited by the UK MCA, the Netherlands’ Shipping Inspectorate and DNV-GL.
The courses are run from 7 AM to 11 PM, almost every day of the week, in three shifts during the day; generally with five hours of practice in the simulators and three hours of theory in the classroom.
To make sure officers reach the training goals, there is always an assessment at the end of the course.
Launched in 2017, the Arison Maritime Center provides the industry’s first Proficiency Training and Assessment (PTA) program. The week long program is based on a specially developed curriculum that annually refreshes and evaluates every Carnival Corporation officer. In other safety-critical industries such as aviation and nuclear power, similar programs have already been in place for some time.
Designed by CSMART Academy faculty to meet the complex operations of bridges and engine control rooms/engine rooms on today’s modern cruise ships, the PTA program combines recurrent training with measurable assurance that the officers have achieved and are maintaining the training standards, required by their responsibilities.
Completing the PTA every year is a compulsory part of the company’s 'Continuous Professional Development Matrix', exceeding regulatory requirements and further establishing Carnival Corporation and its 10 brands as leaders in safety and excellence in maritime leadership.
In 2007, four groups of nautical educators traveled on eight ships from P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises to evaluate bridge and safety management practices, report on their findings and recommend potential improvements. The educators agreed that each ship operated to a high standard of traditional navigation. However, with today’s evolution to operate large cruise ships in ports with minimal operational margins, they believed it was essential that navigation and maneuvering be carried out with high precision using all available resources, and that bridge practices should be adapting with the times. The recommendations included officer understanding of bridge navigation equipment, new bridge organization and procedures, and simulator training.
To meet these recommendations, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises set up a training center with actual bridge equipment and a layout identical to the ones on board the most modern vessels. In July 2009, the CSMART facility opened, forming the foundation for today’s Arison Maritime Center.
CSMART Academy began pioneering a role-based bridge management system in 2009 for P&O Cruises UK and Princess Cruises. As of 2012, CSMART Academy expanded training to bridge and engineering officers from all of Carnival Corporation’s global brands – providing an across-the-board foundation for safety and excellence in maritime operations. Referred to as role-based bridge and engine room management, the approach focuses on officers operating as a coordinated team, with each officer assigned a role for specific functions instead of operating according to the traditional hierarchical system.
The role-based system was built on the airline industry model by using navigator and co-navigator roles. The navigator, who is “conning” the ship, is required to verbally communicate intentions to the co-navigator, who has prior experience in the navigator role and whose tasks include monitoring, cross-checking and supporting the navigator. As needed, they are supported by the operations director, mostly the captain or the next highest ranking officer in line, who maintains an overview and provides guidance. The operations director can step in at any time depending on the circumstances. On the bridge is also an administrator present to manage alarms and internal communications. A helmsman and a lookout complete the team.
As part of the role-based approach, CSMART Academy introduced new ways to communicate intentions designed to reduce confusion. In a departure from past protocol, this includes encouraging team members of all ranks and seniority to speak up to challenge or question a decision. It also includes a concept called “Thinking Aloud,” used by the navigator to verbalize intentions, reasons and expected outcomes.
These fundamental changes were introduced in several stages, starting with the development of new bridge procedures for normal, abnormal and emergency operations. To be successful, bridge officers needed to know why this change was necessary and how it worked, so an extensive training curriculum was developed that covered the roles-based approach. Training includes insight on human performance and its limitations. This transformation has resulted in a higher level of safety and operational excellence, with officers making effective use of the new structure and constantly evolving technology.
As Carnival Corporation has increased its operations at CSMART Academy, the goal has been to immerse officers from all its brands in the world-class training experience.
Carnival Corporation also used CSMART Academy to continue research and development projects that will lead to future innovations in maritime safety training and professional development.