North America

Volvo Penta Powers the Making of Memories

The StarShip II, a 130-foot, 150-passenger dining yacht, operated by Yacht StarShip Cruises & Events in Tampa, Florida, relies on D13 power to provide experiences to remember.

Passenger Vessel StarShip in Tampa, Florida harbor

Yacht StarShip Cruises & Events is in the memory business. Its four-yacht fleet conducts over 100 weddings a year while also hosting holiday celebrations, private charters, and dining cruises.

Whether dealing with a once in a lifetime event, like a wedding, or a dinner cruise for a family on vacation, Yacht StarShip Cruises & Events takes pride in providing unmatched premier cruises with one-of-a-kind views, mouth-watering cuisine, and award-winning service. It’s a philosophy the fifth-generation passenger vessel owner and CEO Troy Manthey takes seriously, and one that has netted a AAA three-diamond rating for the dining yacht business. 

“We make memories that last a lifetime,” Manthey says of the business he started 20 years ago. “When you’re dealing with a once in a lifetime event like a wedding, you need the utmost in reliability and power. We have confidence when we turn the key that our Volvo Penta D13 commercial marine engine will turnover and that we’ll be able to execute the event to the highest standards.” 

With over 40 years in the dining yacht business, Manthey understands that the engine that powers a dining yacht can make or break the customer experience. While reliability tops the list, he mentions economics, quiet operations, and low emissions also play a role. “Fuel efficiency and overall cost of maintenance is as important as quiet operation and low emissions,” he says. “The Volvo Penta D13 checked these boxes for us when we needed to replace the engines on the StarShip II.”

StarShip first experienced Volvo Penta power when it replaced an aging bow thruster with a 175-horsepower D4 engine on a 125-foot dining yacht. “We were so impressed with the D4’s torque and responsiveness in our tight maneuvering conditions in the Clearwater Beach Marina that it only made sense to replace the StarShip II’s existing engine with the Volvo Penta D13.” 

 

Starship Dinner Cruise vessel leaving the port of Tampa, Florida

Manthey noted the previous engine emitted more smoke than acceptable for a 130-foot, 150-passenger yacht delivering a luxurious dining experience. The new Volvo Penta D13, a 6-cylinder, 12.8-liter, direct-injected marine diesel auxiliary engine, meets US EPA Tier III emission regulations by producing extremely low noxious emissions and no visible smoke, regardless of load. An electronic management system controls unit injectors and fuel distribution to optimize the fuel-air mixture and improve combustion. The result is high thermal efficiency, high fuel efficiency, and reduced exhaust emissions.

The engine’s variable injector pressure and efficient cooling system also lowers noise levels to further enhance the passenger experience.

Though the pandemic has dampened the fleet’s wedding business, which is down 60% from 2019, StarShip has seen dinner cruises boom by 50%. Pandemic or not, StarShip’s four yachts still head out four to seven times a week to deliver the magical experiences they are known for in Tampa and Clearwater, Florida.

 

Passenger Vessel Captain in the engine room with Volvo Penta D13 engines

Fuel efficiency and low maintenance become a priority with yachts that are always on the move, according to Manthey. He notes the D13 delivers on both points. Within 10 days of repowering the StarShip II, Manthey noticed tremendous results. “The first thing we noticed was the substantial horsepower and torque change from the old engines,” he says. “Operation was smoother, quieter, with less vibration, and the fuel efficiency gains were tremendous. We saw fuel savings of 20% to 30%, and an increase in vessel speed with the repower. We estimate the new engine will save us $10,000 annually in fuel costs.”

StarShip already has 1,000 hours on its new D13 engine. The company relies on Florida Detroit Diesel in Fort Lauderdale for maintenance. Manthey reports the engine has only required routine maintenance at 100, 200 and 500 hours, and is coming up on a valve adjustment at 1,000 hours. 

Yacht StarShip Cruises & Events isn’t the only one in the memory business. Volvo Penta is as well. Manthey explains that the positive memories of how the D13 performed in the StarShip II will lead to adding more Volvo Penta engines in the future.