Conscious vessels to cruise waters

MSC World Europa is MSC Cruises’ largest vessel and the first to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG)

Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) 2023 order book data shows a strong investment by cruise lines in new vessels, with 44 new ships on order during the next five years, representing an investment of $62 billion since 2019.

Of these new ships, 25 will be LNG-powered and seven will be either methanol ready on delivery, or methanol capable, representing an investment in new engine technologies that will accelerate the maritime transition towards a future of low to zero carbon fuels.

In its 2023 Global Cruise Industry Environmental Technologies and Practices Report launched last month, CLIA details the concrete progress made by the sector in advancing its environmental and sustainability agenda.

Examples of progress cited include the number of alternative fuels pilot programmes and trials currently in place with cruise ships. In addition, an increasing number of vessels sailing and launching over the next five years will either use alternative fuels or will be able to incorporate zero carbon fuels when they become available. The 2023 report also demonstrates other significant investments cruise lines are making to reduce emissions at berth and at sea, such as shoreside electricity, which allows cruise ships to switch off engines for significant emissions reduction while in port.

More cruise lines are diversifying energy solutions by incorporating multi-fuel engines, trailing fuel cell technology, wind (including solid sail) technology, as well as photovoltaic solutions and battery storage for power shaving.

Efficiency tracking systems are now in use on 171 CLIA-member ships, representing 60 per cent of the global fleet, with many more systems planned.

In addition, cruise lines are pursuing fuel flexibility, investing today in propulsion technologies with conversion capabilities for the future, with 32 pilot projects and collaborative initiatives underway with sustainable fuel producers and engine companies.

President, and CEO, CLIA, Kelly Craighead said: “Cruise lines continue to transform the modern fleet to protect the oceans, air and destinations enjoyed by millions of passengers each year. Our data shows a step change in the uptake of new environmental technologies by our cruise line members. Already today cruise lines are building the ships of the future which will run on new, more sustainable engine technologies. The introduction of these new technologies and the many pilot programs and trials in place reveal how the cruise industry is an innovator and early adopter of technologies that are helping us sail to a more sustainable future.”

The availability of sustainable marine fuels remains essential to achieving the maritime industry’s decarbonisation goals and underscores the need for governments to support research efforts to accelerate development of these fuels so that they are safe, viable and available for use.

Chairman of CLIA Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Achieving our collective sustainability ambitions requires substantial investment from the public and private sector. The cruise industry, as part of the broader maritime sector, is doing its part by building the future of cruise into our ships today. We need governments to support research efforts, as well as provide a clear and stable regulatory landscape, so that fuel suppliers and others can do the critical work needed.”