LNG – The Future For Cruise Ships?

July 26, 2016
Costa's 180,000gt LNG ship

Costa’s 180,000gt LNG ship

June 2015: The Carnival Corporation announced that they have finalized a multi-billion dollar contract to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the industry.

This is part of a larger order with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri for nine new ship orders between 2019 and 2022.

The four new ships will also feature a new “green cruising” design. The ships will be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). They will use LNG in dual-powered hybrid engines to power the ship both in port and on the open sea. LNG will be stored on-board and used to generate 100 percent power at sea. Using LNG to power the ships in port and at sea will eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulphur oxides.

April 2016: The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) SC Cruises has announced today that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with STX France for the construction of up to four* new LNG-powered cruise ships that will be more than 200,000 tons. The ships will be able to carry 5,400 passengers at double occupancy. (*Two firm orders, two options.)

The four ships, the first one of which will be delivered in 2022, will be based on a new advanced next-generation prototype and will form what will be known as the “World Class” of MSC Cruises’ ships.

What is LNG?

Using LNG to power ships is not a completely new idea. However to date, LNG use has been restricted to smaller vessels operating rather short runs. This is due to the large size of fuel tanks required and the few bunkering facilities available. However it is a new idea for cruise ships and certainly for a megaship design.

LNG is superior to pipeline gas in quality. This is because LNG is purer, has more methane as well as other energy content, and also because of its chemical structure since it has a stable composition. Its combustion generates no unburned residues, particulates or soot, and releases less greenhouse gas than traditional marine gas oil (MGO). Future maritime emissions regulations, especially in sensitive environments are likely to demand this. Perhaps the most appealing aspect about LNG is that under the right operating conditions it can reduce fuel costs.

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Here is an interesting example: VIKING GRACE is a European passenger ferry (2013, 57,000gt, STX, Finland) powered by LNG. Gas take up more space than fuel-oil. In fact six times more space. Therefore large tanks for the gas are located on deck, of then ferry, to save space in the hull (See image above). Will the Carnival newbuilds mimic this feature, somehow? Carnival have already said “making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces”. Maybe this means storing the LNG tanks on deck/upper superstructure, freeing up internal space traditionally used for fuel storage, for passengers. Just a guess!

(Source unknown)

(Source unknown)

LNG cruise ship ‘concepts’ have been around a long time. The renderings below are a design by Wärtsilä, the marine engine company.

(Image courtesy of Wärtsilä)

(Image courtesy of Wärtsilä)

Interestingly the concept ship uses drive shaft technology, rather than pods. The LNG tans are located internally, below the funnel area.


( Wärtsilä)

The engines on-board the new Carnival ships will not exclusively be powered by LNG, but will be ‘dual fuel’ being capable of burring both LNG and liquid fuel, and combinations of both at the same time. burning exclusively LNG could be saved for environmentally sensitive areas. This would reduce the fuel storage space required.


Crystal Symphony @ Tilbury

July 24, 2016

Crystal Symphony (Crystal Cruises) was berthed at Tilbury cruise terminal yesterday (23rd July 2016). She’s did a turn-around, bound for Guernsey, the Channel islands.

To see a ‘luxury’ ship Tilbury is quite rare. Crystal use the Tilbury terminal only very occasionally.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages ‘budget’ fleet are the regulars. Occasionally Fred Olsen vessel’s also make an appearance.

Symphony at 51,044 gross tons, must be one of the biggest ships to use the terminal.

She was built in 1992 and carries just 922 passengers, hence the ‘luxury’ tag.

She is the sister-ship of Crystal Serenity and Crystal Harmony.


Costa Enter Indian Market

July 23, 2016
(Courtesy Costa)

(Courtesy Costa)

Costa Cruises will enter the Indian market later this year with the neoClassica.

For the first time, Indians can look forward to embarking from Mumbai and going to enchanting destinations within India such as Goa and Cochin and also to the very popular Maldives and Colombo.

neoClassica will perform a series of weekly sailings from 16th Dec 2016 – 18th March 2017.


Equinox Pulled From Europe

July 21, 2016
Equinox at Southampton

Equinox at Southampton

Celebrity Cruises has pulled the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Equinox out of the Western Mediterranean for the 2017 summer, according to a company statement.
Instead, the ship will sail a variety of itineraries from Miami.

Equinox was part of a five-ship European deployment for Celebrity in 2017, including the Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Silhouette. However these ships will remain operating in European.


Malcolm says: Turmoil in European (Nice, Istanbul etc.) is causing a loss of confidence in European cruises. Some commentators suggest that this especially applies to American cruise passengers, who they have labelled ‘nervous travellers’.

Equinox Review HERE

Southwold Welcomes Maiden Visit of Saga Pearl II

July 20, 2016

(Courtney Mike Page)

Sunbathers and beach goers observed a rare, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime sight on the horizon at the Suffolk seaside on the 19th July 2016.

n what’s thought to be a first for the town of Southwold, a luxury cruise ship dropped anchor offshore as part of a 12-night cruise around the British Isles.

See East Anglian Daily Time article HERE

Malcom says: The charming Saga Pearl II is the sister of CMV’s Astor:

Astor Review HERE

Mein Schiff 5 Christened

July 18, 2016
(Courtesy TUI)

(Courtesy TUI)

TUI Cruises’ new ship ‘Mein Schiff 5′(My Ship 5) was christened in Travemünde in the German city of Lübeck, on Friday July 15. The Godmother was Lena Meyer-Landrut, the German singer and songwriter.

Built by Meyer Turku, in Finland, the $625 million, 99,000 gross ton, 2,500-passenger Mein Schiff 5, follows two sister ships, Mein Schiff 3 and 4.

TUI Cruises has three more ships on order for delivery in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Mein Schiff 5 will spend the summer sailing in the Baltic and to Norway before repositioning to the Caribbean for the winter season.


Hurtigruten: Four New Explorer Ships

July 17, 2016

Norwegian company, Hurtigruten has signed a letter of intent for up to four new “explorer ships”. This is the largest investment they have made in their 123 year history.

The first of four possible expedition ships is scheduled for delivery in summer 2018 and the second in summer 2019.

The ships are being designed by Rolls-Royce with the assistance Espen Oino, the Norwegian ship designer. They will have the capacity for around 600 passengers, and will feature technology to reduce emissions.


No “New Direction” for Fred Olsen – at least, not yet

July 16, 2016

I’m always happy to steal a little bit from Tom’s excellent Cruise blog:

Tom's Cruise Blog

we have not yet made the full announcement, and we do not have a time scale for doing so at the current time

Just over a month ago I posted about an email I’d received from Fred. Olsen’s marketing department. It read:-

Hi All,

We just wanted to share with you the exciting news that Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is making a significant investment across its fleet and moving in a different direction…

More details to follow on Monday 13th June 2016, so save a space!

Then on 13 June (which was supposed to be the big day) I received another email:

Thanks for all your interest in our ‘new investment’ e-mail last Friday.

Unfortunately, we are just finalising some last-minute details and will have to keep you in suspense a little while longer…

Apologies for the delay and any inconvenience caused, but rest assured that you will…

View original post 163 more words

Seven Seas Explorer, Christened

July 15, 2016

Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco, Godmother of Seven Seas Explorer, has officially christened the newest addition to the Regent Seven Seas fleet.

Her Serene Highness delivered the traditional maritime blessing before the bottle of champagne broke against the ship’s hull, officially christening the vessel, in Monte Carlo.

(Regent Seven Seas)

The Costa Diadema Welcomes Aboard Pepper The Robot

July 14, 2016

(Courtesy Aldebaran)

The Costa Diadema has welcomed aboard Pepper, a humanoid robot programmed to interact with the ship’s guests.

The robot, a product of Japanese company SoftBank Robotics, speaks English, Italian and French. Costa announced its partnership with SoftBank last December.

The ideas is that Pepper will both assist and delight passengers on the ships of Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises ships.


Costa Diadema (Courtesy Costa)

‘With an emotional robot on board our cruise ships we are once again continuing our tradition of innovation. For us, this is an important step towards a digital future for our brands. I am confident that our guests will love Pepper,’ Costa Group CEO Michael Thamm said.

The use of Pepper robots is part of an exclusive agreement, worth more than a million euros, Costa signed with the French company Aldebaran.

It is expected that pepper will be extended fleet-wide to the Costa and AIDA brands.

(Costa Group)

Malcolm says: RCI have a lot to answer for by introducing bionic bartenders to their Quantum class ships (see video below). Allure also has them.

It’s a ‘fun’ idea, but I bet a high-tech robot costs more to buy and operate than a human on a modest wage. A gimmick or not – please vote below:



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