Royal Caribbean’s fourth ‘Quantum’ class ship (actually called ‘Quantum-Plus’ class) will be named ‘Passion of the Seas’ and will be delivered by Meyer Werft, Germany, in 2019.
Their fifth ‘Quantum-Plus’ class ship, to be named ‘Pulse of the Seas’, will be deliver in 2020.
It has been strongly rumored that both ships will be LNG powered, in keeping with many newbuilds form other major cruise lines, such as Carnival and MSC.
Royal Caribbean’s next class of ship, currently shrouded in secrecy, know as ‘Project Icon’ will also be LNG powered.
Quantum Class: Anthem of the Seas review HERE
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.
In addition, using LNG can double the maintenance intervals, because the gas is so clean, ship owners may get 25,000 hours between maintenance intervals, maybe more, opposed to 12,500 hours with standard fuel.
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 the ferry, to save space in the hull (See image above).
However the renderings of Carnival’s newbuilds do not appear to have LNG storage tanks on the deck.
LNG cruise ship ‘concepts’ have been around a long time. The renderings below are a design by Wärtsilä, the marine engine company.
Interestingly the concept ship uses drive shaft technology, rather than pods. The LNG tans are located internally, below the funnel area.
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.