Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku speaking at the announcement
Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCCL) has ordered two new cruise ships from Meyer Turku, which will be powered by LNG and fuel cell technology.
Codenamed ‘Icon’, the two newbuilds will join the Royal Caribbean International fleet in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024. The Icon ships are likely accommodate around 5,000 passengers, and are the first new ship class to be announced by RCL since Celebrity Cruises' Edge class, which will debut in 2018.
Both vessels are expected to run primarily on LNG, but will also be able to run on distillate fuel to accommodate occasional itineraries that call on ports without LNG infrastructure. This will eliminate sulphur emissions and significantly reduce the production of nitrogen oxides and particulates.
“With Icon class, we move further in the journey to take the smoke out of our smokestacks,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of RCCL. “We are dedicated to innovation, continuous improvement, and environmental responsibility, and Icon gives us the opportunity to deliver against all three of these pillars.”
RCL, which has been considering fuel cells for nearly a decade, will work with Meyer Turku to adapt the technology for maritime use and help to establish related regulatory standards.
The company will begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017. This will be followed by progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum-class vessels being built in the next several years.
“We believe fuel cells offer very interesting design possibilities,” said Harri Kulovaara, RCL's chief of ship design. “As the technology becomes smaller and more efficient, fuel cells become more viable in a significant way to power the ship's hotel functions. We will begin testing those possibilities as soon as we can, and look to maximise their use when Icon class debuts."
RCL will reveal details about the ship’s interiors and guest experience elements later in the development process.
"Our partnership with RCL has created a number of groundbreaking ship classes, such as Oasis, Celebrity Solstice, Quantum, and Mein Schiff, and we are grateful that Royal Caribbean is again giving us the opportunity to partner with the company on a new class of ships," said Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.