Cruise company executives discuss decarbonisation challenges at CLIA Cruise Week Europe

Leaders of Carnival Corporation, MSC Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings express frustration at lack of international cooperation 

Cruise company executives discuss decarbonisation challenges at CLIA Cruise Week Europe


(From left) Pierfrancesco Vago, Harry Sommer and Josh Weinstein at CLIA Cruise Week Europe in Genoa, Italy

By Alex Smith |

Leading cruise line executives from Carnival Corporation, MSC Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings have taken part in a keynote panel discussion at CLIA Cruise Week Europe in Genoa, Italy, discussing the challenges of decarbonising the cruise industry. 

Panellists for the ‘From Aspiration to Reality – for a Successful Decarbonisation of the Cruise Industry’ discussion included Pierfrancesco Vago, chairman of MSC Group’s cruise division; Josh Weinstein, president, CEO and chief climate officer of Carnival Corporation; and Harry Sommer, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. Also taking part were Marina Hadjimanolis, shipping deputy minister to the president of the Republic of Cyprus; Edoardo Rixi, deputy minister of Italy’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport; and Einar Vik Aarset, director general of the Norwegian Coastal Administration. 

During the discussion, the cruise executives expressed frustration at a lack of engagement from European governments and international bodies in the efforts to decarbonise cruising. 

“We haven’t seen great support from some countries around Europe, and we call on them not to look at us as the enemy, but as partners,” said Sommer. “We are willing to do our fair share, by investing tens of millions of dollars in innovation, but we need that same commitment from countries, the International Maritime Organization and the EU Commission. I call on them to engage with us constructively; we want to work with them hand in hand to achieve a decarbonised future.” 

Weinstein agreed with Sommer, highlighting regulation as a particular area of difficulty for Carnival Corporation.  

“We do need to be pushed towards sustainability, as does society in general,” said Weinstein. “But what I do find frustrating is the amount of regulation that’s coming at us with various end points that people are looking for. It’s incredibly difficult for a corporation to plan when we’re being told to do something like use six per cent biofuel, when there simply isn’t enough biofuel in the world to achieve that at the moment. I think if regulation focused on the output, of reduced emissions overall, there would be more opportunities for innovation.” 

MSC Group’s Vago echoed the sentiments of Sommer and Weinstein, suggesting a lack of support from international bodies was holding back sustainability efforts in the industry.  

“If we compare the treatment of the maritime industry to the aviation industry, there is a significant deviation,” said Vago. “One of our issues is the availability of more sustainable fuels. In the aviation industry, they can find more expensive new fuels, and Brussels will pay the difference. The maritime industry is told ‘you’re on your own.’ My request to the European Union is to sit with us, listen to us about what the problem is, and let’s instead spend the billions of taxes that we pay towards the necessary research and development to ensure we have the fuel of tomorrow.” 

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