Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

Photo: Royal Caribbean Group so much more space – it’s less energy per volume but it provides more energy on a per molecule basis. The fuel itself is less carbon dense and more energy efficient which makes up the difference in volume, so it is a step in the right direction.” Icon of the Seas can easily accommodate these larger LNG tanks as it is 10 per cent larger than Royal Caribbean International’s 226,838gt Oasis-class vessels, which are some of the biggest cruise ships in the world. However, the LNG tanks are not the reason for the ship’s increased size, and nor is the desire for greater economies of scale. “The size was based on the experiences we wanted to bring to the ship,” says Liberty, noting that it will be able to accommodate 7,600 guests and 2,350 crew, compared with 6,771 and 2,109 respectively on the Oasis vessels. “There is a lot more public space and less lower berths, but more people in the staterooms.” LNG is just one of many technologies RCG is exploring to help reduce the environmental footprint of its ships. One such initiative is fuel cell technology; a project that has proven to be especially challenging within the Icon timeframe but one that RCG believes is promising for future newbuilds as it pursues ways to generate power onboard and transition to the energy platform of the future. Fuel cells are the “ultimate challenge”, according to Rose. “We know they aren’t the singular answer, but it will help us bridge the gap of understanding three main things: how to use fuel cell technology, the scale of it, and how you can build it into the hydrolisation of the vessel itself. There was never a time when fuel cells would be brought in and take over; they are simply part of the equation. You have to take small steps to make big strides.” RCG has invested more in boosting energy efficiency on Icon of the Seas than “ It took us over 10 years to make it possible to have LNG on a cruise ship” Tim Meyer Meyer Turku Icon of the Seas successfully sailed on the open ocean for the first time in June 2023 while completing its preliminary sea trials in Turku, Finland 45