Keel laid for methanol-capable Celebrity Xcel

Florida-based cruise line Celebrity Cruises, part of Royal Caribbean Group, revealed that construction has begun on its fifth newbuild belonging to the Edge class of cruise ships.

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises/Royal Caribbean

The keel laying ceremony for Celebrity Xcel was held at Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, on June 13, 2024.

At the ceremony, Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, the parent company of Celebrity Cruises, Laura Hodges Bethge, President of Celebrity Cruises, and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique lowered the first 739-ton steel block for the new ship in the dry dock. Executives from the cruise company and the shipyard placed newly minted coins on the first piece of steel to bestow good luck on the ship during both the construction process and future sailings.

“Today, we not only mark the start of construction, but we are laying the foundation on which countless memories will be created,” Jason Liberty pointed out.

“Each new ship also represents an opportunity to advance our journey to net zero, and with Xcel, we are building our first methanol capable ship, which helps advance our transition to the energy platform of the future.”

“The Edge Series is the result of close collaboration between the Celebrity Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique teams,” Laurent Castaing said.

“We know and trust one another, and work in harmony to offer a unique and sustainable experience for passengers.”

Ordered in 2019, Celebrity Xcel will advance Royal Caribbean Group’s commitment to sustaining the planet with the first tri-fuel capable engine. The new engine will provide fuel flexibility, with the ability to use three types of fuel, including methanol, a first for the company, and represents an important steppingstone on the company’s journey to Destination Net Zero, its vision for net-zero emissions by 2050.

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Last year, Finnish technology company Wärtsilä was contracted to supply the engines for the fifth Edge-class unit.

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Celebrity Xcel will make its debut in November 2025 in the Caribbean, sailing the inaugural season from Fort Lauderdale, on seven-night itineraries alternating between the Bahamas, Mexico and the Cayman Islands, Puerto Plata, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.

In related news, Royal Caribbean Group recently joined the Methanol Institute, a global trade association for the methanol industry, as part of the group’s commitment to improving energy efficiency and using methanol as alternative marine fuel.