Royal Caribbean turns to LNG and fuel cells for new Icon-class vessels

Royal Caribbean Cruises signed a memorandum of understanding with Meyer Turku for two Icon class vessels that will be fueled by liquefied natural gas and feature fuel cell technology. 

The two vessels are scheduled for delivery in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024, while the company will start testing the fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, according to a statement issued on Tuesday.

Meyer Turku said in its statement that the approximately 200,000 gross ton large ships will use fuel cells for power generation.

Royal Caribbean Cruises said that it will “run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum class vessels being built in the next several years.”

Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, noted that the switch to LNG makes it easier to suppliers to make infrastructure commitments, as the growing number of LNG-fueled vessels urges growth in ports supporting its use.

The Icon ships 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, Royal Caribbean Cruises said.

The vessels are most likely to accommodate approximately 5,000 passengers, and final contracts for the vessels are expected to be completed by year end.