Silversea Cruises’ LNG-powered vessels to feature fuel cells and batteries

Silversea Cruises, an ultra-luxury brand of Royal Caribbean Group, said its new LNG-powered ships would feature fuel cells as well as batteries, in what could be a first for the cruise industry.

The vessels are part of “Project Evolution” developed in cooperation with Germany’s Meyer Werft, Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

According to the statement, the cruise industry’s “first hybrid-powered ship” would debut in summer 2023.

The new class of ships will operate using a trio of power sources including a fuel cell system, battery technology, and dual-fuel engines using LNG as the main fuel.

“This hybrid solution, using fuel cell technology, allows the ship to be free of local emissions while at port — another industry first,” the statement said.

The new hybrid technology not only helps in port, but also allows “Project Evolution” to achieve a 40 percent overall reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions per double occupancy when compared to the brand’s previous class of ships, the statement said.

In addition, the ship class would achieve an Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) rating approximately 25 percent better than applicable International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements, it said.

Royal Caribbean did not reveal any additional information regarding the vessels.

“We first announced our fuel cell ambitions several years ago. Through dedication and perseverance, we are now proud to introduce the first ship with large-scale fuel cell technology capable of achieving emission-free port operations,” Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean, said.

Silversea Cruises' LNG-powered vessels to feature fuel cells and batteries
Image: Royal Caribbean

LNG-powered fleet in the making

Monaco-based Silversea Cruises has two Evolution-class ships on order at Meyer Werft, according to the shipbuilder.

Besides these vessels, Finland’s Meyer Turku yard, part of Meyer Werft, has earlier this year started building the first out of three LNG-powered cruise ships for Royal Caribbean International.

The US-based cruise line said then the Icon of the Seas would debut in fall 2023.

Moreover, the vessel will have a tonnage of about 200,000 GT and enough room for about 5,600 passengers.

LNG and the ship’s additional “environmentally friendly” applications, such as shore power connection, would boost energy efficiencies and reduce carbon footprint, Royal Caribbean said.

The firm expects to take delivery of the other two Icon Class LNG-powered vessels in 2025 and 2026, respectfully.

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