by Kevin Griffin of The Cruise People writing for cybercruises.com
Royal Caribbean Cruises has ordered two new 5,000-berth ships that will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). These 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.
The ships will be operated by Royal Caribbean International. The company said it signed a memorandum of understanding with shipbuilder Meyer Turku for the new class of vessel under the project name “Icon”, to be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024.
The company will also be introducing fuel cell technology on board, which it will be testing on an existing “Oasis” class ship in 2017, and will run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new “Quantum” class vessels being built in the next several years.
Jan Meyer, ceo of Meyer Werft and the Turku yard, was quoted as saying “Our partnership with RCL has created a number of groundbreaking ship classes, such as Oasis, Celebrity Solstice, Quantum, and Mein Schiff, and we are grateful that Royal Caribbean is again giving us the opportunity to partner with them on a new class of ships.”
According to a press release by Meyer Turku the ships will measure around 200,000 gross tons, producing a passenger a space ratio of about 40 tons per passenger. By comparison, Harmony of the Seas has 5,479 lower berths and measures 226,963 gross tons, producing a space ratio of 41.
This latest order means a substantial order book for Royal Caribbean. Two more “Harmony” class sisters, two “Quantum”Class sisters, two “Icon” class ships and four “Edge” ships for Celebrity Cruises, a total investment of $9 billion.