Holiday habits are changing, and the cruise industry is changing with them. Prior to the pandemic, a report by ABTA said that more than 50 per cent of people considered the sustainability of their holiday before booking and the industry has made a lot of changes in the time since, from banning single-use plastics on board, to recycling. As CLIA members work towards a target date of 2050 to be carbon neutral, here are a couple of major changes that will help the industry to achieve that goal.
An increasing number of vessels are now running on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), which is the cleanest marine fuel currently available, virtually eliminating local air pollutant emissions. LNG also plays a significant role in climate change mitigation, potentially reducing CO2 emissions by up to 25 per cent compared to standard marine fuels. And with bio and synthetic forms of LNG becoming available in the future, it is the start of a pathway towards decarbonisation.
Explora Journeys recently added two luxury cruise ships to an existing order of four with the Italian ship builder Fincantieri, both of which make use of LNG and liquid hydrogren. The latter will power a six-megawatt fuel cell to produce emissions-free power for the vessels’ hotel operation, allowing them to have their engines turned off in port.
“Explora Journeys is building ships for tomorrow, utilising today’s latest technologies and being ready to adapt to alternative energy solutions as they become available,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of the cruise division of MSC Group.
“This marks another significant step forward in our goal as a business to reach net zero emissions by 2050 across all our cruise operation for the two brands and a further proof of our commitment to invest in the most advanced marine environmental technologies available to develop sustainable solutions for the future.”
Another innovation to allow ships to significantly reduce emissions is the development of shoreside power, where ships essentially plug in to a power source at the terminal allowing them to turn off their engines.
CLIA’s 39 members have agreed to build ships engineered to connect to shoreside power by 2035 and, to date, about 40 per cent of vessels have the technology, with others expected to be retrofitted.
The Port of Southampton is the first UK cruise terminal to have the technology, one of 22 around the world.
“Shoreside power plays a significant role in our sustainability goals at the port, and air quality is a key priority for our council in Southampton, too,” says ABP head of cruise Rebekah Keeler.
“Cruise lines remain at the forefront of the challenge to develop new environmental technologies which benefit the entire shipping industry,” says Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of CLIA.
“Our industry is committed to pursuing net carbon-neutral cruising by 2050, and CLIA and our ocean-going members are investing in new technologies and cleaner fuels now to realise this ambition.’