Leading the way to a more sustainable way of cruising

By Royal Caribbean Group

Like many cruise companies all over the globe, Royal Caribbean has been encouraged to reduce the industry's carbon footprint by both activists and government bodies. Thus, we are taking visible steps towards a cleaner and more environmentally friendly way of cruising.
There are common buzzwords like eco-friendly, sustainable and green that are often used by travel companies to promote their businesses as ethical or sustainable. However, there are fewer companies that visibly show their commitment to sustainability. Royal Caribbean is now closer than ever to making clean power at sea a reality.

Destination Net Zero
On October 28, 2021, The Royal Caribbean Group announced the most important destination in the company’s history- Destination Net Zero. This is a comprehensive decarbonization strategy to protect our oceans, reduce our environmental footprint and cut emissions to help limit global warming. The overall goal is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

As industry leaders we will rely on strong partnerships with governments, suppliers and environmental organisations to achieve this goal. Amongst these is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who partnered with Royal Caribbean in 2016 with the goal of ensuring the long-term health of the oceans and its sea creatures.
Another ambitious milestone in achieving this goal is the delivery of a net zero cruise ship by 2035.

Icon of the Seas, an innovative ship powered by Liquified Natural Gas
The construction of this revolutionary ship started in June 2021 and its launch is expected to take place in the fall of 2023. Icon of the Seas will be the cruise line’s first of three ships to be powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

“We made our commitment to making clean power at sea a reality and we’re excited to see construction underway on what will truly be a ship unlike any other,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Our decades of work in ocean conservation, energy efficiency and continuous improvement will be evident all throughout Icon.”

Liquified Natural Gas- the cleanest fossil fuel available
LNG goes a significant way in reducing emissions (releasing substantially reduced amounts of CO2, NOX and SO2 emissions into the atmosphere), and produces virtually no particulates or ash.

One of the few setbacks of LNG is its specific engine and fuel storage requirements. A completely new cruise ship needs to be designed with specific tanks that are able to store LNG and with an engine that is able to burn it correctly. This is due to the fact that LNG can’t be used in existing gasoline or diesel engines. Furthermore, as LNG has a lower fuel density compared to gas and diesel, cruise ships switching to LNG will need twice as much tank space.

This is why there will be two LNG fuel tanks on Icon. Each of these tanks is 27 meters long and weighs 307 tons, which is equivalent to the weight of 75 elephants!

With technological advances such as the use of LNG, air lubrication and advanced waste heat recovery systems (that turn waste into energy to power the ship), cruising can definitely become a more sustainable and environmentally friendly holiday option in the near future.

The most energy efficient ships are on their way and we can’t wait for you to see them! More details will follow, including itineraries and new onboard features. Stay tuned to learn more.

To learn more about Royal Caribbean Group’s sustainability efforts, visit https://sustainability.rclcorporate.com.