Royal Caribbean have just confirmed an order for two brand new cruise ships. The project will be called Icon, both 200,000 gross tonne ships will be built by Finnish shipbuilder, Meyer Turku, and the first vessel will be named Icon of the Seas.
The Miami-based cruise line has stated that the move marks a new era in ship-building and the beginning of a new generation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered cruise ships. It will introduce the use of fuel cell technology and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Royal have said they will begin testing fuel-cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017 whilst at the same time running progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum-class vessels being built in the next several years.
Harry Kulovaara, Royal’s chief of ship design, has stated that because of the long lead time, many Icon design elements are in the early stages. He added that the Icon ships would likely accommodate 5,000 passengers, but ‘details are still being worked out’.
‘With Icon class, we move further in the journey to take the smoke out of our smokestacks’, said Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive of Royal. ‘We are dedicated to innovation, continuous improvement and environment responsibility, and Icon gives us the opportunity to deliver against all three of these pillars’.
The switch to LNG provides further momentum for the technology, which has begun making significant inroads in the maritime industry. Fain continues: ‘As more ships are built for LNG, the number of ports that support it will grow’.
Icon is the first new ship class announced by Royal Caribbean since Celebrity Cruises new Edge class, which will debut in 2018. The company is also expanding its fleet with new Oasis and Quantum-class ships for Royal Caribbean International.
Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of RCI stated that new ‘guest experience elements’ of the new Icon class design will be revealed later in the development process. But for now, the order is contingent upon the completion of contractual conditions, including documentation and financing. The line has said that the final contracts are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
What is your reaction to the news? Are you excited about Royal’s new Icon class? Which existing class is your favourite at the moment? And what would you like to expect from these two new ships? Leave us your thoughts and comments!// END - About the Author ?>