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More Cruise Lines Move Toward Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Voyages

by Susan B. Barnes

Sep 25, 2023

PHOTO:
© CELEBRITY CRUISES

September 2023

Less than five years ago the world’s first hybrid cruise ship, Hurtigruten ExpeditionsMS Roald Amundsen, set sail for Antarctica in November 2019 with 450 passengers. The battery-hybrid-powered ship, named for the first man to cross the continent and reach the South Pole, was built specifically for voyages in polar waters. Its battery-hybrid power reduces the ship’s consumption and CO2 emissions by 20 percent compared to equally sized ships.

Currently, Hurtigruten Expeditions boasts three battery-hybrid ships in its seven-ship fleet. In addition to MS Roald Amundsen in Antarctica, the carbon-neutral MS Santa Cruz II sails in the Galápagos, and MS Fridtjof Nansen sails to expedition-ripe locations around the world.

Not content to rest on its laurels and as part of its Sea Zero project, Hurtigruten Group recently unveiled Hurtigruten Norway’s plans for its first zero-emission cruise ship, slated to sail in 2030. The company plans to eventually transform its entire fleet into zero-emission vessels.

Following Hurtigruten’s lead, Silversea Cruises made its first foray into the world of hybrid ships with the 728-guest Silver Nova, which set sail in the Mediterranean in August. The first of the luxury cruise line’s Nova-class ships using hybrid technology and fuel cells, Silver Nova is expected to achieve a cruise industry first: emission-free operation in port by using fuel cells and batteries, with a 40 percent overall reduction in its greenhouse gas emission per double suite when compared to its previous class of ships.

Silver Nova sails in the Caribbean and Central and South America this winter before traveling up the West Coast to spend summer 2024 in Alaska. In September 2024 she’ll make a transoceanic voyage to Asia and then on to Australia and New Zealand.

Celebrity Cruises introduced its Edge series of ships in 2018, with sustainability goals to make the class of ships the most energy-efficient large vessels at sea. Ascent is the newest ship in the series, debuting in December, and will feature a new engine model that provides fuel flexibility — the option to use three types of fuel, including methanol.

“By incorporating tri-fueled engines, we are ensuring that as alternative, low-carbon-based solutions become more viable, our ships will be ready to adapt and drive the industry forward to a more sustainable and net-zero emissions future,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group, in a press release.

As maritime technology continues to improve, we as travelers can likely expect more options when it comes to hybrid and, in turn, more sustainable and eco-friendly sailings.

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