Royal Caribbean orders new Icon Class of 5,000 pax LNG fueled ships

#1
133 Posts
Joined May 2004
From a Royal Caribbean Press Release:

The newest class of ships from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and introduce the use of fuel cell technology, ushering in a new era of shipbuilding that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The ships will join the fleet of Royal Caribbean International, an industry leader in innovation and breakthrough ship design.

RCL said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with shipbuilder Meyer Turku for the new class of vessel under the project name "Icon." The vessels will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024. In the meantime, the company said, it will begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, and will also run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum class vessels being built in the next several years.

Royal Caribbean is already known for making steady progress on energy efficiency and reduced emissions through such technologies as air lubrication, which sends billions of microscopic bubbles along the hull of a ship to reduce friction, and AEP scrubbers, which clean exhaust gases before they leave the ship. Use of the new technologies will result in much cleaner emissions, as they produce no sulfur and significantly reduce the production of nitrogen oxides and particulates.

"With Icon class, we move further in the journey to take the smoke out of our smokestacks," said Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. "We are dedicated to innovation, continuous improvement, and environmental responsibility, and Icon gives us the opportunity to deliver against all three of these pillars."

"Our guests expect us to push every envelope we can," said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International. "And on this new class of ship, we began by challenging ourselves to find a new approach to power and propulsion that is safe, reliable, and more energy-efficient than ever before." Bayley added that exciting and innovative new guest experience elements of the Icon class design will be revealed later in the development process.

"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," said Jan Meyer, the CEO of Meyer Turku.

The switch to LNG provides further momentum for the technology, which has begun making significant inroads in the maritime industry. "Increasing the commitment to LNG makes it easier for suppliers to make their own infrastructure commitments," said Fain. "As more ships are built for LNG, the number of ports that support it will grow." The Icon 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 introduction of fuel cells represents another dramatic step forward for the maritime industry, which has only made limited experiments using the technology. "We believe fuel cells offer very interesting design possibilities," said Harri Kulovaara, RCL's chief of ship design. "As the technology becomes smaller and more efficient, fuel cells become more viable in a significant way to power the ship's hotel functions. We will begin testing those possibilities as soon as we can, and look to maximize their use when Icon class debuts."

Kulovaara said RCL had been eyeing fuel cells for nearly a decade, and believes the technology is now at a stage of development that justifies investment. "There is a long lead time for Icon class, and we will use that time to work with Meyer Turku to adapt fuel cell technology for maritime use." Kulovaara said that additional regulatory standards would also need to be developed for the technology.

Because of the long lead time, Kulovaara said that many Icon design elements are in early stages. The Icon ships would likely accommodate approximately 5,000 passengers, he said, but details are still being worked out.

Icon is the first new ship class announced by RCL since Celebrity Cruises' new Edge class, which debuts in 2018. The company is also expanding its fleet with new Oasis- and Quantum-class ships for Royal Caribbean International. Fain said the new ships are in line with RCL's strategy of moderate capacity growth.

This order is contingent upon the completion of contractual conditions, including documentation and financing. Final contracts are expected to be completed by year end. Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 are $2.4 billion, $0.5 billion, $2.6 billion, $1.5 billion and $2.0 billion, respectively. Capacity increases for 2016 through 2020 remain unchanged and do not include potential ship sales or additions that the company may elect to make in the future.
#2
Ontario
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So much for a lot of people hopes that they would go smaller (Radience class size) for their next class of ships. This looks to replace Quantum as the second largest class.
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#4
va.
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Joined Sep 2000
Excellent news. CCL is already doing this
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#5
No VA
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Joined Jan 2014
Sounds just like the ship Carnival announced recently and to be built at the same yard - a first?.

http://www.cruisehive.com/2-new-mega...ise-line/13407

Aida, P&O, and MSC all have LNG ships in the works. Seems like the car industry where once Prius started and had some success, everyone had to build a hybrid, regardless if it made economic sense.
#6
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Originally posted by Ourusualbeach
So much for a lot of people hopes that they would go smaller (Radience class size) for their next class of ships. This looks to replace Quantum as the second largest class.
Yes, surprised RCI didn't go for an Edge class derivative. It will be weird to think that Voayger class could be the smallest ship in the RCI fleet by the time Icon comes out.
#7
Ontario
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Joined Mar 2013
Originally posted by Biker19
Yes, surprised RCI didn't go for an Edge class derivative. It will be weird to think that Voayger class could be the smallest ship in the RCI fleet by the time Icon comes out.
Hadn't even thought of get but it certainly is a possibility unless they hang onto a couple Vision class ships for the 3/4 day cruises and or Cuba.

If the 5000 pax is referring to double occupancy then Icon will be more like a baby O in size.
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#8
Central Illinois
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Originally posted by Biker19
Yes, surprised RCI didn't go for an Edge class derivative. It will be weird to think that Voayger class could be the smallest ship in the RCI fleet by the time Icon comes out.
That would be sad.
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#9
Tampa, FL
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Originally posted by Biker19
Yes, surprised RCI didn't go for an Edge class derivative. It will be weird to think that Voayger class could be the smallest ship in the RCI fleet by the time Icon comes out.
I hope not. That would mean no more RC out of Tampa unless the Skyway was rebuilt...ie not going to happen.
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#11
Pittsburgh pa
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Originally posted by cruisinfromtampa
I hope not. That would mean no more RC out of Tampa unless the Skyway was rebuilt...ie not going to happen.
Baltimore too...unless they make ships longer and wider instead if taller
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#14
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Originally posted by cruisinfromtampa
I hope not. That would mean no more RC out of Tampa unless the Skyway was rebuilt...ie not going to happen.
The youngest Radiance class ship will be 18 years old by the time Icon 1 comes out. Other than Majesty and Empress, which seem to be one offs for special sailings, RCI doesn't usually keep anything over 20 years old. That is changing a bit with Grandeur (will be oldest ship (20) after Legend is sold, other than above) but I don't see any Vision class in the fleet by the time of Icon 1.
#15
Pittsburgh pa
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Joined Jul 2015
Originally posted by Biker19
The youngest Radiance class ship will be 18 years old by the time Icon 1 comes out. Other than Majesty and Empress, which seem to be one offs for special sailings, RCI doesn't usually keep anything over 20 years old. That is changing a bit with Grandeur (will be oldest ship (20) after Legend is sold, other than above) but I don't see any Vision class in the fleet by the time of Icon 1.
They are signed with the port of Baltimore to have the Grandeur home port there till 2020...and then who knows what will happen with grandeur or the port of baltimore
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#16
UK
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Joined Apr 2015
This is great news about LNG & fuel cells. I always feel a bit guilty when I see the black smoke billowing out of the smoke stack.

As for the remaining ships in the fleet, I have a feeling RCI will keep the Radiance class a bit longer than perhaps the Sovereign and Vision class ships - it's a good size vessel passenger number wise (which is where the decision is really made), they've got many of the amenities we all expect, they've got reasonably low running costs, and they'll need to keep ahold of some ships that can navigate various canals and smaller waterways too.
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#17
Central Illinois
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Originally posted by cruisinfromtampa
I hope not. That would mean no more RC out of Tampa unless the Skyway was rebuilt...ie not going to happen.
Maybe they will built a port outside the Skyway, around Sarasota or St. Pete.
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#18
Tampa, FL
469 Posts
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Originally posted by clarea
Maybe they will built a port outside the Skyway, around Sarasota or St. Pete.
They've talked about building a new terminal on the St. Pete side of the bridge, but I don't think it's feasible. Time will tell, of course.
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#19
Las Vegas
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Joined Aug 2016
Originally posted by Biker19
By 2022, that will likely happen, LNG or not.
Agreed. By 2022, it is almost certain that the UK, Canada, and most US (coastal) states will prohibit any and all smoking onboard (by passengers or crew) for cruises visiting their ports.
#20
Seattle.WA.USA
14,767 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Originally posted by Biker19
Yes, surprised RCI didn't go for an Edge class derivative. It will be weird to think that Voayger class could be the smallest ship in the RCI fleet by the time Icon comes out.
The Voyager and Radiance Classes are about the same age as they were built simultaneously. I would really hate to see the Radiance class leave the fleet without something around that size available.
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