The latest LNG World Shipping review of LNG-fuelled ships worldwide, which breaks the fleet into four segments, shows that as of 1 May 2018 there were 41 such passenger ships in service, compared to 40 a year ago, and 42 on order (up from 32).
In terms of vessel numbers, the passenger ship total of in-service and on-order vessels is 24% greater than the next largest segment, tankers and bulk carriers.
As is the case for the other fleet segments, passenger ships ordered over the last 12 months have tended to be larger vessels. The number of cruise liners under construction has increased by 38% over the past 12 months, from 13 to 18 vessels.
AIDA Cruises and P&O Cruises have each added one vessel to their respective orderbooks, boosting the number of cruise liners that the Carnival Group has under construction to nine vessels. In addition, Disney Cruise Line has joined the LNG-fuelled cruise ship bandwagon, ordering three dual-fuel newbuildings.
The first of the three AIDA Cruises newbuildings, AIDAnova, will be delivered by the Papenburg yard of Germany’s Meyer Werft in autumn 2018 as the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ship. The 183,900 gt vessel will have 2,700 cabins and a crew of 1,500.
The engineroom modules for AIDAnova have been constructed separately, at Meyer’s Rostock facility. The units contain the entire engineroom for the ship, complete with four dual-fuel Caterpillar/MaK engines, the LNG bunker tanks and all related machinery systems and installations. The vessel’s bunker tank arrangement is comprised of three 1,200 m3 IMO Type C pressure vessel units.
AIDA Cruises already has experience of handling LNG. The engine complement on each of two recently built cruise ships, AIDAprime and AIDAperla, contains a single dual-fuel engine, although the vessels are not fitted with LNG bunker tanks.
The arrangement enables the two vessels to meet their hotel load requirements with LNG while berthed in port. LNG is delivered to the moored ships in road tankers, regasified and used in the shipboard dual-fuel engine.
To date LNG has been delivered in this manner to AIDAprime and AIDAperla in the ports of Southampton, Le Havre, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Marseilles, Civitavecchia and Funchal. An LNG regasification barge is employed to do the same job in Hamburg.
In contrast, AIDAnova will be fully powered by LNG and the large volume of LNG bunkers required by the ship will need to be transferred from a dedicated LNG bunker vessel in a ship-to-ship operation. Shell has been contracted to fuel the cruise ship in this way, as part of a larger agreement between the energy major and the Carnival Group to bunker a number of cruise ships in the fleet with LNG, both in Europe and North America.
Another recent cruise vessel contract of note is that by Ponant of France for the luxury polar expedition cruise ship Ponant Icebreaker. Fincantieri’s Vard shipyard will build the Polar Class 2, 30,000 gt ship, for delivery in 2021. The world’s first electric hybrid cruise vessel with icebreaker characteristics, Ponant Icebreaker will have Wärtsilä duel-fuel engines, ABB Azipod propulsion units, high-capacity batteries and a GTT membrane LNG bunker tank.