Largest Cruise Ship Embarks On Maiden Voyage From Miami
Largest cruise ship embarks on maiden voyage from Miami amidst concerns about its methane emissions. Named the Icon of the Seas, it stretches 1,200 feet long with 20 decks, seven swimming pools, over 40 restaurants, and a capacity for 7,600 passengers.Velma BattleJan 28, 202426 Shares13035 Views
Largest cruise ship embarks on maiden voyage from Miamiamidst concerns about its methane emissions. Named the Icon of the Seas, it stretches 1,200 feet long with 20 decks, seven swimming pools, over 40 restaurants, and a capacity for 7,600 passengers.
Constructed at a shipyard in Turku, Finland, the Bahamas-registered vessel incurred a cost of approximately $2 billion (£1.6 billion). The ship commenced its seven-day journey through the Caribbean.
- The Icon of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, boasts impressive dimensions, weighing 250,800 tonnes and stretching nearly 365 meters (1,198 ft) in length. This makes it approximately five times larger than the Titanic. Royal Caribbean International invested a substantial €1.65 billion ($1.79 billion; £1.41 billion) in the construction and acquisition of this monumental vessel.
- Tickets for voyages aboard the Icon of the Seas vary, with prices ranging from $1,723 to $2,639 per person, as indicated on Royal Caribbean's website. For a high-season cruise around Christmas, the cost escalates to $5,124 per person.
- Embarking on its maiden voyage, the ship will make stops in Saint Kitts and Nevis, as well as Charlotte Amalie in the US Virgin Islands.
Critics, however, have voiced environmental apprehensions regarding the vessel. Despite being powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), which burns cleaner than traditional marine fuels, the ship is still expected to release harmful methane into the atmosphere. This concern arises from the fact that LNG carries a higher risk of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.
“It’s a step in the wrong direction,” Bryan Comer, director of the marine programme at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), told Reuters news agency.
“We would estimate that using LNG as a marine fuel emits over 120 per cent more life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than marine gas oil,” he said.
Recently, the ICCT released a report challenging the assumed methane emissions from LNG-fueled ships, suggesting they are higher than previously thought. Given methane's potency in trapping heat in the atmosphere, reducing these emissions is deemed critical for mitigating global warming.
Royal Caribbean, the owner of the Icon of the Seas, asserts that the vessel exceeds energy efficiency standards set by the International Maritime Organization for contemporary ships by 24%. Moreover, the company aims to introduce a net-zero emissions ship by 2035.
Amidst this, the cruise industry, a rapidly expanding sector of tourism, is witnessing a shift towards LNG-powered vessels. According to the Cruise Line International Association, 63% of the 54 ships scheduled for construction between January 2024 and December 2028 will run on LNG. Currently, only six percent of the 300 active cruise ships use LNG as fuel.
During Thursday's ceremony, Lionel Messi, Argentina's World Cup-winning captain, and current player for Inter Miami, participated in the ship's naming event. He placed a football on a specially designed stand, initiating the traditional "good luck" gesture of breaking a champagne bottle against the vessel's bow.