Fincantieri Starts Work on Its First LNG-Fueled Cruise Ship for TUI

Fincantieri first LNG fueled cruise ship
First steel was cut for the first LNG-fueled cruise to be built by Fincantieri (TUI)

Published Jun 23, 2022 8:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

Work is getting underway in Italy with the first steel cutting for the first LNG-powered cruise to be built by Fincantieri and the first for German cruise line TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff operation. Fincantieri is catching up with competitors Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku which have been delivering LNG-fueled cruise ships for the past four years and Chantiers de l’Atlantique which recently completed sea trials for its first LNG-fueled cruise ship construction while floating out its second LNG ship. 

Fincantieri said during the steel cutting ceremony at its sheet metal plant in San Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy that it plans to play an active role in building more sustainable ships and is researching further advancements. The cruise ship being built for the joint venture operation between TUI and Royal Caribbean Group is the first of two LNG cruise ships on order for Mein Schiff and is in addition to LNG fueled cruise ships that will also shortly start construction at Fincantieri for Carnival Corporation’s Princess Cruises brand.

“The investment in LPG-powered ships is an important milestone on the way to emission-free and climate-neutral cruise,” said Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises. ”LNG serves as a bridging technology here. In the future, we will use BIO LNG, which is generated either from biogenic sources or synthetically from renewable energy.”

Each of the two new cruise ships will be around 160,000 gross tons, which will also make them the largest in the TUI cruise fleet. The company plans to be operating a total of nine cruise ships when the second one is delivered from Fincantieri in 2026. The first LNG cruise ship is scheduled to enter service in 2024. Both cruise ships will be built at the Monfalcone, Italy shipyard.

"With the project of this new class of ships for TUI Cruises, Fincantieri is contributing to the ecological transformation in the cruise industry,” said Luigi Matarazzo, General Manager of Fincantieri's Merchant Ships Division. “In the first phase, a fuel with a low carbon footprint will be used to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the meantime, we are studying the possibility of running on biofuels, which will give further impetus to the decarbonization of the sector.”

TUI is pursuing a multi-level strategy to achieve its goal of operating the first climate-neutral cruises by 2030. Meier said the goal was for the two LNG-fueled ships to convert to bio or E-LNG in the future. In addition, they will be equipped with improved catalytic converters (compliant with the Euro 6 standard) and a shore power connection. According to the cruise line, this will ensure almost emission-free ship operation while in port which will be about 40 percent of the ship’s operating time. Additionally, the ships will be equipped with an even more efficient and innovative waste treatment system that can shred organic waste by means of thermal treatment.

At the same time, TUI also started construction at Meyer Turku on Mein Schiff 7 which is designed to be the first cruise ship capable of operating on methanol. At the beginning of construction on June 14, TUI announced that this ship would be capable of operating on bio-methanol when the fuel becomes available.

TUI Cruises already has one of the most modern and environmentally friendly cruise fleets in the world. The cruise line reports that its ships which are all relatively newly built were designed to increase energy efficiency and consume around 30 percent less fuel than ships of comparable size. In addition, they are equipped with a combined exhaust after-treatment system consisting of an exhaust gas washer (scrubbers) and catalytic converters.