First Large Methanol-Ready Cruise Ship Begins Construction in Finland

first methanol-ready cruise ship
Mein Schiff 7 will be a sister ship to Mein Schiff 1 and 2 built in Turku (TUI Cruises)

Published Jun 14, 2022 6:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

Construction began today in Turku, Finland on the first large cruise ship designed to be methanol-ready for future conversion to what is considered one of the next-generation fuels for the industry. Being built for Germany’s TUI Cruises, the ship marks a milestone for the cruise industry and for its builder Meyer Turku, which has also been a pioneer in large LNG-fueled cruise ships. To date, only a handful of vessels in the world are capable of running on methanol, while Maersk and several others in container shipping have been leading the industry with orders for methanol-fueled ships.

TUI and Meyer Turku announced during the first steel cutting ceremony today at the Finnish shipyard that the new build, Mein Schiff 7, has adapted its design to become the first methanol-ready cruise ship. The 111,500 gross ton cruise ship, which is due to enter service in 2024, will be a sister to two earlier builds at Meyer Turku delivered in 2018 and 2019. No details were provided on the alterations that will be made in the propulsion systems to accommodate the future fuel but they noted that it would be able to operate on methanol or bio-methanol when the fuel becomes available.

“The decision to prepare Mein Schiff 7 for a methanol drive is an important investment in the future for us,” said Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, a joint venture between Germany’s TUI Group and the Royal Caribbean Group. “Mein Schiff 7 will take us forward in our work for more environmentally friendly cruise tourism. The ship will be built so that it can be used with methanol. In addition, the ship's operations in the port are almost emission-free. Mein Schiff 7 is an important milestone in our efforts to provide the first climate-neutral cruises by 2030.”

According to the cruise line, essential elements of the Mein Schiff concept, including a high proportion of outside and balcony cabins, a large selection of restaurants and bars, spacious outdoor areas, and the spa and sports areas with a pool that is over 90 feet long will remain unchanged on the new cruise ship. It will be 1,035 feet in length with accommodations for 2,894 passengers (double occupancy) with a crew of approximately 1,000.

“We have again been focusing on optimizing the design in regards to energy efficiency and technologies to increase sustainability to make this ship the finest in the entire series," comments Tim Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.

The cruise ship will initially be operated with lower-emission marine diesel and is being equipped with catalytic converters and a shore power connection. According to TUI, this ensures almost zero-emission ship operation while the ship is in port, which will be about 40 percent of its operating time. To achieve even more efficient waste processing, Mein Schiff 7 will also be equipped with a system that can shred organic waste through thermal treatment and prepare it for further use on land. 

Meyer Turku has also been pioneering in building LNG-fueled cruise ships. They delivered the Costa Smeralda in 2019 and since then the Mardi Gras and Costa Toscana. The Carnival Celebration is currently nearing completion and the yard is building the Icon of the Seas which will become Royal Caribbean International’s first LNG-fueled cruise ship. Two sister ships in the Icon class are due for delivery in 2024 and 2025. 

The Mein Schiff 7 is the last of the Mein Schiff cruise ships currently on order from the Finnish yard. Meyer has been building cruise ships for TUI for the past decade. The cruise line also has two LNG-fueled cruise ships currently on order from Fincantieri in Italy due for delivery by 2026.