Royal Caribbean Testing Alternative Fuel on Two Cruise Ships

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As the cruise industry continues to seek sustainable alternatives to traditional fuels, Royal Caribbean Group is set to break new ground this summer with extended testing of biofuels on two of its ships, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex and Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas.

Both the Oasis-class cruise ship and the Edge-class cruise ship are sailing in Europe this summer, fast becoming a testing ground for cruise ships using biofuels and other alternative fuel sources. 

A New Milestone for the Industry

Royal Caribbean Group has announced it will be performing extensive testing of biofuels this summer on two of the group’s cruise ships.

This innovative test, set to take place in Europe, marks a significant step in the industry’s transition towards cleaner energy. Both the Celebrity Apex and the Symphony of the Seas will use sustainable biofuel to meet part of their fuel need. This move will provide valuable data on the potential of this cleaner fuel and its supply chain infrastructure. 

The three-month test will start with the Celebrity Apex departing from the Port of Rotterdam and Symphony of the Seas sailing from the Port of Barcelona.

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

The sustainable biofuel blend utilized in the trial, produced by purifying renewable raw materials like oils and fats, promises a reduction in the ships’ carbon emissions. According to Jason Liberty, President and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group, the company sees biofuels as a significant player in achieving decarbonization goals.

“Biofuels will play an increasingly important role in achieving not only our own, but the entire maritime sector’s decarbonization goals in the short and medium term. We take great pride in continuing to push our industry forward in exploring innovative fuel solutions that reduce carbon impact and preserve the vibrancy of the oceans we sail,” Liberty said.

Forward-thinking and Future-oriented

Following the completion of the trials, Royal Caribbean Group plans to scale up the use of biofuels across their fleet, particularly in their upcoming European summer sailings.

The intention is not just to enhance their ships’ ability to reduce emissions, but also to ensure sufficient availability of biofuel and the necessary infrastructure for its use.

Oasis Class Symphony of the Seas
Oasis Class Symphony of the Seas

“With our sights set on a bright and sustainable future, we are committed to collaboration and innovation to ensure we deliver great vacation experiences responsibly.”

”With the completion of the trials, our hope is to advance our ships’ ability to meaningfully reduce emissions and propel forward strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure there is sufficient availability of biofuel and infrastructures to make maritime energy transition a reality,” according to Liberty.

European Season Cruises

The 228,081 gross tons Symphony of the Seas, with a double occupancy of 5,518 and a maximum of 6,780 guests, will offer seven-day cruises out of Civitavecchia and Barcelona this summer. Ports of call include Naples, Italy; Palma De Mallorca, Spain; Marseille, France; and La Spezia, Italy.

The 130,818 gross tons Celebrity Apex is set to sail various European cruises, starting in Northern Europe, the UK, and Iceland, and later repositioning to the eastern Mediterranean.

Celebrity Apex Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

Following their summer in Europe, Symphony of the Seas and Celebrity Apex will reposition to the United States. On October 29, Symphony of the Seas embarks on a 14-night Transatlantic cruise, arriving in Fort Lauderdale on November 12. 

Celebrity Apex will depart from Barcelona on November 5 for a 13-night Transatlantic cruise, arriving in Fort Lauderdale on November 18.

This step towards using biofuels is part of Royal Caribbean Group’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. With the test of biofuels, the cruise industry makes a significant stride towards cleaner and more sustainable operations.

Another cruise lines that has announced biofuel testing includes Holland America Line, while several other cruise lines, such as AIDA and MSC Cruises have announced far-reaching sustainability efforts.

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