Royal Caribbean Ship Marks Key Sustainability Milestone

Royal Caribbean International’s Navigator of the Seas recently set sail from the Port of Los Angeles using renewable diesel fuel to meet part of the ship’s fuel needs. The use of this fuel will reduce the ship’s carbon emissions. With this move, the Royal Caribbean Group became the first major cruise line operator to sail a cruise ship from a U.S. port while using renewable diesel fuel.

This key step in the group’s pursuit of alternative fuels comes less than a year after the unveiling of “Destination Net Zero,” Royal Caribbean Group’s comprehensive decarbonization strategy.

“We are committed to investing in technologies and innovations that will help us reduce emissions and fulfill our purpose to deliver great vacations responsibly,” said Laura Hodges Bethge, Royal Caribbean Group’s executive vice president, shared services operations. “As we celebrate this milestone, we continue to set our sights on other leading alternative solutions to meet our net zero goals.”

The renewable fuel being used by Navigator of the Seas contains less carbon than traditional marine fuels. While this fuel is produced from renewable raw materials, the production process for this fuel makes it molecularly identical to traditional marine gas oil—creating a “drop in” fuel that can be safely used with the ship’s existing engines.

The cruise company plans to continue using lower carbon fuel to meet part of the Los Angeles-based ship’s fuel needs as it evaluates the feasibility for long-term use, with ambitions to expand its usage to other ships across the fleet. This follows a similar trial by the group’s joint venture partner, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, which is exploring a different process for developing a sustainable biofuel.

For the trial, Royal Caribbean Group has partnered with World Fuel Services to supply the renewable fuel to Navigator of the Seas. The Jankovich Company will deliver the fuel on behalf of World Fuel Services to the ship while at the Port of Los Angeles. Once fueled, Navigator of the Seas will set sail to Mexico.

Besides testing the use of biofuel aboard Navigator of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Group is set to debut a hybrid-powered ship in summer 2023, as part of Silversea Cruises’ newest class of ships, the Nova class. The group is also working to reduce emissions while at port by investing in shore power on its ships and collaborating with key cruise ports for its use. For instance, in 2021, Royal Caribbean Group signed an agreement to bring shore power to PortMiami, which will enable ships to use electricity at port instead of burning fuel. The company also is introducing a zero-energy cruise terminal in the Port of Galveston, Texas that builds on its sustainable design efforts and will be a LEED Gold-certified facility.

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