MSC Group, the parent company of luxury cruise line Explora Journeys, has confirmed that the final two vessels in an initial six-ship order from Fincantieri will be hydrogen-powered.
The move comes as part of MSC Cruises’ long-term effort to achieve a net zero-carbon emissions target by 2050 through investment in, and exploration of, additional new and advanced environmental technologies.
The deal completes a total investment of €3.5 billion in six luxury ships for Explora Journeys. Explora I is already in service, with Explora II nearing completion. The fifth and sixth ships in the fleet will be fuelled with hydrogen.
Explora V and Explora VI, due for delivery in 2027 and 2028, will have new state-of-the-art energy efficiency measures and will also be capable of using alternative fuels such as bio and synthetic gas and methanol.
Explora Journeys will also work with Fincantieri to equip the ships with future technologies including carbon capture and more advanced waste management systems.
“With Explora Journeys we have created a luxury brand that has been successful at redefining luxury at sea,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman – Cruise Division, MSC Group. “We are seeing continued growth in the luxury segment and the investment in these two new ships shows our commitment to continue to grow within this sector as well as to invest in ships of the future.”
MSC Cruises this year sailed the world’s first zero emissions cruise aboard MSC Euribia. Although the voyage wasn’t a revenue-generating cruise, and the vessel had no passengers onboard at the time, it showed that the proof of concept could potentially be scaled.
MSC Cruises has called on maritime bunkering providers to invest in the capacity to deliver alternative fuels such as bio-LNG, biofuels and other bunkering at the scale needed by the cruise industry.
Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest cruise ship builders, said in a release that the longevity of companies providing services to cruise lines will depend on their ability to adapt to the evolving needs of cruise line’s in terms of decarbonisation.
“In strategic terms, our future will depend on our ability to lead the evolution of the sector towards all energy and digital transition technologies with the entrepreneurship required to validate, industrialise and commercialise new solutions,” said Pierroberto Folgiero, Chief Executive Officer, Fincantieri.
The two new ships will pursue the use of liquid hydrogen with fuel cells for their hotel operations while docked in ports to eliminate carbon emissions with the vessels’ engines switched off.
The ships will also feature a new generation of LNG engines that will further tackle the issue of methane slip with the use of containment systems.