Special Report: Cruise ships face emissions challenge

Image result for cruise ship smoke stacks

 

Shipping lines must comply with new global emissions controls. Ian Taylor reports

All ships over 400 tonnes became subject to International Maritime Organisation (IMO) limits on sulphur emissions from January 1.

These cut the permissible sulphur content in ship fuel outside designated emission control areas (ECAs) from 3.5% to 0.5%. The limit remains 0.1% in these control areas – the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, North American coastal waters and the ‘US Caribbean’.

The cruise industry accounts for just 1% of the shipping and 2% of global outbound travel but claims to be at the forefront of cutting emissions.

However, the shipping sector has moved painfully slowly. The January limit on emissions of sulphur oxide – a toxic by-product of heavy fuel oil – was agreed in 2008.

Cruise association Clia announced last year that its members were “well on the way to full compliance”.

However, the IMO warned of “price volatility” until “supply and demand find a balance” with the marine oil required to replace the heavy fuel oil commonly used by ships costing up to 50% more.

There are concerns about supply and about inconsistent enforcement, given the IMO limit is policed by ports and ‘flag states’ – the countries where ships are registered.

Broadly, there are three ways of complying – switching to marine fuel oil, investing in liquified natural gas (LNG) technology or installing exhaust cleaning systems.

There are serious issues with all three.

Switching to marine diesel cuts the sulphur content but the fuel still contains many times more pollutants than vehicle diesel. Ships must also beware of mixing fuels which can be unsafe.

Using LNG cuts sulphur emissions almost entirely and nitrogen oxide by 85%. Clia suggests 25 ships or about 12% of the global total could be using LNG by 2025. But the primary component of LNG is methane, an accelerant of global warming.

There are also limits to LNG infrastructure, with fuelling stations only slowly being established in Europe.

Exhaust cleaning systems or scrubbers enable ships to continue using heavy fuel oil by removing the sulphur – dissolving it in seawater which is returned to the ocean as sulphuric acid or held on the ship to be disposed of on land.

Royal Caribbean Cruises vice-chairman Adam Goldstein has said: “You inject tremendous amounts of water into the exhaust and it takes the sulphur away. That is our principal strategy.”

Clia reported in September that more than 68% of global capacity would utilise scrubbers. But China, Hong Kong, Singapore and some Caribbean islands have banned the release of water from scrubbers and there is a call for a worldwide ban.

Cruise lines also try to cut emissions in port by using shore-side power. But only 16 ports offer this – and only three outside North America.

Shipping sector leaders agreed in December to establish a $5 billion fund for research and development into cutting emissions, with the aim of developing zero-carbon emission ships by the 2030s.

Companies would make a $2 contribution for every tonne of marine fuel they purchase from 2023 if governments back the proposal at a meeting in London in March.

CMV Targets French Market with New Brand

Jules Verne

Launching a new French brand, Cruise & Maritime Voyages is targeting 10,000 guests per year aboard the Jules Verne which currently operating as the Astor. Service is set to begin in early 2021 following a recent announcement at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Clement Mousset and Cedric Rivoire-Perrochat are at the helm of the new French brand which will operate under Croisières Maritimes and Voyages banner.

The timing may be ideal, as there is no current mainstream French cruise brand following the demise of Croisières de France.

Mousset has been named general director and was previously heading up Celestyal Cruises’ efforts in the French market. Rivoire-Perrochat has been named marketing and operations director and is the former director of France for CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association).

The brand will build a 10 to 15 person team based in a Marseilles office, according to the company executives.

The plan is to offer a premium product to the French market on a year-round basis on the 550-guest ship.

“On our ship, you will find no shopping complex, no climbing wall, no circus. You will feel like you’re on a ship,” Mousset said.

The French product will also feature select adults-only departures, while six per cent of staterooms will be for the solo traveller market.

Cruises will run an average of 12 nights with a target price of 190 euro per person per day. 

The ship will arrive in Le Havre for a two-night preview cruise next April, while an inaugural cruise will sail from Le Havre to Marseilles with stops in various French ports.

Other itineraries will be far-ranging, including sailings to the Baltic, Black Sea, Mediterranean, and a long world cruise in early 2022. Sales are expected to open in early 2020. The first revenue sailing is scheduled for May 1, 2021

Report Shows Cruising’s Growing Appeal

Bahamas, cruise, ship

PHOTO: Cruise ships at a port in The Bahamas. (photo via Brand X Pictures / Stockbyte / Getty Images Plus)

Cruising continues to grow in popularity with the American public.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) estimates that by the end of 2019, approximately 30 million people around the world will have set sail on a cruise, and it’s likely that Americans make up a sizable chunk of those choosing to cruise.

In 2017, CLIA found that nearly 12 million cruisers were from the United States, making it one of the leading markets.

New research from YouGov also revealed a strong appetite for cruising among U.S. travellers.

The survey found that three in 10 (31 per cent) of Americans had been on a cruise and one in six (16 per cent) plan on taking a cruise within the next 12 months.

In addition to knowing how many people have cruised, the YouGov analysis reveals travellers’ intent to cruise.

The survey found that 6 per-cent of Americans say that it will be their first time cruising. Twelve per cent indicated that they have been on a cruise before and plan to take another cruise within the next 12 months—market size of 31 million people. There are 46 million Americans who say that they have been on a cruise but do not plan to take one in the next 12 months, and 64 per-cent (approximately 160 million) Americans have not been on a cruise before and don’t plan on going on one within the next 12 months.

Within the never-cruised segment, there are a few important data points. These non-cruisers are likely not taking a vacation in 2019, but many could be considering travel in the coming year.

Among total cruisers, demographics give insight into who is looking to cruise in the future. Seven per-cent of first-timers were millennials, 8 per-cent were Gen-Xers, 4 per-cent were baby-boomers, and 1 per-cent were silent generation.

When it comes to repeat cruisers, 16 per-cent were millennials. Eleven per-cent were Gen-Xers, 10 per-cent were baby boomers, and 12 per-cent were silent generation.

Those who lapsed a year or more between cruises were most likely to be silent generation cruisers at 32 per-cent. Baby boomers made up 23 per cent of this group, Gen-X was 17 per-cent and millennials were 14 per cent.

The YouGov survey also found that first-time cruisers were more likely to be African American, live in cities and more likely to vacation with their children. Two in five are parents with children under the age of 18 and more than one-third have travelled for business and leisure this year.

When targeting this group, go beyond traditional social media. Ads in podcasts, movie theatres and billboards catch the attention of first-timers.

Couple taking a selfie on a cruise ship
PHOTO: Couple taking a selfie on a cruise ship. (photo via michaeljung/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Like first-timers, a family is a big consideration for repeat cruisers. Many are parents and many more bring family members with them when they cruise.

YouGov found that repeat cruisers were more likely to look to advertisements when choosing which cruises to take and preferred ads tailored to them. Social media advertising was also more appealing to the repeat cruiser and they most frequently use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Cruising is more popular with East Coast and travellers in southern states, likely because the proximity to homeports simplifies travel. Regardless of location, however, cruising’s ability to act as an intersection between experiential travel and innovation and convenience appeals to a wide variety of Americans.