P&O Cruises announces order for biggest ever ship

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P&O MV Britannia

The first next generation mega ship for a British cruise line has been ordered today for P&O Cruises.

US parent company Carnival Corporation signed an agreement for the 5,200-passenger vessel.

The new ship for P&O Cruises will be built by Meyer Werft at its shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, with an expected delivery date in 2020.

The vessel will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), an energy source claimed to be more environmentally friendly than traditional diesel fuel through reduced exhaust emissions.

Carnival Cruise Line will also take delivery of two similar 180,000 ton ships in 2020 and 2022.

The unnamed new P&O Cruises ship will carry significantly more passengers than current 3,637-capacity flagship Britannia, launched last year by the Queen.

At 180,000 tons, the new P&O Cruises ship will not be as big as the 227,000 ton Harmony of the Seas, currently the world’s largest cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International and capable of carrying 6,780 passengers.

P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow said: “These are very exciting times.

“The number of British passengers taking a cruise in the past five years has significantly increased, boosted most recently by our very successful launch of Britannia last year.

“We know there is still huge potential as more and more people realise the value for money, choice and range of dining and entertainment options available on ships of all sizes.

“With an amazing range of itineraries, from two days to three months, there is a cruise to suit every budget.

“P&O Cruises is uniquely experienced in designing ships to meet the specific needs and aspirations of British passengers and the agreement by Carnival Corporation & plc to build a new ship of this size reflects all that our guests and prospective cruisers have been telling us and shows our confidence in the growth of the UK market.

“This ship will be the largest in the P&O Cruises fleet, will have a striking new exterior and interior design and will comprehensively embrace the company’s classic and iconic features. Innovative new guest experiences will be announced soon.”

In conjunction with the order, the delivery dates for new builds for AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises for 2020 will shift to 2021 to allow the company :to more effectively allocate measured capacity growth across its 10 global cruise brands in more markets throughout the world,” the global cruise company said.

Chief executive Arnold Donald said: “We are proud to be at the forefront of introducing LNG-powered ships to the cruise industry, working with our partners to achieve shipbuilding breakthroughs like this that will help us produce the most efficient and sustainable ships we have ever built.

“This is also an important step in our fleet enhancement plan that enables us to execute on our long-term strategy of measured capacity growth over time, while delivering innovative new ships that further elevate our already great guest experience.

“Every time we launch a new ship, we have a new opportunity to create excitement and show consumers why cruising is a great vacation at an exceptional value, especially for those who typically consider land-based vacations.”

Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft, said: “We are excited to welcome P&O Cruises back to Meyer Werft in Germany and Carnival Cruise Line back to Meyer Turku in Finland.

“These new ships will be built in our most modern and environmentally friendly facilities, and we are very proud to design, build and deliver these ships that provide breakthroughs in innovation and for the environment.”

Will AIDA Cruises LNG barge’s hurdles hinder cruise LNG take-up?

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Viking Grace Receives 1000th LNG Top-Up

by Rebecca Moore for http://www.passengership.info/ 

The regulatory challenges to launch LNG barge-based electricity supplies to cruise ships – initially to AIDA Cruises’ new ships ‒ at Port of Hamburg have been called a “total disaster”. But on the other side of the coin Viking Lines has proudly announced it has achieved 1,000 bunkerings of its ferry Viking Grace via LNG refuelling vessel Seagas.

The passenger ship industry is keen to implement the use of LNG as fuel or for coldironing, but could the struggles that Becker Marine Systems’ LNG-powered Hummel bunker barge has faced be a barrier to the greater take-up of LNG by this sector, in particular cruise ships?

German shipowner VDR marine director Wolfgang Hintzsche told the CWC LNG fuels summit in Amsterdam a few months ago that Hummel‘s regulatory struggles have proved to be “a total disaster, from the point of view of legislation for LNG bunkering”. He warned: “LNG-fuelled ships simply will not come to Hamburg if we cannot sort out our bunkering problem.”

The project has been dogged by in-port restrictions, the barge’s operating permit requiring it to have an expensive harbour tug on standby, engines running, during loading and for Hummel to return to a night-time berth outside Hafencity after every loading, which requires tug assistance.

And Bomin Linde has long-standing plans to launch a small-scale LNG terminal at Hamburg that could include ship-based LNG bunker supply services. It, too, says it has taken “much longer than expected” to secure approvals for its plans.

But passenger ship operators should take heart from Viking Line’s announcement last week that its trailblazing LNG dual-fuelled Viking Grace has reached a milestone after achieving 1,000 LNG bunkerings in partnership with Swedish company AGA Gas AB since it was launched in January 2013.

Seagas, which was specially built for ship-to-ship refuelling, supplies Viking Grace ‒ the first large passenger vessel to run on LNG ‒ with about 60 tonnes of LNG while the vessel is docked in the morning at Stadsgården in central Stockholm.

Viking Line highlights the smoothness of the bunkering procedure, saying that it met its needs for bunkering to occur as quickly as possible, with no interruptions, with assured deliveries and without affecting cargo handling on the quay.

Indeed, Jan Hanses, president and chief executive of Viking Line said “both the technical solution developed by AGA and the vessel’s operation have outperformed expectations”.

And Jonas Åkermark, who is in charge of the LNG marine market at AGA Gas AB, said: “There is still heavy interest in the Seagas, our ship-to-ship bunkering solution and LNG as marine fuel both in Sweden and internationally. We have a well-functioning infrastructure solution in place in Stockholm and the possibility of bunkering more vessels.”

Obviously the two are very different projects and Hummel and Seagas meet different needs, but they both underline the importance of smooth processes and infrastructure if LNG is to be successfully taken up on a wider scale by ferries and cruise ships, either as fuel or for coldironing. Hopefully the regulatory challenges thatHummel is facing will be ironed out, and passenger ship operators can take heart from the success of Viking Grace and its bunkering vessel Seagas.