Construction started on Tuesday, June 14, in Turku (Finland) on the first large cruise ship that is specifically designed to be methanol-ready for future conversion to one of the cruise industry's next-generation fuels.
Being built for TUI Cruises, the vessel marks a milestone for the industry and for its builder Meyer Turku, which has been a pioneer in large LNG-fueled ships. Currently, only a handful of vessels are capable of running on methanol, while Maersk and a number of others in container shipping have been leading with orders for methanol-fueled ships.
Meyer Turku and TUI announced during the first steel cutting ceremony at the Finnish shipyard that the newbuild, Mein Schiff 7, had adapted her design in order to become the first methanol-ready cruise ship. The 111,500 GT liner, which is scheduled to enter service in 2024, is a sistership to two Meyer Turku-built boats - Schiff 1 (2018) and Schiff 2 (2019).
According to the line, essential elements of the Mein Schiff concept, such as a high proportion of outside/balcony cabins, a large selection of bars and restaurants, spacious outdoor areas, as well as the spa & sports areas with a pool that is 90+ feet long will remain unchanged onboard the new cruise ship. Mein Schiff 7 will be 1,035 feet in length and able to accommodate 2894 passengers with a crew of 1,000.
The liner will initially be operated with lower-emission marine diesel and is equipped with a shore power connection and catalytic converters. This ensures almost zero-emission operation while the vessel is in port, which will be ~40% of the operating time. Mein Schiff 7 will also boast a system that can shred organic waste through thermal treatment and prepare it for use on land.
Meyer Turku has been pioneering in building LNG-fueled cruise ships. The company delivered Costa Smeralda in 2019 and since then Carnival Mardi Gras and Costa Toscana. Carnival Celebration is nearing completion and the shipyard is building RCI-Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas which will become RCI’s first LNG-fueled vessel, with two sisterships due for deliveries in 2024 and 2025.
Mein Schiff 7 is the last of the Mein Schiff ships on order from the Finnish yard. MSC also has two LNG-fueled cruise ships on order with Fincantieri Italy due for delivery by 2026.