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The ships will arrive at TUI Cruises in 2024 and 2026. [Photo: TUI Cruises]

By Callum Cyrus

TUI Cruises, a joint venture between travel agent TUI and cruise liner Royal Caribbean Cruises, has attended a steel cutting ceremony for two cruise ships powered by clean-burning LNG, shipbuilder Fincantieri said on June 22.

The 160,000 gross tons LNG ships will be built at Fincantieri's Monfalcone shipyard, in northeastern Italy, for delivery in 2024 and 2026. 

LNG fuels are one of the main ways cruise operators can reduce emissions, replacing heavy oil-based fuel oils on long-distance journeys. As it produces almost no sulphur oxide and particulate matter, LNG bunkering in cruise vessels can reduce greenhouse gas output by up to 21%, on a well-to-wake basis, including production of methane, according to SEA-LNG.

TUI Cruises, headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, was founded in 2008 as a 50 - 50 partnership between TUI and Royal Caribbean. It promotes cruises to holidaymakers in German-speaking markets. The fleet comprises seven vessels, with the latest new build, the Mein Schiff 7, scheduled for delivery in 2023.

Fincantieri's new ships will produce almost no emissions while stationed in ports, thanks to the use of Euro 6-compliant catalytic converters and a shore power connection. In addition, the ships may be upgraded in the future to support low-emission biofuels.