Keel-laying ceremony for world's first fully LNG-powered cruise ship

The AIDAnova will be the first cruise vessel with the capability to operate only on LNG - both at sea and in port.

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Updated on 07 Sep 2017 08:23 GMT

On September 4, Carnival Corporation celebrated the keel-laying ceremony of the AIDAnova in Papenburg, Germany, to mark the official start of construction of seven cruise ships that will be fully powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

German shipbuilder Meyer Werft lowered the first building block into place for the world's first cruise ship with the capability to operate only on LNG - both at sea and in port, whilst Meyer Werft's Martin de Boer placed the traditional lucky coin under the keel.

Speaking at the ceremony, AIDA President, Felix Eichhorn, said: "One of the main tasks AIDA Cruises sets itself is to make cruises sustainable. With AIDAnova and its sister ship, we are sticking to this course with our pioneering work. Thanks to our trailblazing 'green cruising' design, the use of only LNG in the cruise industry will become a reality in 2018."

Carnival announced the order of four LNG-powered vessels from Meyer Werft in the summer of 2015. Two of the vessels, each with a gross tonnage (grt) in excess of 180,000 tonnes, are scheduled to join the AIDA Cruises fleet in the autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2021, respectively. Delivery of the other two ships - to Italian brand Costa Cruises - is expected in 2019 and 2020.

A deal to build another three vessels - two for Carnival Cruise Line (scheduled for delivery in 2020 and 2022) and one for P&O Cruises UK (due to be delivered in 2020) - was announced in September 2016, and brings Carnival's total number of orders for vessels fully powered by LNG to seven.

Thanks to their dual-fuel engines, the AIDAprima and AIDAperla are the world's first cruise ships that can run on LNG while docked in port. Meanwhile, the AIDAsol became the first cruise ship in the world to be supplied with power by an LNG hybrid barge in 2015.

In Hamburg, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Southampton and Zeebrugge, the AIDAprima can already be operated with LNG while docked.

AIDA Cruises says it is also working to make the fuel available in even more European locations; in June, the cruise brand declared its intention to have the AIDAperla bunkered with LNG in Barcelona "before the summer is out".

In its premiere season, the AIDAnova will offer trips around the Canary Islands starting in December 2018, which suggests that this is another location where the cruise operator aims to be able to perform LNG bunkering within the next 15 months.

The seven LNG ships for cruise brands Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Carnival UK, and AIDA Cruises will be built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg (Germany) and Turku (Finland).