Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest travel and leisure company, announced Monday it has signed a multibillion-dollar contract with German shipyard Meyer Werft to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the world. The four new ships will also be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) — the world’s cleanest-burning fossil fuel.
The company said two of the ships will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft's shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Additional information about the ships, including which new ships will be added to each brand, will be made available at a later date.
Pioneering a new era in the use of “less harmful” fossil fuels in a notoriously polluting industry, the four new ships will be the first in the cruise industry to use LNG in dual-powered hybrid engines to power the ship both in port and on the open sea, which Carnival says will eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulfur oxides. LNG will be stored onboard and used to generate 100 percent power at sea — another industry first.
Carnival seems to be making a concerted effort to appeal to more conscientious travelers. This announcement comes less than a week after Carnival announced the launch of fathom, its new social impact brand — the company says it will partner with community organizations in destination cities, offering travelers the opportunity to work alongside locals for social causes. And in November, Carnival revealed in its sustainability report that it had reduced its carbon emissions from shipboard operations by 20 percent one year ahead of schedule.