Icon Of The Seas: World’s Largest Cruise Ship Sets Sail From Miami

World's largest cruise ship - Merchant Navy Info

On its maiden voyage, the world’s largest cruise ship has set sail from Miami, Florida. But there are concerns about the vessel’s methane emissions.

The 365m-long (1,197 ft) Icon of the Seas has 20 decks and can house a maximum of 7,600 passengers. Royal Caribbean Group owns it.

The vessel is going on a seven-day island-hopping voyage in the Caribbean.

Environmentalists warn that a liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered ship will leak harmful methane into the air.

Built at a shipyard in Turku, a small town in the nation of Finland. The Bahamas-registered cruise ship has seven swimming pools and six water slides.

It costs $2bn (£1.6bn) to build and has more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges.

The cruise ship boasts seven swimming pools, many bars and restaurants, and a funfair on the top deck.

LNG burns more cleanly than traditional marine fuels such as fuel oil. There is a risk that some gas escapes, causing methane to leak into the atmosphere.

Greenhouse Gas

Methane is a lot more harmful greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide.

Reuters news agency quoted Bryan Comer, director of the Marine Programme at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), as saying, “It’s a step in the wrong direction.”

“We would estimate that using LNG as a marine fuel emits over 120% more life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than marine gas oil,” he said.

Earlier this week, the ICCT released a report arguing that methane emissions from LNG-fuelled ships were higher than current regulations assumed.

A sculpture of a swimmer hangs above an internal courtyard on the ship – known as “Central Park”.

A powerful greenhouse gas, methane, traps 80 times more heat compared to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over 20 years. Cutting these emissions is seen as crucial to slowing down global warming.

Royal Caribbean says the Icon of the Seas is 24% more energy efficient than the International Maritime Organization requires for modern ships. The company plans to introduce a net-zero ship by 2035.

The cruise industry is one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors. Young people are particularly interested in cruise holidays, according to the trade body Cruise Lines International Association.

It said the cruise industry contributed $75bn (£59bn) to the global economy in 2021.

The onboard water park is dubbed “Thrill Island.”

On Thursday, Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi, who currently plays for Inter Miami, participated in the ship’s naming ceremony.

He placed a football on a specially built stand to trigger the traditional “good luck” breaking of a champagne bottle against the vessel’s bow.

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