MSC Cruises has taken delivery of MSC World Europa, which has become not only its largest ship, but also its first ship to be fully fuelled by liquefied natural gas.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, said: “We are proud to welcome to our fleet MSC World Europa, our 20th ship and the first to be LNG-powered.

“This groundbreaking vessel represents the next phase in our journey toward net zero and sustainable cruising and a symbol of our unwavering commitment to both.”

Mr Vago says that the cruise industry making a movement toward zero emissions is more crucial than ever.

“Now more than ever we need closer cooperation from suppliers, Governments and others to complement our continued investments and take further steps towards the zero-emissions future we all desire.

“The innovative technologies we create here to use on our vessels can benefit all of society, not just the cruise industry or the shipping sector overall.”

LNG is currently the greenest fuel available to cruise ships, which Mr Vago says lead to MSC’s decision for MSC World Europa.

“We chose LNG for the very clear reason that it is the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale, a transitional fuel as we look ahead to source and use synthetic LNG or other alternative non-carbon fuels as soon as they become available at scale.”

MSC World Europa is the world’s first modern cruise ship that has been built with brand-new solid oxide fuel cell technology (SOFC). A 150-kilowatt SOFC demonstrator will power the electrical and heating systems onboard.

Linden Coppell, Vice President of Sustainability & ESG, MSC Cruises, said: We anticipate SOFC will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases substantially compared with conventional LNG engine without producing emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides or fine particles.

“It also has the advantage of not only being compatible with LNG, but also with low and zero-carbon fuels such as green methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen. We could also in the future transition to synthetic LNG or other alternative non-carbon fuels.”

Beyond being a significant step forward for sustainability, the ship will also be packed with amenities. Guests will also be able to enjoy the longest slide at sea, a micro-brewery, gin bar, healthy juice bar, coffee boutique, and 13 dining options.
The vessel will have an interesting introduction to the seas, set to serve as a hotel during the world cup in Qatar later this year. After this, she will sail in the Middle East before pivoting to the Mediterranean in March 2023.