For several years, the cruise industry has been playing a balancing act. Between the real impacts of their activities and the fantasies conveyed by certain images, the industry is struggling to get its message of innovation across. Sustainable cruise is one of the topics discussed extensively.
"By 2028, there will be 38 LNG-powered cruise ships of the latest generation," says Pierfrancesco Vago, Clia's global president. "Although still a fossil fuel, this transitional fuel brings immediate environmental benefits," he adds. "LNG engines help us test, deploy and scale up non-fossil synthetic and biological forms of LNG" that move the industry toward its ultimate goal of a "net zero carbon future."
62 Vessels to Be Built in Europe within Five Years
The pursuit of this objective, set for questions of the image but also operational, also involves the entire European maritime construction, according to Clia. Beyond its purely economic contribution - 62 cruise ships will be built in Europe over the next five years, representing an investment of 40 billion euros - the cruise tourism industry is forcing shipyards to innovate, to become specialists in certain technologies (water management, hull paints, emissions reduction, waste treatment, etc.). And so to keep their lead over other maritime industries, notably Asian ones, made attractive by a much lower cost of labor.
"Cruising, which represents only 3% of the maritime sector's CO2 emissions, is the spearhead of innovation for the entire maritime sector and well beyond, for the benefit of civil society," according to Pierfrancesco Vago. Experts point out the driving role of the cruise industry in accelerating the energy transition.
Progress for the Entire Maritime Sector
It is to remind the European Union of the importance of maintaining this unique know-how in Europe that Clia Europe and Sea Europe, which defend the interests of shipyards, have signed a joint statement calling for action now to ensure a supply of renewable fuels on the scale required, not only for cruises, but for the entire maritime sector.
In short, and in the face of the European institutions, Clia Europe defends the voluntary policy of the sustainable cruise sector and calls for a better consideration of the initiatives taken. "Without this, access to financing for sustainable shipbuilding cannot be assured," concludes Pierfrancesco Vago.
In Europe, the cruise industry added more than 40,000 million euros to the economy in 2021, generating more than 300,000 jobs.