Onboard Reflection: ECA and Gas Turbine Comeback?

According to Jamie Sweeting, vice president of environmental stewardship for Royal Caribbean Cruises, aboard the Celebrity Reflection, in response to a question from Cruise Industry News, gas turbine engines may be making a comeback in 2015 when the North American Emissions Control Area comes into full force.

“We made a decision to put those in the Millennium class,” said Sweeting. “That could come back and be a huge reward for us come 2015. They burn compliant fuel already.”

Celebrity has the powerplants in its four Millennium class ships, but does not use them currently due to the price of the fuel.

Meanwhile Greg Purdy, senior vice president of operations for Celebrity, talked about updated pods for the Reflection, allowing more work to be in water, and also being more efficient, as is the rest of the ship. For example, the 126,000-ton vessel features a different engine configuration than her sisters, reducing her top speed by a knot or so, but delivering fuel efficiencies.

As the 2015 Emissions Control Area looms, Richard Pruitt associate vice president of maritime safety and environmental compliance, noted multi-faceted solutions, from current weighted averaging to looking at scrubbers.

“Post-2015 we are looking at scrubbers,” Pruitt explained. “It’s important to meet the challenges for 2015, we also have a robust fuel purchasing plan, and it will come down to itineraries, purchasing and deployment.”

Sweeting said Royal Caribbean has been looking at reducing fuel usage per person per day for a long time.

“There is no major stone unturned,” he added, pointing to everything from LED lights to toasters and ice makers.

“It is ultimately best for the environment not to have to purchase fuel in the first place.”

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