World's Largest Cruise Ship Sets Sail From Miami

    World's Largest Cruise Ship Sets Sail From Miami
    Photo: Gary Hershorn/Contributor/Corbis News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • The world's largest cruise ship, the 365m-long Icon of the Seas, set sail from Miami for a maiden, seven-day voyage in the Caribbean on Saturday.

    • The vessel — a Royal Caribbean cruise ship — is reportedly five times larger than the Titanic, and can accommodate up to 7.6K guests and a crew of approximately 2.4K.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The cruise industry claims that liquified natural gas (LNG) is a climate solution — it's not, and these industry claims are greenwashing. The LNG-powered ships can leak damaging amounts of methane — a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide — into the atmosphere during combustion. Ships must reject sources of methane production and switch to fuel cells, renewable hydrogen, or methanol to slow down global warming and mitigate cruise tourism's climate impact.

    Narrative B

    The Icon of the Seas is 24% more energy efficient than required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Its advanced water and waste management systems treat all wastewater onboard and convert all waste into energy. In addition, its producers are investing in technology to build zero-emission cruise ships and achieve carbon-neutral sailing, including transitioning to tri-fuel engines designed to accommodate methanol. While governments are failing to phase out fossil fuels and avert the worst effects of climate change, some are distracting with arguments against an industry that contributes billions of dollars to the global economy, improving the lives of countless employees.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that the level of anthropogenic methane emissions in 2050 will be at least 10.1 GtCO2e/year, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our daily newsletter