an oversized liner to conquer the seas

The new largest liner in the world will welcome its first tourists at the beginning of next year, not without questioning its environmental impact.

It is the largest liner of all time, a real sea monster. THE Icon of the Seas (“the icon of the seas”), built in Finland on behalf of the Royal Caribbean company, has just taken to the sea for a few tests, before welcoming its first passages next year. And its proportions are simply out of the ordinary. THE Icon of the Seas is 365 meters long, 35 meters longer than the Eiffel Tower horizontally. It weighs 250,000 tons and has 20 floors. Far away, so Queen Mary and other historic liners. It’s even bigger than the Wonder of the Seasuntil then the largest ship in the world.

This new ship will carry 2,350 crew members and up to 7,000 passengers who will be able to enjoy a water park with giant slides (a must on cruises today) and seven swimming pools, including the largest ever built on a boat. But also an attraction that makes you walk in the void, tens of meters above the ocean. Passengers must be well entertained between stops. According to the pamphlet of Icon of the Seasthey will have more than forty dining and drinking options in addition to live entertainment venues on board, including a piano bar.

The shipowner accused of “greenwashing”

Its first outing dates back a few days, in European waters, not far from the Turku shipyard, in Finland, where it was built at an estimated cost of 2 billion dollars. It will sail the Caribbean seas from Miami from January 2024. Passengers can choose from 28 types of cabins, but nothing is offered below $1,500 per person for a week. The three-story suite with balcony, popcorn machine, karaoke and slide to get to the living room costs a bit more, $75,000 a week according to US press estimates. Never have reservations for a new ship gone so well, says Royal Caribbean International.

Cruises are regularly singled out for their environmental impact. Royal Caribbean proudly announces that this is its first liner to run on liquefied natural gas and a fuel cell. The company is also promoting its “Save the Waves” program across its fleet as well as its efforts to get rid of plastic on board – straws or sticks to stir your coffee for example. It would even have reduced 35% of its emissions a year earlier than expected.

But in 2016, the Guardian published an article on Harmony of the Seas, each of whose two engines burned more than 5,000 liters of diesel per hour. The equivalent of an entire city if we believe the Belgian association Transport and Environment. Two thirds of the ships would continue to run their machines at the quay to supply all the activities on board, which has an effect on the climate, but also on the air quality of the ports where the boats call. Nevertheless, it is a sector that is doing well. According to the firm Grand View Research, the cruise market could represent more than 15 billion dollars worldwide, half in the United States.

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