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Royal Caribbean Ship Becomes 1st To Run on Renewable Diesel Fuel in US

This past week, Royal Caribbean International’s Navigator of the Seas set sail from the Port of Los Angeles on Friday, partially powered by a form of renewable diesel fuel. In doing so, Royal Caribbean Group set a cruise industry sustainability milestone by becoming the first major operator to sail one of its ships out of a U.S. port with at least a portion of its fuel demands fulfilled by renewal diesel, resulting in reduced carbon emissions.

This important achievement in pursuit of alternative fuel usage arrives less than a year after the company’s launch of ‘Destination Net Zero’, Royal Caribbean Group’s comprehensive decarbonization strategy.


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“We are committed to investing in technologies and innovations that will help us reduce emissions and fulfill our purpose to deliver great vacations responsibly,” said Laura Hodges Bethge, Royal Caribbean Group’s Executive Vice President, Shared Services Operations. “As we celebrate this milestone, we continue to set our sights on other leading alternative solutions to meet our net zero goals.”

The sustainable diesel being used by Navigator of the Seas contains less carbon than traditional maritime fuels. It’s manufactured from renewable raw materials, but the groundbreaking production process makes this fuel molecularly identical to traditional marine gas oil, resulting in a “drop-in” fuel that’s safely combustible within the ship’s existing engines.

Royal Caribbean plans to continue using this reduced-carbon fuel to fulfill a portion of the Los Angeles-based ship’s needs while it evaluates the propellant’s feasibility for long-term use. The results of this renewable fuel trial are set to inform the company’s larger ambitions to expand its usage to other ships across its fleet. This endeavor follows a similar trial conducted recently by the Group’s joint venture partner, Germany-based line Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, which is pursuing different methods of developing sustainable biofuel.

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Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas being bunkered with renewable diesel fuel. (photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

For the current trial, Royal Caribbean Group has partnered with World Fuel Services to supply Navigator of the Seas’ renewable fuel, which will be delivered to the Port of Los Angeles by the Jankovich Company. From there, the ship sails short round-trip itineraries down the coast of Baja California to Mexico’s West Coast Riviera region.

“We are extremely proud to be a part of Royal Caribbean Group’s journey toward making the cruise industry more sustainable by leveraging our renewable fuel distribution capabilities and technical expertise to facilitate the use of renewable fuel in a marine application,” said Michael J. Kasbar, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, World Fuel Services Corporation.

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