Royal Caribbean Group’s Silversea Cruises marked the float out of its new cruise ship at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany on April 28. The ship is being billed as the “first hybrid, luxury cruise ship free of local emissions at port,” thanks to incorporating advancements in the propulsion and power plant.
Named Silver Nova, the 54,700 gross ton cruise ship is the first ocean-going cruise ship designed for Silversea Cruises since the cruise line was acquired by Royal Caribbean Group between 2018 and 2020. It is the first of two luxury ships ordered from Meyer Werft continuing the industry’s focus on expanding the high-end ultra-luxury segment of the business. In the same week that the Silver Nova was floated out in Germany, Fincantieri in Italy delivered both the Viking Saturn and Oceania Cruises’ Vista, also smaller, luxury cruise ships.
The Silver Nova will be the first cruise ship for Royal Caribbean Group that will operate on LNG as its primary fuel source. She is scheduled to enter service in August 2023 as the twelfth ship in Silversea’s fleet. The corporation is also building the world’s largest cruise ship, the Utopia of the Seas, which will enter service at the beginning of 2024 also using LNG.
In addition to using LNG as its primary fuel, the Silver Nova incorporates other advancements including a power system of fuel cells and batteries designed to power the hotel operations while the cruise ship is in port. The fuel cell system will have an output of four megawatts and working with the batteries is designed to eliminate emissions in port when it is not possible for the ship to use shore power. In addition, the battery system permits peak load leveling to increase the overall efficiency of the power plant. Other cruise lines, including Viking, MSC Cruises, and Explora Journeys, are also testing prototype hydrogen fuel cell systems.
The hull of the Silver Nova also features a hydrodynamic shape as part of a design that Silversea reports exceeds the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) by 25 percent. They expect the hybrid plant will permit the ship to achieve a 40 percent overall reduction in emissions compared to their older Muse class cruise ships.
The float-out required several hours to reposition the cruise ship from the large building hall to the fitting out dock in Papenburg. During the process, the hull of the ship was cleaned, the funnel attached, and her LNG and radar masts installed. Final interior outfitting is proceeding and the Silver Nova is expected to make the 20-mile conveyance along the Ems to the ocean at the end of May.
Known as Project Evolution, construction on the cruise ship began with the first steel cut on November 18, 2021. The first steel cut for her sister ship, Silver Ray, took place on November 23, 2022, with the first block for the second ship positioned in the building hall dry dock on March 24, 2023. The section weights 230 tonnes and measured 155 feet by 27 feet. The Silver Ray is scheduled to enter service in the summer of 2024.
Both ships also feature the most spacious passenger spaces in Silversea’s history, with the highest space ratio per passenger and a crew-to-passenger ratio of 1:1.3. Each ship has accommodations for 728 passengers and will carry a crew of 556. Silversea has designed the ships using a horizontal layout and asymmetrical design that they say opens the ship to the outdoors with water and port views. They also feature the largest array of bars, lounges, and restaurants of any ultra-luxury ship.
The Silver Nova will spend her first season cruising in the Mediterranean. For the winter of 2023-2024, she will reposition for cruises to the Caribbean and South America.