The dreaded “Fuel Surcharge” is a possible extra fee cruise passengers might have to pay and it can add up fast. To avoid it, cruise lines do all they can to control how much fuel they use. A new tool, being rolled out on two new ships soon, promises to cut fuel usage and perhaps keep the Fuel Surcharge demon away.
Tied to the price of light sweet crude oil according to the New York Mercantile Exchange Index (NYMEX) the numbers vary a bit from line to line, but most reserve the right to re-instate the fuel surcharge/supplement for guests at a rate of about $10 per person per day should the price of light sweet crude oil, according to the NYMEX, increase above about $70 per barrel. The good news is that light crude is down 17% from a year ago. The bad news is that the price is still considerably above $70 per barrel.
In the past, other lines have gone about the business of controlling fuel costs a number of ways. Celebrity Cruises has a Teflon-like coating to reduce friction on the hull of ship as they sail the oceans. Princess Cruises, Holland America and others “plug in” when possible at ports equipped to make that happen. Now, bubbles emanating from the bottom of the ship promise greater fuel efficiency too.
Mitsubishi will install its “Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System” (MALS) on two large cruise ships to be built for the AIDA Cruises, a German brand of Carnival Corporation, using proprietary technology that reduces fuel consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) by a layer of air bubbles blown out from the vessel’s bottom.
The application of the MALS for the two cruise ships ordered by AIDA Cruises was decided in light of the customer’s keen interest in lowering fuel consumption and easing the burden on the environment. The system is expected to reduce the vessel’s fuel consumption by approximately 7%.
The air blown out by the MALS from the vessel’s bottom produces small air bubbles which cover the vessel’s bottom like an “air-carpet”, which reduces friction between the hull and seawater during navigation. Basically, the system uses special high-efficiency blowers to achieve maximum friction reduction.
The system also enables an approximately 25% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to conventional vessels, helped with a high-efficiency hull form and improved propulsion system.
Photo- Spreng Ben via Compfight