Meyer Highlights Cruise Innovation and Speculates on Cruising in 2100

cruise ship of the future
Meyer's vision of a cruise ship in the year 2100 (Meyer Werft)

Published Mar 31, 2023 5:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

Executives from the cruise industry, its suppliers, and destinations wrapped up their conference in Florida discussing the future of the industry and the challenges that lay ahead. German shipbuilding group Meyer Werft also took the opportunity to speculate what a cruise ship in the next century might look like and how it would operate. The yard drew on its current experience at building LNG-fueled cruise ships and the efforts at developing hydrogen-powered fuel cells to present a fanciful idea of the future.

“Externally inspired by the rock penguin and thus particularly aerodynamic is the ‘Reverse’ concept - a Meyer Group concept that shows what a cruise ship could look like in the year 2100,” the shipyard said unveiling the model and renderings for its vision of the future. Externally they said the vessel is equipped with a closed glass facade and urban gardening areas as well as drone landing pads, and central public areas form the focal point inside the ship. Thanks to a cabin structure detached from the outer hull, efficient modular manufacturing methods they said would be possible.

“The ship is based on global megatrends and is one - but not the only - logical response to them," explains Tim Krug, Head of Concept Development Group at MEYER Group. "For example, we have only provided for small restaurant areas that serve more as social meeting places because we imagine that a large part of the nutrients will be consumed in a concentrated form like pills. From today's point of view, we sometimes come up with extreme approaches, but it is equally important to think them through and develop answers from them.”

The energy concept for the vessel is equally futuristic with Meyer saying it would rely on innovation following the current trends of sustainability. “Thanks to the use of wave energy through horizontal wings on the hull, solar and fuel cells as well as wind energy, it manages without fossil fuels,” says Meyer.

Following through on the current trends, the model was also built demonstrating how sustainable materials can be used. The model of the "Reverse," is made largely from sustainable materials. Meyer said 90 percent of the materials used are recycled or can be recycled without leaving any residue. 


Meyer Group's fanciful vision of a future cruise ship


The fanciful concepts however based on the work currently happening within the shipbuilding group. Starting in late 2018 with the first large, LNG dual-fuel cruise ship, the yards have delivered six LNG cruise ships for the Carnival Corporation using the Excel platform and the first of three ships for Disney Cruise Line. The last of the ships ordered by Carnival Corp. is under construction in Germany while work began with the keel laying this week for the second of the Disney Cruise ships.

Meyer was also retained by Disney to oversee the conversion project for the former Global Dream that was purchased incomplete from the bankrupt MV Werften. Disney challenged Meyer to convert the cruise ship to become of the first to operate on methanol fuel. Meyer recently discussed the challenges of not only refitting the engines but also adding tanks and piping as well as the safety and control systems for methanol to a cruise ship that was already as much as 80 percent completed. Disney announced this week that the ship due to launch in 2025 will be homeported in Singapore for at least five years.

At the Meyer Turku yard work is well underway on the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International’s Icon of the Seas. The ship has multiple innovations including being LNG fueled. She will be followed by two sisterships. Turku also recently started assembly on Mein Schiff 7, the first methanol-ready cruise ship which is being built for the TUI Group – Royal Caribbean Group partnership TUI Cruises.

This summer, Meyer Werft will deliver a new cruise ship for Silversea Cruises, the Silver Nova, which will set new standards in technology and design. With several unique technological innovations and groundbreaking design features, the Silver Nova and her sistership Silver Ray which just started construction will also incorporate fuel cell systems that are expected to provide part of the energy needs on board. After years of research and development by Meyer Group and fuel cell manufacturer Freudenberg, anticipation is growing that every single component of the fuel cell system will successfully pass the rigorous endurance tests at extreme temperatures and the classification societies' certification tests for safe use on board ships. 

The goal of the multi-year research project is to deploy a maritime fuel cell system of unprecedented scale that will power Royal Caribbean Group's Nova-class ships. When completed, the fuel cell system is expected to meet a ship's entire hotel load. Other innovative features include a newly developed Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS) that converts waste on board into thermal energy.