Fincantieri said it is studying the use of biofuels on a pair of newbuildings under construction for TUI Cruises.

The disclosure by the Italian shipbuilder came as its Monfalcone Shipyard carried out steel cutting on the dual-fuel cruise ships, keeping them on schedule for their originally planned delivery in 2024 and 2026.

The 160,000-gt pair, to be named Mein Schiff 8 and Mein Schiff 9, are being constructed to run on LNG and conventional fuels, under the original order by TUI Cruises.

The Germany-based joint venture of travel firm TUI AG and US passenger shipping titan Royal Caribbean Group booked the vessels in 2018 with plans to make them the backbone of its future fleet.

“Fincantieri is also studying the possibility to make them operate in the future with low-emission biofuels – an important step towards climate-neutral cruising,” the shipbuilder said.

The move is apparently part of a multi-fuel gambit by TUI Cruises, which celebrated steel cutting a week earlier at Finland’s Meyer Turku shipyard on the smaller newbuilding Mein Schiff 7. That vessel will be constructed to run on low-sulphur conventional fuels but will be “methanol-ready”.

While the schedule remains unchanged for Mein Schiff 8 and Mein Schiff 9, the 111,500-gt Meyer Turku newbuilding is now slated for 2024, instead of the original 2023 delivery date.

“After two years of pandemics, we have returned to our course and will continue to grow as planned. Mein Schiff 7 will take us forward in our work for more environmentally friendly cruise tourism,” TUI Cruises chief executive Wybcke Meier said of that vessel.

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