NCLH's Path to Net Zero GHG Emissions with New Targets

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Image courtesy of Port of Seattle

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), a prominent global cruise company operating Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, has unveiled its updated climate action strategy, including short- and near-term greenhouse gas (GHG) targets, in its ambitious pursuit of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

These measures highlight the company's strong commitment to decarbonisation as part of its global sustainability programme, Sail & Sustain.

The company's interim GHG reduction targets include two key components. First, a 10% reduction in GHG intensity by 2026 and a 25% reduction by 2030, as compared to a 2019 baseline, with intensity measured on a per Capacity Day basis (defined as Berths available for sale multiplied by the number of cruise days for the period for ships in service).

These targets apply to the company's emissions from its fleet of ships, islands, and facilities (Scopes 1 & 2), as well as upstream fuel- and energy-related activities, including well-to-tank emissions (a portion of Scope 3). This comprehensive approach ensures that the targets account for the full well-to-wake emissions impact of the company's fuel consumption.

Furthermore, these interim targets serve as a roadmap to support the company's existing net zero by 2050 ambition, and the scope of this commitment extends to the company's entire greenhouse gas footprint, encompassing its vast network of suppliers and partners throughout its value chain.

According to Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer-elect of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., "We are proud to further refine and strengthen our climate action strategy and commitments, including setting milestone GHG intensity reduction targets. These targets will guide us in our ambitious pursuit of net zero by 2050. Every aspect of our business, from shoreside to shipboard, is responsible for contributing to decarbonisation, and our Board of Directors has reinforced this expectation by establishing shared accountability and tying incentives for our entire management team to this critical effort. We have also taken an important step forward in our pursuit of net zero by announcing the modification of two of our future Prima Class newbuilds to accommodate the use of green methanol in the future."

Sommer further added, "We are also activating and mobilising our full network of team members, ports and destinations, suppliers and partners, and guests to take action now and join us on this transformative journey, amplifying the efforts we can achieve on our own."

The company's enhanced climate action strategy revolves around three key pillars: Efficiency, Innovation, and Collaboration.


It is a key pillar of the company's climate action strategy, with a focus on optimising the performance of its existing fleet to achieve immediate reductions in onboard power consumption and GHG emissions while also generating fuel savings.

This involves ongoing investments in advanced systems and technologies, such as HVAC system upgrades and waste heat recovery systems, as well as operational enhancements such as smart itinerary and voyage planning and hotel operations optimisation.

The company recognises that operational changes require data, education, and accountability and is investing in internal systems and processes to enable its team members, and even guests, to operate its ships with optimal efficiency.


As part of its climate action strategy, the company is actively pursuing innovation for long-term solutions and technologies, including those that support the ability to operate on green fuels. Since 2022, the company has successfully conducted tests of biofuel blends on multiple ships, using a blend of approximately 30% biofuel and 70% marine gas oil. It sees biodiesel as a viable transition fuel that can support the decarbonisation journey while long-term solutions are tested and scaled.

In the longer term, the company views green methanol as a promising solution and has recently announced the modification of the final two Prima Class ships, expected to be delivered in 2027 and 2028, to accommodate the use of green methanol as an alternative fuel source in the future. Although additional modifications will be needed to fully enable the use of methanol in addition to traditional marine fuel on these ships, this underscores its commitment to decarbonisation.

The use of green methanol has the potential to drastically reduce emissions, including up to a 95% reduction in CO2, and its properties allow for continued use of conventional fuel storage and bunkering with fewer modifications compared to other emerging fuels in the market currently.

However, it should be noted that the production of green methanol is still in the early stages and will require continued investments to scale sufficiently for global distribution and consumption. The company acknowledges the need for ongoing efforts to support the development and deployment of green methanol and other sustainable fuels in the maritime industry.


The company recognises that achieving its net zero goals will require significant collaboration across its entire network of stakeholders, including suppliers, communities, governments, and NGOs. It is committed to actively partnering with these stakeholders to find solutions and combat climate change. This includes exploring partnerships to champion efforts related to the development of green fuels as well as the global infrastructure needed for their production, storage, and distribution.

The company believes that cross-sector collaboration is a catalyst for effective and accelerated change. As such, it actively participates in industry associations, such as the Methanol Institute, and regional forums to collaborate with other stakeholders in the maritime industry. For example, the company is a first-movers partner in the Pacific Northwest to Alaska Green Corridor, which is a collaborative effort between ports, governments, and cruise operators in the region aimed at accelerating the deployment of zero GHG emission ships and operations between Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington.

Furthermore, the company continues to actively partner with key ports to accelerate the use of shore power technology. Shore power allows cruise ships to connect to onshore electrical power grids and supply much of the power needed while docked, reducing emissions. The company is also equipping its ships with the technology needed to plug into shore power, with a target of having approximately 70% of its fleet equipped by 2025. It acknowledges that land-based infrastructure expansion is underway to support this effort.

The company's approach to collaboration underscores its commitment to working with stakeholders across the maritime industry and beyond to drive positive change and accelerate the transition to a more sustainable future.

As stated by Jessica John, the Vice President of ESG, Investor Relations, and Corporate Communications of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., the company recognises that there are still fundamental challenges that need to be addressed for the cruise industry to achieve full decarbonisation by 2050. However, it is not waiting for these challenges to dissolve but instead is taking action now to implement efficient solutions, innovate for future solutions, and collaborate with stakeholders along the way.

Its strategy is anchored in good governance and effective risk management as it works to advance its climate action efforts and build resilience. The company acknowledges the importance of proactive measures and immediate actions to optimise efficiency, invest in innovation, and engage in collaborative efforts with stakeholders to drive positive change.

For more information on the company's climate action strategy and targets, you can watch the video highlighting its efforts and visit its website for additional information.

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