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Cruise Line Seeks To Trim Fuel Bill

GREG ALLEN: I'm Greg Allen in Miami, where cruise ships, like airlines, are also facing huge and growing fuel costs. Royal Caribbean, the industry's second largest cruise operator this year, expects its fuel bill to rise by $225 million. The company has taken common-sense steps on its cruise ships, turning off air conditioning, closing curtains in passenger cabins, and replacing halogen lights with new energy-efficient LEDs.

John Krousouloudis with Royal Caribbean's Celebrity Cruise Line says most of the company's ships now also use a new type of silicon-based paint that gets rid of a major problem, marine growth on ships' hulls.

Mr. JOHN KROUSOULOUDIS (Vice President, Marine Operations for Celebrity Cruises) Marine growth is what really creates the hull resistance in the water that drags up your fuel bill.

ALLEN: Royal Caribbean is also taking steps to optimize itineraries, adjusting port arrival and departure times so that ships can reduce speeds and save fuel whenever possible. As a purveyor of luxury, Krousouloudis says Royal Caribbean has to balance the drive for energy efficiency against the demand for passenger comfort. Later this year, he says a new ship, the Solstice, will join the Celebrity Line fleet, and it does just that.

Mr. KROUSOULOUDIS: A whole array of things are turning to the ship to make it more efficient, starting with a whole form, for example, the way the form was designed using the latest technology, all the way to the installation of solar panels on the ship. This is the first ship in our fleet that is going to have solar panels.

ALLEN: Krousouloudis hopes eventually to retrofit other ships in the fleet with solar panels. After all, he says, cruise ships always try to go where it's sunny and nice.

At the port of Miami, Greg Allen, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.