Cruise ships

A cruise ship is an ideal and self-sufficient floating city in constant communication with land. It is designed, built and managed to respect the ecosystems of the areas in which it must operate and to safeguard the health and life of those temporarily living there for work or fun, thousands of people from different countries and cultures, who live together and adhere to its rules of governance.

THE NUMBERS OF COMPLEXITY - What you need on average to build a cruise ship


sqm of public space: the size of 3 football fields


design hours


kms of cable: more than 7 times the distance from Rome to Venice


hours of shipyard work

Monitoring of regulatory developments is a fundamental element, at a strategic and technological level, in the early identification of possible trends in the market and of the emergence of new needs, by proposing solutions that are innovative and competitive at product level and comply with the technical, economic and environmental feasibility standards process level.
We have an active and proactive role in the development of international safety regulations and we are an accredited representative with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the specialized United Nations Agency protecting the safety of human life at sea and the environment.

The main conventions between the IMO’s member states are aimed at:

  • improving maritime security (mostly from a safety point of view) – SOLAS;
  • limiting the pollution of the seas – MARPOL;
  • standardizing maritime labour rules – ILO.

Our ships represent a technological benchmark at the European and global level. They feature the most advanced technologies, with technical solutions that provide energy savings, emission reduction, high performance and high quality. In particular, we follow all the international best practices to minimize a ship’s environmental impact throughout its entire life cycle.

For this reason, we have embraced the objectives of the International Maritime Organization, summarized in the slogan “Safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans”.

The reduction of environmental impact has become one of the most important drivers for design and innovation in the field of cruise ships.
We have developed, validated and applied more than 100 initiatives on our ships aimed at:


  • improving hydrodynamic and propulsive efficiency;
  • exploiting waste heat (fumes and cooling water) with recovery and cogeneration systems;
  • systematically reducing the energy needs of users on board.

Our commitment to reducing emissions of polluting gases is reflected in our adoption of new solutions and technologies, such as:

  • Latest generation diesel engines, combined with the installation of fume purification systems in the exhaust systems.
  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) engines, which allow a significant reduction of emissions compared to traditional engines. This reduction is around 25% in terms of CO2 emissions and over 75% in terms of emissions of other particulates. Fincantieri already built a special LNG powered ferry for Canada in the past and in 2019 it received orders for prototype “dual fuel” cruise ships primarily powered by LNG.
  • Electric or hybrid vessels. The energy supplied by the batteries is used exclusively in particular situations (for example in port) or supplemented by the on-board diesel engines at times of maximum power demand (e.g. maximum speed navigation). Our subsidiary VARD has contracts and offers for various small/medium-sized vessels equipped with electric batteries to cover all or part of the energy requirements. In 2020 VARD delivered the first electric self-driving container ship.

The future lies in the application of fuel cells, electrochemical conversion devices that generate electricity and heat by combining a fuel and a comburent, in the absence of combustion. In this way, no polluting substances are actually produced. In collaboration with the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR, National Research Council) and the Universities of Genoa, Naples and Palermo, with the contribution of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, we have developed a project to realize a laboratory ship approximately 25 metres long to study power generation technologies with low environmental impact. The ship, called Zeus – Zero Emission Ultimate Ship, will be powered by electric propulsion engines, which will be powered by a fuel cell system of about 120 kW and a battery system capable of ensuring around 6 hours’ navigation autonomy at zero emissions, thanks to about 50 kg of hydrogen contained in metal hydride cylinders. Zeus will be the first marine vessel powered exclusively by fuel cells.

To protect the areas subject to cruise navigation, only bacteriologically and chemically pure water can be discharged into the sea. Any other residue must be stored on board and unloaded in port for further treatment.

In particular, our focus on solid waste treatment is realized using collection, dehumidification, kitchen waste treatment; sorting and recycling of hotel waste; compaction and/or incineration (where permitted) of solid waste; pelletizing, storage of waste for subsequent unloading in port.

Liquid waste initiatives instead concern physical and biological treatment (in line with the best land standards) of all on-board wastewater (sewage, grey water, kitchen and laundry effluents); storage of purified water; thickening and drying of residual sludge for subsequent unloading in port.

To avoid contamination with species from different ecosystems, we sterilize ballast water before discharging it, using latest generation ballast water treatment systems, based on the pre-filtering of plankton and subsequent sterilization with ultraviolet rays.

Naval vessels

Thanks to the adoption of an eco-sustainable design process and the increased sensitivity towards ecological issues shown by Navies, we have been able to operate in many fields, adopting solutions aimed at reducing environmental impact.

The new vessels, some of which are already in service, feature design choices aimed at containing environmental impact in terms of emissions to air, fuel consumption, wastewater treatment, use of special treatments to preserve the hull and the possibility, for certain vessels to be delivered shortly, to contain an area of sea that is polluted, with the possibility of collecting and storing the pollutants on board.
As regards power generation, building on more than ten years of experience of submarines, studies are underway for the use of fuel cells on naval vessels.

In particular, we are focusing on solutions aimed at:

Energy saving and reduction of emissions

We are introducing energy savings criteria developed mainly in ship architecture by selecting endothermic engines (both propulsion engines and power generation engines) with appropriate technological solutions and by selecting high energy efficiency materials or materials with high efficiency heat transfer.

Treatment and storage of solid and liquid waste

We have adopted technological solutions for converters. These machines enable solid waste to be dried and sterilized. The reduction in volume and weight and subsequent automatic vacuum storage allow on-board retention to be increased. The modern converters adopted enable a volume reduction of 70% and weight reduction of 30%.
Our focus on the treatment of liquid waste consists of physical and chemical treatment units to collect grey water and sewage and separation units - that separate the pollutants caused by accidental spills – to treat bilge water.


All our ships, cruise ships and naval vessels, are delivered with voluntary certifications such as the Green Passport. These certifications include our commitment to provide, on delivery of the ship, the list of hazardous materials in accordance with the Hong Kong Convention for the safe and environmentally friendly recycling of ships. The classification society will carry out periodic audits throughout the life of the ship to ensure compliance with environmental standards and maintenance of its environmental certification.


Innovation, research and development: 2018-2022 Sustainability Plan objectives and targets

Commitments Objectives Description/ Target Benefits Status Timetable

Investments in research and innovation with the aim of developing sustainable, efficient, safe and competitive products and processes with particular reference to the technologies needed to reduce environmental impact and increase their digitalization

Keep a spending budget in R&D (costs and investments) above € 90 mln/year (of which 60% in clean technologies)

Keep a spending budget in R&D (costs and investments) for Fincantieri S.p.A. above € 90 mln/year (of which 60% in clean technologies)

Confirm the Company's commitment through Research and Development investments with specific reference to clean technologies that will contribute to:

• Anticipating customer needs and providing state-of-the-art solutions

• Bringing climate benefits



In 2020 the the R&D budget (costs and investments) of Fincantieri S.p.A. was 113 million euros, of which 65% in clean technologies such as scrubbers that purify exhaust fumes of hazardous chemicals and pollutants, selective catalytic reduction systems (SCR) for ships or liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion.



Development of solutions and technologies for the resumption of activities in the subsequent exit stages from the pandemic crisis

Develop the offer of solutions and technologies related to the resumption of activities in compliance with the indications and measures issued at national and international level to combat and contain the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in workplaces and in social gathering places


These services will be aimed at providing technical and professional support in the following activities:

«Outdoor» detection tunnel (with related increase in outdoor detection capability)

«Indoor» environmental sanitation mechanisms (through the ionization of circulating air)

• Mitigate the risk of infection

• Ensure business continuity

• Maximize competitiveness and efficiency

• Ensure legislative compliance




In 2020, in order to develop an offer of solutions and technologies tied to the recovery of activities in observance of the instructions and measures issued at the national and international levels to combat and reduce the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic at the workplace and in places of social aggregation, Fincantieri NexTech has developed a tunnel for the outdoor measurement of body temperature and environmental sanitation mechanisms through the ionization of indoor air.



Development of intelligent ships and platforms (smart ships / smart offshore infrastructure) and autonomous ships. Development of innovative solutions for yards (smart yards)

The objective will be developed through the following activities:

A reference framework for secure interconnection (in terms of cybersecurity) between all the on-board systems to exchange/record data in real time (or near real time) on open formats

On-board systems to support the average level of autonomy (e.g. L4 as defined by LLOYD)

Offshore platforms capable of collecting double the energy of current platforms

Industria 4.0 tool to be adopted at yards to increase productivity by 50%

Tool to access digital assembly instructions and monitor progress of production work in real time on company technical systems

Remotely controlled or unmanned military platforms able to operate in scenarios that are dangerous for operators (e.g. firefighting, detection of contaminated areas, etc.) or able to significantly increase the operational effectiveness of the mission

• Optimize performance, minimize operating costs and adhering to the highest safety standards

• Obtain information on the operating status in order to prepare the best operating scenario, even for critical or emergency situations

• Support development of the blue economy

 Work in progress


Environmental impact of products and services: 2018-2022 Sustainability Plan objectives and targets

Commitments Objectives Description/ Target Benefits Status Timetable

Development of ecologically sustainable products and services with the aim of contributing to a circular and low carbon economy

Definition of an eco-design system to promote the development of environmentally sustainable ships

Identify for each project the ecologically sustainable design objectives and ensure that the assumptions, principles and control metrics (KPIs) identified for the construction of an ecologically sustainable product are translated into design choices and acquisition of the plant / machinery that make up the ship product following the internal eco-design procedure. 

In addition, the initiatives already made available will be updated based on the latest technological developments and those which, while widespread and in use for some time, are no longer innovative will be eliminated

Define at least 8 low environmental impact initiatives for the Merchant Shipping Division


Define 10 initiatives, 9 of which are related to CO2 reduction and 1 to containment of noise emitted into water for the Naval Shipping Division

Increase the number of eco-design initiatives available to designers in order to implement new systems and components with low environmental impact



In 2020, we have updated the initiatives already made available in line with the latest technological developments and eliminated those which, having become widespread and in common use for some time, are no longer innovative. With reference to the different environmental aspects, we have defined criteria to enhance internally the technological solutions adopted for each ship built. We defined 8 new environmentally friendly initiatives for the Merchant Shipping Division and 10 new initiatives for the Naval Shipping Division.



Development of maritime ecological dredging services

Develop the offer of services related to maritime dredging by chartering the vessel Decomar from the company Fincantieri Dragaggi Ecologici S.p.A., with regard to:

• Coastal nourishment

• Reclamation of industrial sites

• Port dredging


The project will consist of the following stages:

2020 - Functional test of the Decomar

2022 - Launch of the service

• Maximise the extraction of available resources and minimise waste in individual dredging areas

• Minimise the activity's footprint on the seabed

• Minimise the negative environmental impacts of the aggregate extraction process

• Mitigate the dredging effects of aggregates on other users of the seabed



Fincantieri Dragaggi Ecologici S.p.A. has developed the offer of services related to maritime dredging through the chartering of the vessel Decomar. In 2020, the testing phase began and will end in early 2021 when the dredging activities at the Port of Ravenna begin.



Promote studies and initiatives on the circular economy

Carry out a study on the circular economy for Fincantieri S.p.A.'s cruise ships in collaboration with a university / research centre in order to:

• Analyse the level of maturity of the players in the shipbuilding industry

• Identify an analysis methodology

• Evaluate and identify the tools needed to implement the logic of the circular economy

• Monitor and strengthen the Company in «green» markets and with customers with a strong focus on these issues

• Objectively measure impacts along the entire value chain and product life cycle in order to make informed and effective decisions to improve environmental performance and/or to communicate this performance to investors

• Support management of the brand reputation by improving the company image and relations with institutions and other stakeholders

Work in progress



Develop technological solutions that enable energy savings to be increased for ships with the same features (green ships)

Develop ships with high energy savings from eco-friendly/renewable sources, with reduced environmental impact in terms of emissions into the air, discharges into the sea and noise


Increase ship efficiency by 30%


Eliminate ship emissions in ports and halve navigation emissions

• Decrease greenhouse gas and other environmental impacts

• Maintain competitiveness and product compatibility with the new advanced regulations

Work in progress


Related Topics

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Eco-sustainable design

Quality policy and assurance

Customer satisfaction and retention

Business Model

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