The Disney Wish is among the most energy efficient cruise ships at sea, and here’s how Disney Imagineers made it possible!
Walt Disney Imagineers designed the Disney Wish to be among the most fuel and energy-efficient cruise ships on the water. Through a combination of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and numerous advances in ship design, Disney Cruise Line’s (DCL) newest ship is estimated to be nearly 30 percent more fuel efficient and emit approximately 20 percent less greenhouse gases.
“At Disney Cruise Line, we remain dedicated to limiting our impact on the environment as we support The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2030,” said Sharon Siskie, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Cruise Line. “We continue to look for innovative ways to make a difference across our entire fleet, including using new technology to increase fuel efficiency and reduce energy consumption.”
Compared to traditional diesel or marine fuel, the Wish’s use of LNG eliminates nearly all harmful sulfur oxides and particulate matter emissions. Additionally, it reduces the emission of a greenhouse gas known as nitrogen oxide by 37 percent and onboard carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 20 percent. This is not the first time DCL has used cleaner-burning fuels to power its ships. In 2020, DCL converted its current four-ship fleet to ultra-low-sulfur fuel that exceeds international maritime regulations.
The Disney Wish also conserves energy onboard through next-generation heating and cooling systems, expansive use of LED lighting, a best-in-class wastewater purification system, hydrodynamic hull and propulsion designs, and numerous systems optimized for energy conservation.
In the engine room, one way the Disney Wish uses less fuel is with an interconnected system that re- purposes heat from the engines to warm the super-cooled LNG that powers the ship. In return, the cold energy from the LNG tanks is recycled into the ship’s energy-efficient air-conditioning systems, reducing the amount of electricity needed to keep the ship’s interior cool. This process is expected to save the Disney Wish 200 tons of fuel per year!
The ship’s demand-based heating and cooling systems will further save energy by adapting to real-time conditions in delivering the ideal amount of hot or cold air to Guests’ staterooms, galleys, and other areas of the ship. Doing so will conserve 700 tons of fuel annually while maintaining a comfortable onboard environment for all. In addition to staying comfortable while onboard, Guests will notice that 90 percent of the ship’s lighting uses LED bulbs, which reduce weekly energy consumption from lighting by approximately 30 percent and lessen the demand on the ship’s cooling systems.
In addition to using reverse osmosis to turn ocean water into potable water onboard, the Disney Wish will save approximately 7.5 million gallons of fresh water each year by recycling naturally occurring condensation from the onboard air-conditioning units and using it for onboard laundry facilities and for cleaning the outer decks of the ships. An energy-efficient wastewater treatment system onboard saves 500 tons of fuel each year and purifies the ship’s wastewater to levels far exceeding international shipping standards.
Advanced ship design allows the Disney Wish to glide through the water with ease. The hydrodynamic hull and propeller are shaped to limit the ship’s resistance against the water and reduce the amount of engine power needed to propel the ship – saving nearly 1,800 tons of fuel annually and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent. The sides of the hull are coated with a slick, silicone-based paint to further reduce friction against the water and limit the growth of barnacles to further lessen the ship’s overall drag.
The Disney Wish will continue DCL’s fleet-wide initiatives to reduce waste and conserve resources through various onboard initiatives. In all food and beverage locations on the ship, washable dinnerware is offered to Guests instead of single-use plastic utensils, and biodegradable straws are used instead of plastic ones. Water stations throughout both crew and Guest areas encourage the use of refillable water bottles. Extensive onboard recycling efforts are further enhanced by special programs like DCL’s continued partnership with Nassau to offload used cooking oil to be recycled into biodiesel fuel.
Like all DCL ships, the Disney Wish has dedicated Environmental Officers who are ranked among the most senior leaders onboard. Catalina Jaques and Karl Brown serve as the Disney Wish’s inaugural Environmental Officers and are charged with monitoring the ship’s water quality and supply, training all officers and crew members, and overseeing multiple environmental initiatives. Guided by a state-of-the-art energy monitoring and management system that tracks the ship’s performance, these officers will work with the ship’s crew and DCL’s shoreside Cast Members to ensure the Disney Wish is operating as efficiently as possible while uncovering more ways to enhance the ship’s fuel efficiency.
“It is an honor and privilege to serve as an inaugural Environmental Officer for this magnificent ship,” said Jaques, who comes to the Disney Wish with ten years of experience in the maritime industry. “The ship is infused with more Disney storytelling than ever before, and DCL’s many environmental investments are part of that story. I am excited to continue working with my fellow cast and crew members to ensure the Wish remains one of the most energy-efficient cruise ships on the water, now and well into the future.”
To keep the Disney Wish on the cutting edge of new technologies, in 2023, the ship is expected to be equipped with a 1-megawatt fuel cell, one of the largest such installations in a marine environment. Acting like a battery, the fuel cell will provide additional emission-free energy for various onboard systems. A unit of this size provides enough power, for example, to run all of the ship’s galleys and elevators. This prototype installation will help DCL – and the industry – better understand the feasibility of large-scale fuel cell installations onboard cruise and shipping vessels.
“All of our Disney Cruise Line ships were built with some of the most advanced systems available at the time, and we continue to invest in our fleet by incorporating the latest technology that helps us minimize our impact on the environment,” said Siskie. “The Disney Wish serves as a floating lab that will help us discover how new innovations can be used throughout the rest of our fleet to help us meet our environmental goals.”
Photos used in this article are courtesy of Disney Cruise Line and The Walt Disney Company.