Owner of Asuka II to build Japan's largest luxury cruise ship

Kyodo -- Mar 31
The owner of Japan's largest cruise ship, Asuka II, said Wednesday it will build an even bigger yet eco-friendly 51,950-ton ship with completion aimed for 2025, anticipating a post-pandemic recovery in travel demand.

Passenger capacity will be reduced to about 740, or 85 percent of that of the 50,444-ton Asuka II, which was built in 1990, operator NYK Cruises Co. said. The firm is expected to raise 71 billion yen ($642 million) to fund the construction, mainly via syndicated loans from 30 banks, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Manufactured by German shipbuilder Meyer Werft GmbH, the new ship's engines will be powered by liquefied natural gas, which emits less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide than diesel. The vessel's name has yet to be decided.

It will be equipped with ventilation and ion sterilization systems as well as no-contact elevators enabling passengers to ride without touching the buttons as part of steps to reduce infection risks.

- Kyodo