On its inaugural journey, the largest cruise ship in the world sailed from Miami, Florida, but methane emissions from the ship have raised concerns.
There are 20 decks on the 365-meter (1,197-foot) Icon of the Seas, which can accommodate up to 7,600 passengers. The vessel is owned by Royal Caribbean Group.
The ship is leaving on a seven-day Caribbean island-hopping excursion.
Environmentalists fear that the ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) will release airborne methane, which is harmful.
The ship, registered in the Bahamas, features six water slides and seven swimming pools. It was built at a shipyard in Turku, Finland.
It was constructed for $2 billion (£1.6 billion) and includes over 40 eateries, lounges, and bars.
LNG has a higher burning efficiency than conventional marine fuels like fuel oil, but there is a chance that some of the gas may leak and release methane into the atmosphere.
Compared to carbon dioxide, methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas.
British news agency Reuters quoted director of the Marine Programme at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Bryan Comer, as saying, “It’s a step in the wrong direction. We would estimate that using LNG as a marine fuel emits over 120% more life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than marine gas oil.”
In a report published earlier this week, the ICCT made the case that methane emissions from ships running on LNG were greater than what is currently thought to be the case.