Cruise lines have been criticised for years about their perceived negative impact on the environment; cruise ships are big, bold and they can be bad. Many environmentally minded travellers might forgo a cruise holiday altogether because of these ecological facts but recent green initiatives undertaken by industry leaders like Royal Caribbean are changing the way cruise lines operate and taking important steps toward environmental friendliness.
For eco-conscious travellers who are interested in cruise holidays, there are some easy and effective ways to set sail without feeling guilty.
1. Depart from a nearby Port
The easiest way to reduce your carbon emissions as they relate to travel is to avoid flying to meet your ship. If you have to fly, book a non-stop flight to ensure you’re being as efficient as possible. New ports in Brooklyn, Charleston, Vancouver and Mobile, Alabama mean that there are more departure options for travellers which can potentially reduce overall emissions tremendously.
2. Check Policies on Environmental Practices
Several cruise lines including Royal Caribbean are investing millions into advanced wastewater treatment technology which involves treating wastewater so it is safe to discharge at sea. They are also adding gas turbines to newer ships which reduce emissions of nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide by 80% and 94% respectively. For ecologically conscious travellers, it’s worth investigating each cruise line’s environmental efforts and supporting responsible, green companies.
3. Choose Cruises that focus on Supporting the Environment
The easiest way to reduce carbon emissions is to travel on a smaller ship (less than 150 people). Beyond this, there are several companies that purchase carbon offsets and/or contribute a portion of each fare to different environmental organizations around the world. Some boats even go so far as to offer free transport on board to eco-organizations and others do their part by only sourcing sustainable seafood for on-board meals.
While many cruise lines continue to innovate with respect to their environmental impact, this trend in corporate behaviour is encouraging. Cruise lines are responding to increasing demands for ecologically conscious practices and transforming a massive industry in the process. Travellers looking for green holidays no longer have to rule out cruising and can experience the wonder of ocean travel first hand.