Going Green on a Cruise

If you’re looking for vacation options that are environmentally friendly, look at cruising. Most cruise lines operate in compliance with extensive international guidelines for environmental stewardship, and many do even more. After all, part of the appeal of cruising is the opportunity to enjoy beautiful stretches of water and the healthy marine life within.

In addition to the recycling programs that have become common during the past 20 years, ships are being built or retrofitted with solar panels, cooking oil-to-biodiesel fuel conversion systems, and energy-efficient lighting and fixtures.

Beaches catch garbage from passing vessels

Beaches catch garbage from passing vessels – do your part in prevention too by not throwing anything over board when cruising. ( Courtesy: Pixabay)

Here are some other green trends in cruising:

  • On board environmental officers whose full-time job is to ensure the effectiveness of all environmental operations at sea, in port and on private islands.
  • “Zero discharge” for recycling or incinerating all solid waste, either on board or in appropriate in-port facilities. This includes everything from paper, plastic, glass, and metal to toner cartridges, refrigerants and photo processing liquids.
  • Advanced treatment systems that purify and recycle wastewater.
  • Purchasing more food and other supplies in bulk and/or from environmentally responsible providers.
  • Special hull coatings that reduce surface-to-water resistance and enable ships to be more fuel-efficient.
  • Programs that donate furniture and other usable items from remodelled ships – beds, desks, sofas, linens, unused toiletries and more – to charitable organisations, keeping them out of landfills.
  • The ability to “plug in” to local power sources while in dock, which helps reduce fuel emissions.

Specific cruise lines are making other special efforts to improve their environmental footprints. Here are a few:

Reusing your towels and linen helps! (Coutesy: Bigstock)

Reusing your towels and linen helps! (Courtesy: Bigstock)

  • Disney Cruise Line has a program that combines scientific research with hands-on conservation to strengthen the coral reef around the cruise line’s private island, Castaway Cay.
  • Royal Caribbean International has eliminated small, disposable plastic items – such as toiletry bottles, plastic plates and flatware – for reusable or biodegradable items.
  • Viking Ocean Cruises built its new ocean-going ships with dual-fuel systems that produce cleaner exhaust.

While you’re on board, you can do your part, too. You can turn off lights and turn down cooling or heating when leaving your stateroom, and use your towels and linens for more than one day. These practical steps can have a big impact when practised by everyone on board.

To select a cruise line with progressive green policies and practices, get help from your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.