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Cruising our way to a more sustainable future

Sailing towards a greener future

Sustainable cruises

Posted on

02 Jun 2021

Environmental sustainability is a hot topic around the world as many are concerned with safeguarding our planet. We are all responsible for lessening our impact on the environment and the cruise industry is part of this incredible global effort. Here’s how your favourite cruise lines are helping to guide us towards a more sustainable future:

Fuelling the future

Green technologies are being incorporated into newly built ships, meaning that the new generation of ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) will eliminate sulphur emissions, slash nitrogen oxides by 85%, cut fine particles by between 95% and 100% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, there are just two cruise ships powered by LNG, P&O Cruises’ Iona and AIDA Cruises’ AIDAnova. But with a further 26 on order, including P&O’s Arvia and Royal Caribbean’s Icon-class ships, the cruise industry is well on its way to fuelling the future sustainably.

Expedition cruise line Hurtigruten is also setting a new industry standard by building the world’s first hybrid electric-powered expedition cruise ships. These revolutionary ships are packed with green technology and will be the backbone of the greenest and most advanced fleet of expedition ships the travel industry has ever seen.

Single-use plastics and recycling

Many cruise lines have opted to eliminate or reduce single-use plastics on board. Today’s cruise ships recycle 60% more waste per person than the average person at home. Hurtigruten was the first major travel company to remove single-use plastic from all of their ships, restaurants and hotels. This paved the way for other cruise lines to follow suit with the likes of Royal Caribbean, Cunard, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises removing or reducing single-use plastics on board.

Other ways of living more sustainably are being undertaken too - Costa Cruises have donated more than 150,000 portions of leftover food to charity and Carnival Cruise Line collects almost 40 tons of discarded soap a year from its ships to be recycled into brand new bars for communities in need across the globe.

Energy efficiency

Spending a few weeks sailing the seas on a luxury liner is an idea that appeals to a growing number of people. But as we know, cruise ships do not simply sail from port to port. Using a great deal of energy for heating, electricity, air conditioning and various other aspects of life on board, many cruise lines are looking at ways they can be more energy-efficient and help to develop future climate solutions. Here are just some of the ways the cruise industry is becoming more energy-efficient:

  • Air lubrication systems for ship hulls to reduce drag and fuel consumption for greater efficiency.
  • Energy-efficient engines that consume less fuel and reduce emissions.
  • Shore-side power capability that allows ships to “plug in” when available at ports of call for overall emission reduction.
  • Special paint coatings for ship hulls that reduce fuel consumption by up to 5%.
  • Installation of tinted windows, higher efficiency appliances and HVAC systems and windows that capture and recycle heat.
  • Optimised itineraries affecting speed, routes and distances travelled to significantly reduce fuel consumption.
  • LED lighting which lasts 25 times longer and uses 80% less energy.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has also recently announced its initiative to reduce the rate of carbon emissions globally in the cruise industry by 40% by 2030. This means we can expect more breakthroughs and technological advancements as we cruise our way to a more sustainable future.

10 ways to be greener at sea

  1. Bring your own refillable water bottle and a reusable shopping bag for on-shore shopping.
  2. Keep the same towels and bed linen for as long as possible.
  3. Put unused cabin notices, newspapers and other literature in recycling bins.
  4. Take eco-tours such as walking, cycling and active excursions instead of coaches.
  5. If you can, use the stairs rather than the lift.
  6. Participate in on board lectures, which include such green topics as marine life and the environment.
  7. Keep balcony doors closed where possible to conserve energy.
  8. Forgo a paper bill in favour of viewing your account from in-cabin TVs, on board kiosks or via mobile apps that can be downloaded.
  9. Use reef-friendly suncream. Many ingredients in traditional suncream have been found to cause damage to reefs and other ocean life.
  10. Respect the environment and indigenous cultures visited during shore excursions.

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