With a lot of people being more environmentally cautious nowadays, it is no surprise to know that even cargo vessels and cruise lines are getting involved in the fight against climate change.
This is great news not just for the green movement, but for everybody involved. It won’t lead to loss of charter and would even bring in more business as more people are now inclined to support companies that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. But just how are cruise lines making the transition to going green?
Alternative Power Sources
Cruise companies are now making the transition to using alternative fuel sources such as liquified natural gas (LNG) to power their ships. Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. have both led the industry in reducing their carbon footprints.
Carnival has invested over a billion dollars in newer green technology starting with the AIDAnova, the industry’s first LNG-powered cruise ship, with 10 more in order between 2019 and 2025. RLLC has a couple set to be delivered in 2022 and 2024.
Other smaller companies have also joined the movement to go green with alternative fuels such as ultra-low sulphur marine fuel, which has significantly lowered sulphur oxide and carbon emissions.
No to Single-Use Plastic
A lot of cruise companies have started (with some having already achieved) the drive to eliminate single-use plastics onboard their ships. Lindblad Expeditions rolled out a comprehensive plan to do away with the use of bottles, straws, stirrers, and cups fleetwide since 2018. Oceana Cruises and Vero Water have joined forces in January 2019 to replace the cruise company’s water distillation systems with environmentally friendly ones.
Most, if not all, companies have made it a priority to remove single-use plastic in all their fleets.
Efficient Food and Waste Management
The International Maritime Organization has set certain standards and protocols with food-waste management for cruise liners. While there are provisions to dispose of food waste in ‘special areas’ off-shore, most of the garbage has to be handled ashore or onboard. This may prove more challenging for bigger ships, but smaller ships can help lead the way. Some companies ask guests to select meal choices earlier in the day so they do not overproduce food that leads to excessive waste.
Lindblad strictly implements the reduce-reuse-recycle system on all their ships, with some ships having incinerators on board to reduce the amount of garbage they hand over when they get to shore.
Royal Caribbean and Carnival are both working with local communities to study and understand how overtourism impacts a community and locality. If you’re not familiar with the term ‘overtourism’, it is simply an expression that refers to the negative impacts of tourism.
The entire industry is committed to making all tours adhere to the standards set by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. They also realize that their guests won’t enjoy the experience much if they are faced with an overcrowded port and ship. Controlling the number of tourists allowed on a tour makes it easier to sustain a cruise and observe the set standards.
With the way technology is advancing, we can all look forward to more eco-friendly breakthroughs from cruise lines and the maritime-tourism industry altogether. One more win for Planet Earth.