Green Getaways: Cruise Lines Clean Up Their Act

Green Getaways: Cruise Lines Clean Up Their Act

Trent Johnson
Aug 14, 2008

Read any brochure for a cruise line and it seems excessive - a monstrous boat with all the amenities of home and more, from spa to gym & of course billowing smokestacks. Add some highly publicized incidents of offshore dumping, and you've got a floating environmental disaster! So what are cruise lines doing to clean up their act?

Cruisecritic has a great list on some of the things cruise lines are doing to be more green. But is it enough? Or is it simple green washing.

A few highlights:

  • Norwegian Cruise line has been recycling its cooking oil, as much as 40,000 gallons, donating the grease to an organic farmer in Miami, and Hawaii. Several ships in Holland America's and Princess' fleets use plugin power to reduce emissions and fuel usage.

  • Carnival Cruise line offers on-board receptacles for recyclables, although international law allows disposal of some items at sea.

  • Cunard Cruise line only purchases seafood from sustainable sources.

  • Disney Cruise line has applied a more hydro efficient coating to one of its' ships, They Disney Wonder, that is also completely non-toxic and reduces surface resistance in the water.

  • Lindblad Expeditions has partnered with the National Geographic Society to concentrates on extensive environmental research and offers learning cruises.

  • Costa was the first cruise line to be awarded a Green Star notation (in 2005) for its entire fleet by RINA, Italy's Shipping Classification and Certification Agency. They also issue an annual sustainability report for their company.

For a truly green cruise, you might investigate a sailboat cruise, where the main power is that of the wind. Sadly, one of the larger companies to offer such a getaway, Windjammer Cruises, recently went out of business in 2007. Any recommendations?


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