Planning on taking a cruise? If you care about the environment, you might want to read this first…
Cruising on the high seas enjoying the fresh ocean air and soaking up the sun may seem like a harmless and fun way to enjoy nature. But did you know that many cruise lines contribute tons of pollution to our oceans every year?
In fact, cruise ships that carry thousands of people can have the environmental impact of a small town – and since international waters aren’t very well regulated when it comes to pollution, some cruise lines simply pump their waste directly into the ocean – yuck!
Does this mean you should never take a cruise?
Not exactly, but if you want to be an environmentally responsible traveler, you should take a good, hard look at the environmental practices of the cruise line you are considering before you make your reservation.
Here are a few factors to consider, as well as how some of the major cruise lines stack up:
1.) Let’s start with water. Cruises employ desalination for fresh water consumption, so passengers aren’t depleting ports’ potable water supplies. What happens after the water is used is more important. Has a cruise line installed the state-of-the-art sewage and waste treatment gear on board, or does it simply dump untreated waste into the ocean? The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has committed to installing advanced waste water treatment equipment across its entire fleet. Norwegian, Disney, Celebrity, Cunard and Seabourn Cruise Lines have all received “A” grades for their waste water treatment from Friends of the Earth.
2.) Cruise lines don’t do so well on air pollution control. Only one line, Princess Cruises, scored as high as a “B” on mitigating air pollution. Combining the ratings, only four lines scored “C” or better in the overall ratings, those offered by Holland America Line, Princess, Norwegian and Disney Cruise Lines.
So what should a green living traveler do? Shop by individual ship. Several of these are rated “A” across the board by Friends of the Earth: Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas; Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Summit; Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess, Golden Princess, Grand Princess, Island Princess, Regal Princess, Sea Princess, Sun Princess; Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder; and Holland America Line’s Noordam, Oosterdam, Veendam and Westerdam.
3.) Still, at their best, these ships burn fossil fuel, adding to carbon pollution and global warming. The greenest cruises for green living travelers are those that rely on wind power, like Windjammer Cruises….
Cruising on a sailboat is the best choice for those looking for green travel on a cruise that is green-conscious.