Eco friendly cruises
Here’s a phrase we never thought we’d read: green cruising. Or even sustainable cruises. Who thought cruising would ever be a type of vacation we mention in the same sentence as eco-friendly? It still seems like a long way to go, but the industry is shifting to an interesting direction.
When Kacey Bradley’s article about the cruise industries shift towards environmentally friendly practices came out in 2019, it was the beginning of a new era. Much has happened since!
Cruise industry major cause of pollution
Previously, the image of the cruise industry was damaged by terrible claims about how much pollution it causes, how much environmental destruction is causes and how many premature deaths it is connected to, most of them justified, surely.
But the 2020s are seeing more and more LNG (liquid natural gas) powered ships built. Several cruise companies are operating ships with this new technology, the cleanest-burning fuel available for ships at the moment. This way emission are reduced significantly and “produces virtually no particulates or ash” addressing the problem of air quality.
LNG powered cruise ships
1. AIDAsol Northern Europe, Around the World Trip
The AIDAsol was the first ship with LNG technology and it can only use it while in port, as opposed to newer ship that can also run on LNG at sea.
She is spending most of 2022 in Western Europe, sailing the English Channel and the fjords of Norway, all the way up to the arctic circle. But then she is going on a trip around the world! An incredible voyage awaits her over 117 days from October 2022 until February 2023.
2. ADIAprima Europe
AIDAprima will sail around Europe for the foreseeable furture, mostly one or two-week cruises. She will sail in Norway, the English Channel, Western Europe and the Western Mediterranean.
3. AIDAperla Northern Europe / Caribbean
The AIDAperla is coming back from the Caribbean to Europe in April 2022. Then, she is going to Norway for the summer season before returning Barbados in October 2022.
4. AIDAnova Canary Islands, Norway, Baltic Sea
The AIDAnova spends her winters cruising around the Canary Islands of Spain in the Atlantic. In the summer she will come up to Norway and also go around Denmark into the Baltic Sea for 7 day cruises to/from Kiel, Germany. If you want to do Norway and the Baltic Sea it can be combined to a 14 day cruise.
5. Costa Smeralda Mediterranean
The Costa Smeralda will set sail in the 2022 season. She features 1550 balcony cabins, 13 pools and hot tubs, 11 restaurants and 19 pubs.
Her first voyages will be 8 day cruises of the Western Mediterranean: Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Palermo, Civitavecchia/Rome, Savona, Marseille.
6. Carnival Mardi Gras Caribbean
A ship built for fun, almost a floating theme park! Carnival is known to make cruising affordable and less fancy, so the whole family can enjoy it.
She is already sailing on week-long cruises of the Caribbean from Florida.
7. P&O Cruises UK Iona Western Europe
The Iona is cruising the Atlantic along western Europe with Spain and Portugal as well as Canary Island itineraries in the Spring and Fall of 2022.
In the summer she is going up to Norway for cruises of the fjords. Start and finish of each of her voyages is in Southampton, UK.
8. Costa Toscana Mediterranean
The Costa Toscana will spend 2022 in the Mediterranean for the most part and towards the end of the year go on a transatlantic journey to Brazil, where she will spend the winter.
In the Spring of 2023 she will come back across the ocean to Europe.
9. AIDAcosma Western Europe, Mediterranean, Arabian peninsula
AIDAcosma is a new ship, starting her career in Western Europe (Belgium, France, UK, Germany) and then along the west coast of Europe to the Mediterranean for the late Spring and Summer of 2022.
In the Fall she will make her way to the Arabian peninsula and cruise around Dubai.
10. Carnival Celebration Caribbean
The Celebration is Carnival’s new ship, setting sail from Miami this year for cruises of the Caribbean and across the Atlantic to Southampton.
She will be able to host over 5300 guests and 1700 crew and provide all the fun Carnival passengers are used to.
11. P&O UK Arvia Caribbean, Mediterranean
The Arvia is scheduled for the Maiden Cruise in December of 2022 from Southampton to the Canary Islands. From there she will go on to the Caribbean for the winter.
In the Spring of 2023 she will sail to the Mediterranean for one and two-week cruises from/to Southampton. Afterwards, in October 2023 she is going back across the Atlantic to the Caribbean for the winter.
Off to a good start
LNG also has its challenges. One of them being that you cannot use it in any engine. Ships have to be built with specific engines that can combust this type of fuel, other engines will fail. This is why companies don’t just load LNG instead of the heavy oil but the transition is slow, ship by ship that they order at the shipyards.
There are certainly other aspects of cruising that the industry in general still needs to address, relating to grey water and waste disposal. However, LNG is a great step in the right direction and as such deserves to be acknowledged.
Economic and social sustainability contributions of cruising
And while cruise tourists crowd many cities, cruising has also brought new streams of income to some remote islands around the world.
There is also the notion of travel in general being a force for good in the world. A force for exploration, curiosity, open-mindedness, understanding.
Also, with cruising being so convenient a mode of travel, I wonder how many people get to experience new countries this way each year who would not otherwise have gone there. If you are aware of statistics to that end, please do share!
What do you think? Is cruising coming out of the doghouse what sustainability is concerned? Comment below!