Going Green on the High Seas

If eco-friendly, sustainable travel is your family’s thing, chances are you’ve never been on a cruise. In a culture of throwaway pieces and one-time-use items, it’s easy to see how the cruise line industry went so far off course when it comes to sustainable practices. As all waste goes out of sight, out of mind, travelers go on with the vacation not considering the hundreds of tons of fuel oil burning beneath them.

Cruise lines have been known for excessive use of plastic and poor waste management — until recently. As of late, cruise lines of all shapes and sizes have made moves to go green.

Cunard and P&O Cruises think big while acting small with newly announced intentions to remove all single-use plastics from cruise ships by 2022. This includes hotel items as well as food packaging. What may seem like a small and simple act is expected to have a big impact on the environment.

mother and son on a cruise

© Sakkmesterke | Dreamstime.com

By cutting out — or, at least, reducing —one-time-use items, Cunard and P&O Cruises can cut down on needless waste.

These cruise lines also take better care from a recycling standpoint and enact stricter regulations. Beginning with suppliers, Cunard and P&O will avoid plastics wherever possible from water bottles and straws to ordering environmentally friendly products to replace the single-use items.

Both cruise lines have new ships launching 2020–2022 to be powered by liquefied natural gas, cutting down on gas pollution and the new standard in the cruising industry.

Built by Japanese company Peace Boat, the Ecoship is a brand new vessel on the cruise scene, expected in 2020, and one of the most sustainable ships on the water.

The all-new vessel carries 2,000 guests at a time, produces 30 percent less carbon dioxide and requires 50 percent less electricity than current ship models. Although a large vessel, Ecoship requires 20 percent less energy while sailing and boasts sustainable features.

Explore the ship’s lush greenery planted across five decks — absorbing extra water while producing fresh vegetables for guests. The Ecoship also features 10 retractable solar sails and wind generators utilizing natural elements in cruise travel.

The travel industry as a whole has been on a green kick, changing the way we travel for the better. From farm-to-table hotel restaurants to recycling and clean fuel, the countless easy and effective ways to reduce our carbon footprints transformed the way we travel.