Panels for collecting solar energy, collection bins for recyclable materials, compact fluorescent lighting in the staterooms – all are visible signs of the cruise lines’ commitment to green initiatives. Many more environmentally conscious practices, including some that are not as visible to cruise passengers, have become common on cruise ships.
For example, new ships have hull designs and coatings that help them move more smoothly through the water, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. In staterooms and common areas, window coatings help keep the sun’s heat outside. More efficient fixtures and appliances, ranging from toilets and showerheads to ice-making machines, help reduce water and energy use.
Greater energy efficiency is also achieved through ship operations. Some cruise lines carefully schedule port arrival and departure times so ships can travel at the most fuel-efficient speeds. Cruise lines also reduce their waste streams by purchasing in bulk, reusing packaging when possible, and actively recycling glass, metal, wood, cardboard and paper. Some ships donate rather than dispose of replaced mattresses, televisions and other furnishings.
To provide their guests with the vacation of a lifetime, cruise lines depend on the beauty of the world’s waterways and their shorelines, so it makes sense to protect them. Many cruise lines donate to organizations that work to protect oceans and marine life.
As the cruise lines come up with new programs and initiatives for environmental protection, you can do play a role, too. On your next cruise, be sure to use energy wisely (for example, turn the cabin lights off and turn the air conditioning down when you leave), hang up your bath towels for re-use, and follow onboard recycling guidelines.