Written by: Sam Ligeti
Cruise lines have a strong responsibility to protect the oceans that they rely on, to create and maintain the seas they travel. The cruise industry is working hard to leave a greener environmental footprint and treat our oceans with the love and respect they deserve. Eviactive partners with Crystal Cruises and the Cunard ship the Queen Mary 2 for our ballroom dance cruises, and we’ve been blown away by their sustainability practices. From more technical changes like a special hull coating that saves energy to a plastic straw ban that everyone embraced, here are the top five ways these two cruise lines are leading the way to greener cruising!
1. Energy-Saving Features
Cruise ships provide everything you could possibly want for a good time—delicious food, fabulous entertainment, poolside afternoons—all while floating on the sea. Pushing a large boat full of activities through the water requires a lot of energy, though, so cruise lines are employing special technologies to help reduce their carbon footprint.
Crystal cruises posts signs in every room reminding guests to reuse their towels and turn off the lights. They changed their corridor lighting from fluorescent lights to LED lights to conserve power, and switched out their downlights for infrared-coated lamps, which also saves some serious wattage.
The Queen Mary 2 has jumped on energy-saving technology as well, applying a low-friction coating to the ship’s hull to help it move more easily through the waves (requiring less power!). As new technologies emerge that cut down on electricity and fuel, cruise ships are quick to get “onboard” with them, if you will excuse the pun!
2. Straw-Free Sailing
When you feel like lounging on the top deck with a margarita in hand, it’s unlikely that a tiny plastic straw will make any difference to your relaxing afternoon. Cruise lines are increasingly banning plastic straws and other single-use plastics, and passengers aren’t missing them! Eviactive gives a huge thumbs up to this initiative (and even helped push Crystal to go plastic-straw free!). Please join us and say no to plastic straws.
In addition to their plastic straw ban, Crystal has done away with disposable garment bags for laundry in favor of reusable bags, eliminating more than 100,000 plastic bags on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity per year, alone! Congratulations to Crystal!
Not to be outdone, the parent company of the Queen Mary 2, Cunard, has pledged to abolish all single-use plastics by 2022, including straws, water bottles and food packaging. Who needs disposable plastics when you have a motivated crew that can easily wash reusable materials instead?
3. Conscientious Crews
Cruise lines know that if they want their passengers to be conscientious and conserve, then they need to lead by example through the behavior of their crews. Both the Queen Mary 2 and Crystal provide rigorous environmental training for all crew members.
Employees onboard the Queen Mary 2 are taught how to hand-sort trash, and the trash is sorted twice, first by cabin stewards and then by a second team. As a result of this double effort, they manage to recycle 50% of all trash! Very impressive!
As for Crystal cruises, they have been doing some amazing work through a special partnership with Clean the World. Crew members gather gently used or untouched amenities on board, like shampoo and conditioner. Clean the World sanitizes and processes these amenities and then donates them to people in need across the globe! Some incredible recycling and charity work right there!
4. Waste Treatment
This isn’t exactly the most fun topic to think about, but it’s impossible to get around the fact that when lots of people live on board a ship, a lot of waste is produced. The good news is that cruise lines are getting increasingly advanced in how they handle waste at sea.
The Queen Mary 2’s chief environmental compliance officer explains that rule number one is that nothing can go overboard. If waste doesn’t go overboard, where does it go, you might ask? Well, waste is either heavily treated and released far from shore according to international regulations, or disposed of at special facilities when back on land.
Crystal is also very transparent about how they treat waste. They even take special care with the ballast water they use, the seawater that ships take on to maintain their stability. When Crystal wants to discharge their ballast water, they do so close to where it was first collected to allow the seawater’s organisms to return to their native sea range! Very cool.
5. Special Projects
At Eviactive, we love that cruise lines are going above and beyond by supporting special environmental projects that get everyone involved. For every guest that travels with us on a cruise ship, we have pledged to (and do) make a donation to the WWF (World Wildlife Federation). Our donations are target to the ocean conservancy fund.
Crystal Cruises run a “You Care, We Care” voluntourism program that connects cruisers and crew with community-based conservation projects at no additional cost. Past projects included volunteer work at an Alaskan salmon hatchery, restoring a garden damaged by a hurricane in St. Maarten, and helping out at animal rescue organizations across Europe.
The Queen Mary 2 gets super sciency thanks to a partnership with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Installing special monitors on board that measure sea temperatures, the Queen Mary 2 is able to collect valuable data about climate change. The data is sent to the European Space Agency to be analyzed – from your cruise ship to a space agency! So cool!
The cruise industry is engaging in many new environmental projects and initiatives which are critical to our future enjoyment of ocean travel. As a passenger, you can help this effort by being mindful about how much energy, water, and other resources you consume. Little things like turning out the lights when leaving your cabin to shutting off the faucet while you brush your teeth have a huge cumulative effect on conserving and protecting the environment we all love! Try our next cruise on Crystal May 31 to June 7, 2020 as we sail from Barcelona to Lisbon or sail with us on Cunard June 29 to July 6 New York round trip to Canada.
Sam is a freelance writer and world traveler dedicated to helping brands make real connections with their audience. You can get in touch with Sam by visiting her website, www.samligeti.com.0