Cruise Ships Implementing Greener Practices On Board And Shoreside

With World Environment Day being celebrated on 5 June, it is the perfect time to consider the many strategies that cruise ships have been actively implementing to become more environmentally friendly and reduce their ecological footprint. As leading cruise ship managers, COLUMBIA cruise services is advocating for many of these ideas to become best practices throughout the industry. In this blog, we will discuss some of the more widespread initiatives found in today’s greener cruise ship industry.

  • LNG-Powered Ships: Many cruise lines are investing in ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead of traditional marine fuels. LNG emits fewer pollutants such as sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter, resulting in cleaner air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems: Modern cruise ships are equipped with advanced wastewater treatment systems to minimise the discharge of pollutants into the ocean. These systems treat sewage and wastewater to remove contaminants before releasing the water back into the sea.
  • Energy-Efficient Technologies: Cruise lines are incorporating energy-efficient technologies into their ships, including LED lighting, advanced propulsion systems, and optimised HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. These technologies help reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.
  • Alternative Energy Sources: Some cruise lines are exploring alternative energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines to supplement onboard power generation. These renewable energy sources help decrease reliance on fossil fuels and mitigate environmental impact.
  • Environmental Partnerships and Certifications: Many cruise lines collaborate with environmental organisations and participate in voluntary sustainability initiatives. They also seek certifications such as ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems) and adhere to standards set by organisations like the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship.
  • Slow Steaming: Some cruise lines practice slow steaming, which involves reducing cruising speed to conserve fuel and decrease emissions. While this may increase travel time slightly, it significantly reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Biodiversity Conservation Efforts: Cruise lines are increasingly focused on protecting marine biodiversity and fragile ecosystems. They support initiatives such as marine conservation projects, coral reef restoration, and wildlife conservation programmes in destinations they visit.
  • Educational Programmes: Cruise lines may organise educational programmes and activities on board to inform passengers and crew members about environmental conservation, biodiversity, and the importance of protecting natural resources. This may include lectures, workshops, and interactive sessions led by environmental experts or onboard naturalists.
  • Clean-Up Campaigns: Cruise companies often organise clean-up campaigns in collaboration with local communities and environmental organisations in port destinations. Passengers and crew members may volunteer to participate in beach clean-ups, coastal restoration projects, or litter collection efforts to help improve the environment in visited areas.
  • Sustainable Shore Excursions: Cruise lines offer shore excursions that focus on environmental conservation and sustainable tourism practices. These excursions may involve activities such as hiking in nature reserves, visiting eco-friendly attractions, or participating in wildlife conservation projects, allowing passengers to engage with and support local conservation efforts.
  • Reduced Environmental Impact Practices: On board, cruise companies may implement special initiatives to reduce their environmental footprint. This could include reducing single-use plastics, conserving water and energy, promoting recycling and waste reduction, and encouraging passengers to adopt eco-friendly behaviours during their cruise.
  • Partnerships and Donations: Cruise lines may partner with environmental organisations or charities dedicated to conservation and sustainability. They may donate a portion of onboard proceeds or organise fundraising events to support environmental initiatives and projects worldwide.
  • Employee Engagement: Cruise companies engage their employees in environmental initiatives by organising training sessions, workshops, and team-building activities focused on sustainability. Employees may participate in tree planting, recycling programmes, or other eco-friendly activities to demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship.

In addition to these practices becoming part of everyday life with cruise ships, the companies that operate cruises ships often participate in World Environment Day by organising various initiatives both on board their ships and shoreside to raise awareness about environmental issues and promote sustainable practices. They may organise a clean-up campaign in collaboration with local communities at a port destination. Also, cruise companies may launch public awareness campaigns through onboard announcements, newsletters, and digital platforms to inform passengers and crew members about World Environment Day and encourage them to take action to protect the environment both on board and in their daily lives.

By working to implement greener practices industry-wide, and by actively participating in World Environment Day, cruise ship companies contribute to raising awareness about environmental issues and inspire passengers, crew members, and communities to take positive action towards a more sustainable future.