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The Environmental impact of Cruising

In a world which is becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of its actions, it is only right that the environmental impact of cruising be looked into and constantly monitored and improved. With cruise holidays becoming more and more popular with more passengers travelling by ship every year and bigger ships constantly being built environmental impact is undoubtedly a contentious issue.

How responsible is cruise tourism for the environment and is it an eco-friendly form of travel? How are cruise companies working to reduce their negative impact on the fragile environment?

With 24 new ships(including NCL’s Breakaway below) scheduled to be constructed within the next 5 years in Europe alone and cruise ships are increasingly becoming larger and larger and evolving into floating cities, rather than a simple means of transportation and their impact is something which clearly needs to be closely monitored.

Norwegian Breakaway

There are many regulatory bodies such as the International Maritime Organisation who ensure that the cruise industry is one of the most highly regulated within the travel industry. There are a number of steps which cruise companies have taken in recent years to ensure their environmental impact is reduced.

Fuel efficiency is one of the main ways cruise companies try to ensure they aren’t causing the environment unnecessary damage.

A number of changes have been brought in over time to ensure greater fuel efficiency and less consumption which has included reducing cruising speeds and cruise ships spending longer in many ports in order to preserve fuel. This is also excellent for passengers who can enjoy a few extra hours on land exploring new places. A number of cruise companies have opted to stay overnight in many ports such as St. Petersburg, Venice and Singapore which allows passengers to see these places by night and gain a new perspective on them.


All newer ships are designed with fuel efficiency and economy in mind. This includes their hulls being painted, designed and continually cleaned in order to greatly reduce drag through the water.

Older ships have also had their engines completely replaced with newer, more efficient engines which has worked to immensely reduced fuel consumption and thus, environmental impact.

Cruise companies have also improved their on board waste sorting and recycling facilities. I haven’t seen a cruise ship rubbish bin for years that hasn’t had separate compartments for different types of waste such as aluminium cans, paper and glass. Many cruise ships even have recycling facilities on board which allows them to crush items into manageable sizes which are then transported to recycling plants on land.

With all these practices in place, plus many, many more, it is clear that the cruise industry as a whole are committed to reducing their environmental impact and are attempting to be as green as possible.


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