Between dumping waste from thousands of passengers into the ocean to using an exorbitant amount of fuel and polluting the air with its toxins; cruise ships have gained a blanketed reputation for being a socially irresponsible way to travel.
The potential of traveling to several countries in one swoop is inviting. There’s no need to fly, drive or even check into each country. Duty free shopping is at every stop. An entry from one of Tripadvisor’s travel forums shares, “There will be no customs or immigration in the ports, that’s essentially handled by the cruise line as you’re all en masse covered under their agreement.” Merely walk off the ship, enjoy the on-shore activities and come back at the requested time.
Keeping the same accommodations in several countries is appealing to travelers as well. Having to research multiple hotels before the trip can drain the fun out of the trip before it even starts. A cruise eliminates all of that. Have the luggage brought in at the beginning of the cruise, hang up your things and leave them there until it’s time to go home. Packing and moving from hotel to hotel can happily be skipped when traveling by cruise ship.
But what about all of those terrible things cruise ships do? The ship could use a ton of water and electricity, emit toxins and gases into the air. Plus, are cruise ships bad for the ocean? Some ships have been spotted dumping their waste in the beautiful oceans causing destruction to the marine wildlife below.
Despite all of these negatives, there are some cruise ships that are focused on being environmentally friendly and sustainable. So, it can be socially responsible to travel by cruise ship. For example, some cruise ships use a hybrid system to propel the boat. There’s even one ship that doesn’t use fuel at all when it is underway. According to the company, “Hurtigruten’s hybrid electric–powered MS Roald Amundsen makes maritime history as the first cruise ship in the world to sail purely on battery power.”
Consider chartering a sailboat, or catamaran for travel instead. Driven by the wind instead of a motor, sailing can be a fabulous sustainable option for travel. Solar powers everything on board. A full crew is present to cater to its guests. There are only a handful of people on board and with a shallower draft, a sailboat can be much more private and exclusive.
There are cruise ships that use reusable water bottles and use food from local sources along the route. Still, others have a destination of a workcamp, where cruise ship guests work with locals in community projects. Researching each cruise option will yield answers to that specific boat and if it has the key components to be an environmentally safe vessel. There are so many ways for cruise ships to be a sustainable and responsible choice of travel. It’s up to the public to push cruise lines in the direction of sustainability by only traveling on cruises that are sensitive to the planet.