The cruising industry has drawn criticism from environmental protection activists for years; however, the industry’s leading cruise lines are making big investments to make their ships eco-friendlier. Royal Caribbean is spending close to $100-million to retrofit its ships with advanced wastewater treatment technology. Already installed by Norwegian and Celebrity, the technology treats waste water so it is safe to discharge at sea.
Holland America is testing a system that would decrease the air pollution produced by smoke-stacks by using sea water to scrub them. Diesel-powered ships are being phased out, and companies like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are adding gas turbines to their newest ships, which can reduce emissions of nitrous oxide by more than 80 percent. Still others are making simple changes to procedures, like turning off engines when docked and opting for hydro-electric powered transformers on shore.
While the cruising industry may still have a long way to go in becoming truly environmentally friendly, it’s nice for cruisers to know great strides are being made to sail into ‘greener’ waters.