Reduce your environmental footprint while you’re cruising with a few easy tips. When you’re onboard a ship, you’re reliant on your cruise company to do right by the environment. The simplest way you yourself can contribute to minimising your environmental impact is by remembering a few simple things you can do yourself while on holiday.
A lot of these are the little changes we’re being encouraged to make at home. But even though they may seem small, if enough passengers join in, then they can make a difference to reduce their environmental footprint. So what can you do?
Minimise Your Waste
Recycle wherever possible (most cruise ships have recycling bins for paper, plastic, glass and cans, and some have composting bins). Dispose of all your rubbish onshore if you’re visiting ports of call, and definitely don’t throw anything overboard.
Reduce Your Plastics
A few small tips for reducing your plastic usage include bringing a refillable water bottle with you onboard. That way, you don’t have to use disposable plastic bottles. Avoid using plastic drinking straws when possible and pack a reusable tote bag for onshore shopping. Many cruise lines including Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean and have already pledged a fleet-wide, single-use plastic ban. You should still keep an eye on the plastic used in your cabin, as well as being conscious of your usage while on land.
Turn the lights off in your cabin when it’s not needed and unplug electricals (like phone chargers) when they’re not in use. Open a window or balcony door to cool off to avoid using the air con (think of the ocean breeze!). Save water by keeping your showers short, and reusing your bed linen and towels. These little changes make a big difference if everyone is committed to doing things like turning off lights when they leave their cabin.
Bring Your Toiletries
During a seven-night cruise you can quickly get through a dozen travel-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, so instead, pack your soap and shampoo bars. There are plenty of brands that offer eco-friendly solid body products like shampoo, conditioner and body wash which don’t require excessive packaging and can be stored in metal or plastic containers.
Consider A Short Cruise
Travel on smaller cruise ships for shorter holidays. Visit lesser-known, uncrowded destinations with fewer people onboard. Not only does this help with the issue of popular-port overcrowding, but these cruises often run shore tours dedicated to investing in local communities.
Ask More Questions
If you're interested in knowing what a cruise line is doing to help the environment, then check before you book. If you don’t know where you can recycle when you’re onboard, then ask the staff. The more curious we get, the more cruise lines will take these things seriously. Look for key indicators like how they handle wastewater, power usage and decreasing emissions; whether the seafood onboard sustainably sourced and what happens to their recyclable waste.
Sustainability, eco-conscious travel and climate change have never been more important to discuss. The more pressure the cruise lines get from passengers to improve sustainability, the more these issues will rise on their to-do lists. Prioritising and improving will better the cruise industry’s offerings when it comes to environmental choices. But there are still plenty of small changes you can be making now to improve your green footprint while taking a cruise holiday.