before your first cruise

Guest Blog: Is your Cruise Ship Killing the Environment?

Cruise Lines and the Environment

cruise ship killing environment

Recent articles in the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and even Fox news have highlighted the dangers of the smoke emitted by cruise ships. The Independent makes this staggering statement:

‘Each day a cruise ship emits as much particulate matter as a million cars.’

The question you are probably asking is why? Part of the reason is the poor quality of fuel the cruise ships burn, it is called “Heavy Oil”, which is a form of diesel and is the product that is left when crude oil is refined, a process called cracking. In simplistic terms when oil is boiled in the refineries the gas that comes off (LPG) is the purest, followed by petrol and then diesel. Each of these has a varying amount of energy, called calorific value, LPG has the lowest and the varying forms of diesel fuel have the highest. However, the heavy oil at the bottom is highly polluted with Sulphur and other toxic chemicals and shipping companies can buy it very cheaply, as it cannot be used on land to power other transport

The problem of the polluting emissions is exacerbated when you consider the fuel consumption, which is eye-watering. A typical large cruise ship of say 1,200 feet in length, will carry over two million gallons, which is over 9,000,000.00 litres! When cruising it will burn 80,000 gallons per day (363,680 litres). So that means to travel one mile it will consume 30 to 50 gallons. The math’s make for a very high polluting method of transport, hence the fact that one cruise ship could be emitting as much as a million cars in just one day. It is scary, it really is.

Cruise Lines and Sustainable Tourism

Many cruise lines are taking steps to reduce their emissions, one is Costa ‘cruise lines focus on reducing emissions’ who clearly take the dangers very seriously.

Others are doing likewise. Viking Ocean Ships feature an energy-efficient hybrid engine. Optimised streamlined hulls for maximum efficiency and equipment that limits exhaust emissions. This all helps towards Sustainable Tourism.

You can also read more here about P&O’s newest ship, currently under construction. It is part of the Green Cruising Design. This means it is powered by liquefied natural gas and so is a lot more environmentally friendly than any of their previous ships.

Whatever your thoughts perhaps check before taking your next cruise as to what the cruise lines policy is and then consider if you should still use them. It is not just your health that is at risk but also the environment, climate change is real, as we have seen for the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean.

It now seems like so many cruise lines are joining the trend to actively reduce their emissions and help to the environment which will hopefully mean cruising can become a more viable option for environmentally conscious holidaymakers.

Read more from an article in the Independent.

Thanks so much to Stan Evans for this really interesting guest blog. Stan is an After Dinner Speaker and Comedian and you can find out more on his website

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