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How Cruise Ships are Going Green

written by: Stephanie Michael•edited by: Lindsay Evans•updated: 6/28/2011

Cruises are fun, pampering, and full of surprises. Most surprising is the amount of waste that is produced by some cruise lines. By choosing a green cruise you can have the fun without the guilt.

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    If you’re planning a cruise you’re probably looking forward to a worry free vacation at sea where everything is taken care of and you won’t have to worry about a thing. One thing to consider, however, when you’re selecting your cruise is what kind of environmental impact your worry free vacation may have. Luckily, many cruise ships are going green in a variety of ways. By choosing a cruise line that focuses on being as green as possible you can have the best of both worlds. Here are the top four green cruise lines.

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    Costa Cruise Line

    Costa Cruise Lines call themselves the first green cruise line of Europe and by working with the World Wildlife Fund they have managed to meet some of the highest environmental standards and be awarded the Green Star notation, an environmental standard for commercial ships. By meeting the requirements of Clean Sea and Clean Air they are leading the way in being the most environmentally aware cruise lines in an industry where being green can sometimes take a back seat to making money.

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    Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

    Meeting both the ISO 14001 regulations, which guarantees the best possible experience for guests, and the ISO 9001 regulations which addresses requires a company to make the least harmful effect on the environment while continuing to minimize their environmental footprint, Royal Caribbean Cruise lines are well on their way to being one of the greenest cruises available. They have worked to reduce waste by not using disposable utensils and by replacing plastic water bottles with biodegradable or reusable ones. They are also making changes to the ships like adding a new coating to reduce drag and shutting off one of the engines in the winter when the air conditioners aren’t being used.

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    Disney Cruise Lines

    Disney Cruise lines offer a family friendly and earth friendly option by recycling used cooking oil from its private island Castaway Cay to power heavy machinery and by applying a non toxic coating to the hulls of their ships to reduce drag and use less energy to move. They also offer an add-a-dollar feature that enables guests to donate a dollar to 750 different wildlife programs. So far this green cruise line has raised over twelve million dollars to these different organizations. On board the ships laundry room reuses water generated from the air conditioning system and reuses heat from the ship to process over 1,200 tons of salt water into potable water each day.

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    Lindblad Expeditions

    The smallest of the many cruise ships going green, Lindblad Expeditions partners with National Geographic to bring vacationers as close to nature without actually disturbing the natural habitat. Compared to other cruise lines which can sometimes carry thousands of guests this particular line only carries about 150 people on each trip. This means less weight, less resources (like energy, food, and water), and less waste. They also go green by providing food from local suppliers and only serving seafood that has been sustainably caught. As a testament to their commitment they actually stopped serving shrimp in 2001 because they couldn’t find a source that didn’t have a negative environmental impact.