Plan an Eco-Friendly Vacation at Sea!

Image file credit: Image courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Planning a family trip can be a very difficult and daunting task. There are so many details to reserve from how you’re going to arrive, to where you would like to eat. Since reserving all of the pieces to a trip may be difficult, a lot of times families turn to a cruise as a vacation option.

Cruises have many perks that help to make a vacation enjoyable for the whole family. The only down side to this vacation option, is that a cruise ship does rack up a large carbon footprint. According to Friends of The Earth, the average cruise ship generates “210 gallons of human sewage, 1 million gallons of grey water and 130 gallons of hazardous waste.”

Although a fully sustainable cruise ship has not set sail yet, cruise line companies are starting to implement programs and install systems that help to reduce the amount of emissions their fleets release. If you’re planning to cruise in 2013 and are looking for a ship that has a green side, below are a few options that are worth looking into.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises is a luxury cruising fleet and a member of Royal Caribbean Ltd. This cruise line has been highly rated for the amenities and activities available on their ships. Each ship has its own green plan in place that encourages recycling on board to both staff and guests. This cruise line has taken going green a step further on, Solstice, the newest ship in the fleet. Aboard this ship you will find a grass lawn on the upper deck, along with solar panels to power the outdoor light fixtures. In addition to the green deck, the ship also has a filtration system that throughly cleans wastewater before it is released into the ocean.

Lindbald Expeditions

If you’re looking for an adventure, Lindbald Expeditions is the cruise for you. This eco-conscience cruise line has partnered with National Geographic to help bring guests as close as possible to the natural world. The company offers trips all over the world, however the ships only carry 30 – 148 people so trips sell out quickly. Aside from showing the beauty of the natural world, Lindbald Expeditions does everything in their power to help keep a green fleet. One of their main goals is to make their food preparation process as sustainable as possible. When planning the menu for a trip, this cruise line teams up with the Marine Stewardship Council and The Blue Ocean Institute to make sure that the ingredients used are not harmful to the environment or the well being of their guests.

Windstar Cruises

It’s nothing but smooth sailing on a Windstar Cruise! This fleet is composed of 4 yatchs with the ability to hold 148 – 312 passengers. Out of all the cruises listed, the Windstar fleet is the most eco-friendly on the list because of the yacht’s ability to use clean wind power as an alternative to a diesel powered engine. Due to the size of the ships, a trip with Windstar is geared toward an older crowd looking to relax and enjoy the beauty of the open ocean. Trips on Windstar yachts sail all over the world, from Puerto Rico to the Greek Isles and are nothing short of a fabulous.

Holland America Cruises

On a Holland America cruise, the luxurious amenities on your vacation are just as important to the staff as keeping to their sustainable promise. Each year the Holland America executive team sets a goal to improve their carbon footprint. At the end of the year data is gathered and put into a sustainability report that is then shared online for anyone interested to view. Their large sustainability goals include reducing the amount of waste they create on board, recycling materials as often as possible, reducing the amount of refrigerant chemicals released and conserving close to 93% of the water that is used on the ship. In order to achieve these goals, Holland America makes sure that each employee goes through a sustainability training session before they take off on their first voyage.

As you can see through the missions of the cruise line companies listed above, cruising is not just about frivolous luxury anymore. These fleets understand that respecting the ocean is an important part of their company’s purpose. If the oceans are polluted cruises will no longer be as appealing as they once were.

After reading our list of eco friendly cruise ships – which would you take and where would you sail?

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