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Travel Tip: Cruise Ship Report Card

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A report came out recently that graded the cruise lines based on their environmental impact. So what does that mean for you?

The environmental group Friends of Earth released its annual report and it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Several lines got failing grades on sewage treatment—like Silversea and Carnival. Celebrity and Cunard were dinged for their performance on air pollution reduction.   

The good news? Disney Cruise Lines, Princess and Holland America scored well on those two issues, as well as on water quality compliance.The cruise industry, of course, has fired back, pointing out that the report card is based only on those three criteria, and ignores other positive environmental steps.

My advice is to look for initiatives that aren’t as well publicized.  Disney now uses a non-toxic coating on the hull to prevent drag and reduce fuel consumption while Celebrity was the first line to install solar panels to reduce energy needs. Crystal Cruises has committed to using only sustainable seafood.

And if you’re not convinced, remember that ocean cruises aren’t the only option. Small expedition ships and river barges are often more eco-friendly alternatives to the big ships and offer a much more intimate experience.

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