Eco-friendly, ethical, conscious, sustainable; call it what you will, but the way we holiday and how it affects the planet has never been such a hot topic. A total pause in travel and transport has seen nature pause for breath in recent weeks, and we’ve been thinking about the changes we can make on a more long term basis too. Here’s how you can do your bit to become a more conscious cruiser, wherever – and whenever – we holiday again.
Shun the straws
There may not be much to it but this slender slither of plastic is wreaking havoc in our oceans. While straws make up a tiny proportion of all ocean plastic pollution, their small size means they’re far more dangerous to marine life. A viral video of a straw being removed from the nose of a sea turtle in Costa Rica brought the issue to the fore back in 2015 and cruise lines are getting on board with saying ‘so long’ to straws. Royal Caribbean, P&O Cruises and Cunard all recently pledged to go plastic straw free.
When it comes to shopping for souvenirs, it pays for the environment when you shop sensibly. Those elephant print harem trousers might look the part and keep you covered at Thailand’s attractions but will you really wear them again at home or are they destined for the bin the moment you’re back on dry land? The same goes for that Cozumel shot glass or Miami fridge magnet. We’re all for bringing back a reminder or two of an amazing holiday but opt for something handcrafted by the locals to help the economy and make sure it’s something worth hanging onto once you are home.
Don’t exploit the animals
When you’re an animal lover, it’s easy to get carried away when you get the opportunity to get closer to them in all their glory. But it’s important to remember that these are wild animals and that is exactly where they belong, in the wild. The monkey should be swinging in the trees not sitting on your shoulder for photographs and those dolphins belong in the ocean, not kept captive in pools. If you want to see elephants in all their majesty, see them in the wild on a cruise to South Africa, staying well away from elephant tourism in Asia.
Do your bit on the beach
From Australia to the Caribbean and countless islands in between, cruising can take you straight to the best beaches in the world. Their sands are slithers of pure paradise and you can do your bit to keep them that way without any real effort. We’ve produced more plastic in the last ten years than over the whole of the last century and it goes without saying that some of it will reappear where you are at some point. Do your bit and pick up that plastic bottle or bag instead of walking by.
Bring a reusable water bottle
We use 100 billion plastic drinks bottles every year and the plastic in them will still be around long after we are. Recent reports warned that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050 unless we clean up our act; isn’t that a horrifying fact? You can do your bit by replacing your plastic bottles of water with a reusable one, filling up on board before you head off for the day.
Watch your water consumption
Cruise ships have never been so environmentally friendly and almost every modern ship features an advanced water treatment system to dispose of grey water in a way that complies with stringent environmental laws and regulations. Fresh water is a commodity, especially at sea, and turning off taps, reusing towels and having shorter showers all helps to conserve water on board.