How a Cruise Line Can Make a Difference

From fuel-cell energy to banning plastic straws, see how Royal Caribbean is addressing the environmental impact of cruising.

When you consider that a single Oasis Class cruise ship can carry 5,400 passengers and 2,100 crew members, the term “floating city” springs to mind. Just like a city, a population of that size uses fuel, generates waste, and requires an ample amount of food and supplies. That’s why Royal Caribbean is stepping in and stepping up to put sustainability on the forefront in the coming years.

From Long-term Plans…

Even if you’ve never heard of fuel-cell energy, it will most likely cross your radar in the future. Using hydrogen power, the byproducts are mostly electricity, water and heat — making fuel cells a groundbreaking source of energy. Working behind the scenes, Royal Caribbean has been testing and refining the use of fuel-cell energy on its new Icon Class ships — set to launch in 2022 — to power operations such as lighting and elevators. Liquefied natural gas will likely be the primary fuel in the next class of ships as another way to reduce emissions.

…to Immediate Shifts.

Royal Caribbean’s goal is to reduce emissions by 35 percent by 2020 and to continue on its path toward zero waste. One after another, hotels, resorts and cruise lines are eliminating single-use plastics, and Royal Caribbean was already ahead of the pack. For well over a year, ships have begun implementing a “straws upon request” policy, with the goal of eliminating plastic straws altogether in 2019. (Paper straws will be available on request.) While items like Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood stirrers and bamboo picks will appear on board, soon to disappear are other single-use plastics like ketchup packets and coffee creamers.

You Are What You Eat.

On Oasis Class ships, a week’s worth of groceries is … robust. When you discover that over the course of a seven-day cruise, chefs can go through 2,500 pounds of salmon and 2,100 pounds of lobster tails, the concept of serving sustainable seafood takes on even more importance. Royal Caribbean entered a five-year partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and one of its benchmarks will be to source 90 percent of its wild-caught seafood from sustainable fisheries and 75 percent of farmed seafood from responsible aquaculture farms. In the coming years, finding sustainable sources for other items — like meat, produce, sugar and coffee — is also on the priority list.

Royal Relief in the Caribbean

As its name probably implies, Royal Caribbean is dedicated to delivering fun-filled Caribbean vacations for families, couples and friends. A big part of that Caribbean connection means being on the front line when disaster strikes. Immediately after hurricanes Irma and Maria last year, Royal Caribbean ships delivered relief supplies and provisions, and transported evacuees off ravaged islands. Ongoing recovery and rebuilding efforts include restoring Magens Bay on the island of St. Thomas.

Following the hurricanes, Royal Caribbean’s ships were able to provide:

  • 30,637 gallons of water
  • 9,335 gallons of milk
  • 5,507 people evacuated
  • 13,050 pounds of animal supplies
  • 8,000 pounds of ice
  • 127 pets evacuated

Learn what other steps Royal Caribbean is taking and find out how to book your next voyage. Visit our website, and enter Offer M18752 for all the details.


Cover Photo: Royal Caribbean International® / Aerial of Oasis of the Seas


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