Top Five Eco-Friendly Cruise Lines

Are you ready for a vacation on the high seas? Cruise lines have gotten a bad rap for polluting the environment, but after some research we’ve found some eco-friendly cruises that are changing courses by protecting the environment one ship at a time. Below is a list of our favorite sustainable cruise lines. Be sure to tell us about yours. We’d love to add to the list.

1. Holland America Line
For more than 137 years, the Holland America Line has been cruising around the country providing relaxation, fun and new adventures for its guests. It is also one of the best eco-friendly cruises dedicated to sustainability. Holland America visits every continent sailing to places such as the Caribbean, Bermuda, Alaska, Europe, and Mexico. It emphasizes environmental conservation and takes great aims to protect the planet.

Aboard each ship, an Environmental Officer trains and educates staff and guests about the environment. Ships include advanced waste water purification systems, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, waste management and recycling programs and low flow water systems for toilets and showers. Holland America reduces hazardous materials by implementing dry cleaning machines that use non-hazardous detergents. Chemical wastes are disposed of ashore in agreement with specific regulations. Guests are encouraged to become environmental stewards offshore and onshore by turning off lights when necessary, recycling and not littering in addition to other eco-friendly tasks. Lastly, furniture, electronics, linens and other unneeded objects are donated worldwide to charities and organizations.

2. Windstar Cruises
Another cruise line committed to conserving and protecting the environment is Windstar Cruises. Sailing all around the world to the Greek Isles, Panama Canal and Costa Rica, Windstar demonstrates a remarkable commitment to environmental protection. Each year, crew members receive eco-training and one is designated as the Environmental Officer, where he/she maintains the cruise line’s standards of protecting the environment. Windstar belongs to the Cruise Lines International Association, an organization assigning members to follow international environmental regulations. While cruising around the world, all chemical and hazardous waste is collected and stored onboard for disposal ashore with licensed contractors. For each trip, the appropriate amount of food and supplies are ordered to reduce waste. Ships use cleaner-burning fuel and low sulfur content. To reduce fuel usage, ships have increased the use of sails. The use of special flow restrictive shower heads, biodegradable cleaning supplies and encouraging guests to participate in protecting the environment are other ways Windstar helps the planet.

3. Celebrity Cruises
Travel to Australia, Hawaii, the Bahamas and the Transatlantic by sailing with Celebrity Cruises. Strongly committed to environmental stewardship, Celebrity Cruises integrate eco-friendly aspects to its cruises wherever possible. On each vessel, an Environmental Officer is available for environmental education and training. Environmental initiatives such as Advanced Wastewater Purification systems, smokeless gas turbine engines, energy-efficient windows and fluorescent and LED light bulbs are included in most ships. Celebrity Cruises is a big supporter of eco-organizations such as Save the Waves, an environmental program protecting the world’s seas and marine life. Also, the cruise line helps the Ocean Fund, a global conservation effort maintaining and promoting awareness of marine ecosystems. Several environmental awards have been given to this cruise line and it has also set up outreach programs benefiting the environment.

4. Lindblad Expeditions
Lindblad Expeditions first started its famous travels in the 1950s and continues sailing to exotic places including the Mediterranean, the Amazon, New Zealand and Egypt. Known for its responsible travel, Lindblad has partnered with National Geographic to educate and inspire people to save the planet. Both have joined forces to promote the preservation of places around the world such as the Alaska Whale Foundation and Oceanites, a non-profit organization helping to conserve oceans, islands and wildlife. While onboard, guests can enjoy fresh meals made from local ingredients providing them with a cuisine similar to the regions they explore. Lindblad supports awareness campaigns and helps with scholarships for educators and students to learn about the world. This cruise line even participates in the Climate Change Action Plan, which focuses on reducing its carbon footprint and promoting awareness of worldwide environmental issues.

5. Costa Cruises
If you’re looking for a cruise that sails to Russia, Dubai and the Far East, then Costa Cruises is for you. In addition to its destinations and activities, Costa Cruises also benefits the environment with a system called the Business Excellence Sustainable Task (B.E.S.T. 4). This system ensures Costa exceeds expectations in aspects such as environmental protection. To make sure every ship continues with environmental protection, Environmental Officers educate staff and guests about the importance of remaining committed to the environment. The cruise line even has two ships environmentally certified in design and build, with a Green Star awarded by RINA. Costa also supports the World Wildlife Fund in Italy promoting awareness to endangered marine eco-regions on the planet like the Mediterranean Sea and region of the Greater Antilles.

Other eco-friendly cruises are out there. So, if you don’t know which cruise to sail away on, take a look at Friends of the Earth’s Cruise Ship Environmental Report Card and decide which cruise is best for you and the environment.

-Allyson Koerner