Hurtigruten has become the first cruise company to remove all single-use plastic straws, plastic glasses, coffee lids and plastic bags across its fleet of cruise ships from July 2.

Plastic straws have been replaced by metal ones while plastic cutlery, plastic glasses, plastic lids on coffee cups, plastic toothpicks and plastic aprons have been banned and will no longer be used.

“At Hurtigruten, we have focused on the problem with plastic pollution for years,’’ said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

“There is a lot of talk about the impact plastic has on our oceans.

“But it’s time to take action. By getting rid of single-use plastic on board all ships already by this summer, we will hopefully get others to follow.”

Hurtigruten cleanup
Hurtigruten crew and guests regularly help clean beaches of plastic and marine litter, according to the company’s website. Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen

Royal Caribbean Cruises will stop using straws on 50 ships across all its brands by the end of the year.

The cruise brands include Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, TUI Cruises and Pullmantur Cruceros.

The cruise giant currently provides straws only on request. By next year, passengers who ask for straws will receive paper ones instead of plastic.

For more than a year, RCL ships initiated a “straws upon request” policy. The line has also introduced wood coffee stirrers and bamboo garnish picks as part of its plastic reduction strategy.

“Healthy oceans are vital to the success of our company,’’ said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

“For over 25 years, our Save the Waves program has guided us to reduce, reuse and recycle everything we can. Eliminating single-use plastic is another step in that program.”

After straws, stirrers and picks, the line’s next efforts will tackle single-use plastics on its ships such as condiment packets, cups and bags.

A full plastic audit is under way with the overall plan to be completed by 2020 according to a Seatrade report.

RCL Save the Waves program focusing on best sustainability practices started in 1992 when the line introduced recycling centres on board ships. Ships were equipped with shredders, balers and compactors as well as crushers for glass, light bulbs, tins and aluminium.

RCL’s goal was “zero landfill” – in other words, all waste is reused, recycled or incinerated.

Other cruise lines have also followed suit with P&O Cruises and Cunard abolishing single use plastics including plastic straws, water bottles and coffee stirrers from its fleet of cruise ships by 2022.

Carnival Cruise Line will also not serve plastic straws in cocktails and Holland America Cruises has replaced plastics with paper or washable cups and introduced bulk dispensers for condiments.