I could start each sea day’s report with a “Gripe of the Day” but that would suggest the voyage is less fun than it is. So it should perhaps be called “If I Ruled the Ship”. Today there would be a beheading and if it isn’t someone else’s it’ll be mine.
I have to call one of the staff today and must to go through the operator. The cacophony of noise that passes as hold music is truly awful. It sounds like a Chinese opera singing “It’s a Small World” through a 2cm loudspeaker turned up very loud so the distortion is painful. Fingernails down a blackboard or even a Royal Caribbean rap would be infinitely preferable. It’s so bad it must be deliberate but any possible reason escapes me, just as I can’t escape it.
There are a series of lectures on each day and, even excluding the essential shopping instructions for each port, there are some talks of interest. Today Joshua, the ship’s activities manager, gives the first ever Royal Caribbean International enviro-talk, a lecture that he’s been working on for some months.
Royal Caribbean International was fined some years ago for environmental transgressions in Alaska and he says that was the beginning of a turnaround in corporate thinking. He details how that event was the decider in the choice of engines, hull design and even the use of slipperier and more efficient silicon paint for newer vessels. The new big ships, which are 30 per cent more efficient that ships built in 2001, also have thin solar panels that provide the power for much of the ship’s lighting. Older ships use LED and energy efficient bulbs where possible. And the ship doesn’t discharge bilge water (and potentially invasive foreign species) near foreign shores.
But the big change has been in recycling. All the rubbish from the guest areas is hand-sorted and the considerable money made from the subsequent recycling goes into staff benefit programs. The average waste produced each day by each American is 4.3 pounds (1.95 kilos). The ship has that down to 1.15 pounds (0.52 kilos) per passenger. The crew is recycling up to 83 per cent of the waste produced. The change in the company’s modus operandi is probably best illustrated by the fact that each new staff member’s training begins with the company’s Save the Waves eco-program. But there’s still some way to go in public thinking. Only about 30 of Radiance’s 2400 passengers turn up, and we are each rewarded with a plastic Royal Caribbean International mug for doing so.
Words: David McGonigal.
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