Make a greener choice when cruising by checking out our top picks below.

Whether we’re flying or cruising, the technologies that enable foreign travel can’t help but have a detrimental impact on the environment. But, be that as it may, with stressed work lives and a big wide world to discover, it’s unlikely that any of us will give it up soon.

So, if we’re going to cruise, why not choose the greenest cruise lines?

Over the past decade or so, many cruise lines have been spending millions of dollars on improving the green credentials of their fleet. While public relations concerns, increased taxes based on carbon emissions and a heightening of environmental, health and safety regulations have been a significant motivating factor, there are some cruise lines that are going the extra mile – cruise lines whose environmental initiatives suggest that sustaining our natural environment is a matter of passion and principle.

Lindblad Expeditions

When Lars-Eric Lindblad started Lindblad Expeditions in the late 1950’s, he was driven by a passion to discover new places and share them with others. Coupled with that passion was a strong conviction that with the privilege of experiencing such natural and cultural wonders comes great responsibility. Lindblad’s initiatives in this regard have led many to define him as the godfather of ‘eco tourism’.

Lindblad Expeditions’ many ships now travel to exotic destinations all around the world. Combining off-the-beaten track adventure with onboard luxury, they also provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything is being done to minimise the expeditions impact on the environment.

The small ships, carrying no more than 148 passengers, adhere to strict environmental standards. Food is also sourced locally, depending on the ships’ locations, and only sustainably sourced fish is served on board.

Lindblad Expedition has partnerships with top environmental organisations, including National Geographic and Clean Air-Cool Planet. These partnerships ensure that the company constantly explores new ways to offset carbon emissions and engages in environmental research with the goal of positively impacting the environments it visits.

Holland America Line

The award-winning environmental credentials of Holland America Line are arguably the greatest of all the big cruise lines.

All its ships are ISO14001 certified, meaning they are subjected to a very specific environmental management plan. This ensures that every aspect of the ships’ operations are performed in a way that minimises the impact on the environment

There are environmental officers on board, along with eco-educated staff and a very impressive list of energy efficiency and waste management initiatives:

Waste Management

  • Has installed black water (sewerage) treatment systems on all its ships. With the average cruise ship generating 210,000 gallons of sewage in one week we can only hope that others will follow suit.
  • Uses low flow showerheads and faucets.
  • Bilge water (oily engine run off) is treated by two systems before discharge.

Energy Efficiency

  • Tide schedules are taken into account to maximise fuel efficiency.
  • Silicone paint is added to the hull to reduce drag.
  • A dark film has been applied to its windows to regulate heat and cut down on air conditioning.

Costa Cruises

RINA Green Star Design awarded Costa Cruises’ entire fleet with green star notation environmental awards in 2005, a first for any cruise line. The award is granted to ships that are designed, constructed and operated in such a way as to ensure maximum respect of the environment.

The company’s corporate policy requires detailed operating standards and the installation of specific technologically advanced equipment for the treatment and processing of waste. It also subjects itself to regular environmental audits to improve its environmental performance.

Costa’s crew is put through a rigorous training and education regime, while significant attempts are made to increase the environmental awareness of passengers.

The company also works with the World Wildlife Fund to create management plans for the use, sorting and proper disposal of all refuse.

Significant improvements

While other cruise lines may not have shown the level of dedication displayed by Lindblad Expeditions, Holland America Line, and Costa Cruise Line, many are trying hard.

Silversea Cruises

Silversea Cruises are now making engines that couple diesel power with electrical power. The ships, when berthed, simply plug into a shore side power supply and recharge their batteries.

Celebrity Cruise Line

Many of Celebrity Cruise Line’s ships have black water and waste water filtration systems, including Celebrity Solstice, which also sports 216 solar panels that supply power to its elevators and 7,000 LED lights.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Waste on Carnival Cruise Line‘s ships is recycled, incinerated or offloaded for disposal on land and Carnival Spirit has a black water and gray water purification system.

Crystal Cruises

For the past year Crystal Cruises has only been serving seafood sourced from suppliers who practice fishing methods that minimise their impact on local wildlife and ecosystems.