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Cruise Blog

Are Cruise Lines Becoming Greener?

3rd September 2018

Fans of cruising can often find themselves wondering, ‘what are cruise lines doing to help and contribute towards protecting the environment?’ There are in fact a number of initiatives to reduce waste and carbon emissions, including the use of solar panels as well as powering private islands with waste materials. Cruise companies have been making great strides in increasing sustainability and protecting the environment, and this will only increase in the future .



How Are Cruise Lines Protecting the Environment?


Many cruise lines have backed plans to protect the various environments on their itineraries in several ways. For example, there's now an alliance between Carnival Cruise Lines and the International SeaKeepers Society, which monitors water quality in locations visited by Carnival Triumph and Carnival Spirit. Equipment is has been built into these ships to gather data wherever they are. This is then relayed via satellite to scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami, where they can keep on top of the water quality levels.

However, this is merely one example of many systems in place for monitoring the environment's health. There are groups all around the world dedicated to tracking this kind of data, including the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the Southeast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System.


What Changes Are Being Made to help the Environment?


One of the biggest and most common changes we’ve seen is to the hull on cruise ships. By painting the hull with silicon-based paint, the ships glide through water more efficiently, therefore saving fuel. Royal Caribbean Cruises have taken this a step further by designing aerodynamic hulls, increasing the benefit of this fuel-saving tactic.

Fuel is a key economic and environmental issue for cruise lines. Keeping the incredible ships afloat and operating at 100% takes a huge amount of energy. Today’s cruise ships can carry more 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew members - which is the equivalent of a small town - but measures can be made to increase the efficiency of the fuel used.



Here are some examples of other positive changes:

  • The US National Park Service has taken measures to reduce the environmental impact of cruising in Alaska, and there are strict regulations for the passage through Glacier Bay. Only one ship at a time is permitted to enter the bay and the number of total visits per season is also restricted.

  • Holland America Line has partnered with the US National Park Service and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to protect whales in the oceans. Together their programmes educate mariners about recognising when whales are in close proximity and how to avoid them.

  • Royal Caribbean has invested $100 million into converting wastewater treatment systems into advanced purification systems, and also uses over 18 million gallons of biodiesel used each year, a much more sustainable, renewable alternative to diesel.

  • Disney Cruise Line recycle the condensation from air conditioning units and use it for things such as laundry or cleaning decks, which saves gallons of water per day. They also recycle a mix of materials onboard; some of which is processed by their partners, Keep America Beautiful - an organization which is all about preserving the environment.

  • Celebrity Cruises, have heat transfer windows that allow more light, which then reduces the cooling needed in the cabin.

  • Norwegian Cruise Line have adopted a number of different strategies to protect the environment and increase sustainability. The cruise line uses eco-ballast technology which is a water treatment system ensuring the ship doesn’t send toxins into the water, and donates cooking oil to farmers in port cities to be re-used as fuel. Steps have also been taken to remove the use of plastic straws across the entire fleet and Norwegian Cruise Line’s two private islands. Excitingly, a partnership with Ocean Conservancy means that the cruise line is the first to join the Trash Free Seas Alliance, which is a huge step forward in the cruising industry. Finally, Norwegian Cruise Line’s campaign, Hope Starts Here, aims to rebuild schools and structures damaged by hurricanes in the Caribbean islands. In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line have funded the opening of a nature trail with Alaska Raptor Center, a dedicated avian hospital that rehabilitates injured birds of prey in Sitka, Alaska.


    Overall, it’s clear that a number of popular cruise lines are investing in the environment in one way or another, and as science develops, this will surely only improve. If this information has struck a chord with you, find out more about how you can do your bit for the world and the communities in it, with our five holidays that make a difference.

    Watching the World Cup on a Cruise

    6th June 2018

    World Cup season is right around the corner once again, and football fans that are due to be cruising during the month-long season have probably begun wondering how possible it will be for them to watch the games. If you’ll be on a cruise during the world cup, rest assured that most of the mainstream lines will be screening the matches onboard.


    P&O Cruises


    The nation’s favourite cruise line will be showing world cup games onboard on their sports channel – Sports 24. Not only this, but they are actually offering an exciting Baltics cruise which includes a stop in St Petersburg while games are held there.




    This traditional cruise line will also be screening world cup matches onboard, in cabins and in some public spaces on their sports TV channel.


    Azamara Cruises

    With two itineraries including up to three days in St Petersburg, Azamara Cruises are offering guests plenty of opportunities to get absorbed in the hype of the games. Enjoy the beauty and originality of the city as well as taking in a live game or two.


    Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises

    These three popular cruise lines will also have ships positioned in St Petersburg during the world cup games, during some fantastic Baltics itineraries.




    As a Spanish cruise line, it possibly won’t be a surprise to learn that Pullmantur are going above and beyond with celebrating the world cup and all things football in 2018. Two ships, Sovereign and Horizon, will offer screenings of the games in public spaces as well as in cabins, and Spanish games will be shown on the big screen in the theatre. As well as this, there will be a number of football themed activities on offer. These will include a mini world cup for guests to show off their skills, a football quiz, and face-painting for the kids. There will also be special arts and crafts workshops at which children can design their very own football kits.

    We interview Wendy Lahmich, Holland America Line's UK Sales Director

    27th March 2017

    Updated June 2019

    We collated some of our most frequently asked questions about Holland America Line (HAL) and pitched them to Wendy Lahmich, the cruise line's Sales Director for the UK & Ireland. She shared with us some great information for anyone new to the brand, plus some personal memories based on her own experiences with this fantastic cruise line...

    What has been your most memorable cruise?

    I had always wanted to go to Alaska, and I finally embarked on a Holland America Line Inside Passage cruise 14 years ago. My favourite memories include seeing orca whales in the wake of our ship and viewing the incredible scenery in Glacier Bay.



    Do you have any favourite ports and why?

    Other than Alaska my favourite ports would have to be Kotor, in Montenegro and Dubrovnik, in Croatia. I just love the Dalmatian Coast for its stunning architecture, scenery and lovely people. Of course, you can see all of these destinations on a Holland America Line cruise, departing from Venice – one of the most iconic cities you can ever sail from!

    What are HAL's stand out features?

    Holland America Line is known for our “carefully curated” itineraries which really do give our guests authentic destination immersion both before their cruise via our online destination guides and onboard with our experts, along with long days and overnight stays in iconic cities like Sydney, Shanghai and Singapore.

    We launched a beautiful new ship in 2016, ms Koningsdam, and with it a whole host of new partnerships (we called it our “Bold New Story”), most of which are now being rolled out fleetwide. Our partnership with BBC Earth brings incredible Frozen Planet concerts to the main show lounge; we now have Music Walk featuring the BB Kings blues, dueling pianos at Billboard Onboard and great classical music from Lincoln Centre Stage. Plus, our already excellent culinary reputation has been enhanced by new restaurants – very French Sel de Mer, “Dine at the Culinary Arts Centre” on Koningsdam and a partnership with America’s Test Kitchen, offering guests regional cookery demonstrations and more. 


    My personal favourite? Our unique wine blending facility on ms Koningsdam where a small group of guests learn to blend and create their own red wines, with help from the experts of Chateau St Michelle. Before this experience I knew very little about red wine….and I learnt so much!

    Are there any age ranges best suited to HAL?

    Holland America Line appeals to discerning travellers of all ages. Obviously longer itineraries will appeal to a slightly older demographic, but our excellent CLUB HAL amenities for children aged 3 upwards also attract many families during school holidays – including my own!

    Which hobbies/interests do HAL best cater to?

    Enrichment is an important feature of Holland America Line. When on holiday our guests like to learn, so we have a huge choice of activities from cookery and digital workshops to painting and drawing skills at ‘Rijksmuseum at Sea’. One of our popular partnerships is with O, the Oprah Magazine, which helps provide wellness activities, classes, seminars and so much more! Our Explorations Central experts also provide lots of information about the culture, customs, sights and history of the destinations visited during the cruise. And of course there are many places just to relax and watch the world go by such as the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, our extensive deck areas which feature two pools – and our wrap-around Promenade deck.



    My absolute favourite place for relaxation onboard ships which have the area is the Retreat, where I always book a Private Cabana for the whole duration of the cruise! It is a must for me as it does exactly what it says on the tin but in total luxury!

    What should our customers know before booking a cruise with HAL?

    Holland America Line is an international company which means you’ll have the opportunity to interact with amazing people from many different countries. English is the official language onboard, however we are very proud of our Dutch officers and our academy trained Indonesian and Filipino crew who provide intuitive, yet friendly service and are really adept at getting to know guests’ names and preferences very early in the cruise.

    How does HAL cater for singles?

    We welcome single travellers onboard (me being one of them!) and we arrange get-togethers, socials and dining according to their preferences. While we do feature some new single staterooms on ms Koningsdam, many guests choose to “share” accommodation with another single guest of the same sex (in designated stateroom categories), for instant companionship - and to avoid single supplements.

    What is the dress code?

    Daytime is always casual and most evenings are informal. We still offer guests the opportunity to dress up on two evenings per week and enjoy a more celebratory evening meal in the restaurant however, those who prefer to stay casual may dine in one of our alternative restaurants at the Lido or even order a freshly-baked pizza in the comfort of their stateroom.



    What are the most popular itineraries?

    Alaska has always sold really well for us, and Holland America Line celebrated 70 years in Alaska in 2017 – with more ships, glaciers and gala dinners than ever before! As well as cruises from Vancouver, Seattle and Seward, we offer a range of incredible Land + Sea Journeys which, as well as a cruise, include up to 3 nights at our McKinley Chalet hotel in Denali National Park, for nature at its very wildest! Another very popular destination is South America, especially the 14 -16 night “Passage” cruises that sail from Buenos Aires or Santiago, combining cities like Montevideo and Ushuaia with the breathtaking Chilean Fjords and Glacier Alley – plus, a day at Port Stanley in the Falklands, a chance to see penguins visit a real British pub!

    What does the future hold for Holland America Line?

    We have not long celebrated the launch of ms Nieuw Statendam in Autumn 2018, and we have another “Dam” ship due for delivery in 2021 - showing there is a huge demand for Holland America Line’s mid-size, premium product and incredible destination experience. We constantly continue to enhance the existing fleet for example, ms Westerdam now features upgraded suites, the Music Walk, our Explorations Central concept and “Rijksmuseum at Sea” art instalment.


    If you're feeling inspired to cruise with this ever-popular cruise line, take a look at our current Holland America Line cruise offers.

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