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


    CLIA's 2018 Cruise Takeover

    29th August 2018

    Over this August bank holiday weekend CLIA celebrated cruising with the world by having a major cruise take-over day! Thousands of people joined in celebrating cruise by posting images of some of their favourite cruises, using the hashtag (#) ‘cruisetakeover’ over social media platforms. The whole idea was to share an experience that was exciting, or that truly made your experience onboard or even at cruise event - so basically anything cruise! Don’t worry if you missed out on the day, as we will be taking you through some of the wonderful images shared. If you are interested in seeing more, simply search the hashtag ‘cruisetakeover’ or ‘cruisetakeoverday’ on social media, and you will find plenty more.

    Adam on Facebook shared over 19 images showing us his experience onboard Royal Caribbean’s ship ‘Symphony of the Seas’, known as the world’s most instagrammable ship! I’m sure Adam would agree with an image posing in the ship’s Instagram photo frame. Adam wrote ‘If you have thought about booking a cruise just look at these photos, need I say anymore’. Definitely, no more needed to say with those images making us jealous!

     

     

    Craig David onboard a recent Marella Cruises ship has certainly created a head-turning experience for many people abroad the Marella Explorer this year, with Telegraph Cruise posting a tweet on Twitter saying ‘Rewinding to what could be the highlight of the cruising year!’ then posting a tweet of Craig David’s performance.

    Kory Williams posted an image on Instagram describing his experience on Carnival Cruises' ship Carnival Glory with his family. The great thing about cruising is the number of places you can go in such a short time; in this post Kory says how he cruised to ‘Turks, Puerto Rico, St Thomas, and Dominican Republic’ and how he met people from all over which shows that cruising is a great way to meet others!

     

     

    Enjoy some more screenshots taken from cruise takeover day, with many cruisers showing all the exotic places they’ve been which might inspire you for your next cruise holiday. Never been on a cruise and have now been inspired? Read all about how to choose your first cruise.

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Discover the Danube with AmaWaterways

    23rd August 2018

    When Kate from our marketing team got the opportunity to experience an AmaWaterways river cruise on the Danube, she was keen to jump at the chance. The trip was a 7-night adventure onboard AmaSerena, from Vilshofen to Budapest. Countries en route included Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. Having never been to these places before, Kate was excited to see the culture and spirit of each destination. Thankfully, with AmaWaterways excursions are included, so she had plenty of opportunities to get to know every town and village on the way. Here’s what she made of her experience of AmaWaterways’ excursions.

     

     

    I found there is plenty of choice when it comes to opportunities and experiences with AmaWaterways. Included tours and excursions were available in each port, or you could also explore at your own leisure, either on foot or with one of the ship’s bikes. The options ranged in fitness level, start time, and activity, from castle hikes and cycle trips to walking tours, and tastings. We opted for the slightly more active excursions including hikes, which also included brief city tours too. The hikes were amazing taking you high above each town for absolutely astounding views, and the local guides were excellent.

     

    Germany

    Passau

    Here we opted for the castle hike, and I’m so glad we did. It was stunning. From the heights of Passau’s castle, you could see out across the Bavarian and Bohemian forests, and you also had an excellent vantage point for seeing where the three rivers – Danube, Ilz, and Inn – converge.

     

    Austria

    Durnstein

    After enjoying the hike in Passau, we decided to go for another one in Durnstein. This hike was just as impressive, though a bit of a higher fitness level is definitely required, on this hike you could actually climb to the castle where Richard the Lionheart was held captive and stand upon the ruins.

    Linz

    In Linz, we opted for a morning bike ride along the ‘Culture Mile’, which was an informative and fun way of getting to all the hotspots and sights of the city including the Ars Electronica Center, Lentos Kunstmuseum, the mighty cathedral, and both the new and old town squares.

     

     

    Lake District

    This was by far one of the best excursions! The guide on the coach getting there was great, giving lots of information about the area, and when we finally arrived at the first lake I was truly in awe. After a brief tour we were let loose to wander at leisure, and of course, we had to dip our toes in the beautiful Moon Lake. A few scenic drives and lakes later it was safe to say we were exhausted from such a long and brilliant day. It really is impossible to describe the magnitude of the beauty here.

    Vienna

    In Vienna, we opted for the ‘active walkers’ city tour, which takes in a few more sights than the gentle group. We had a guided drive on the Ringtrasse where our guide brought history to life with each building! After the tour, we opted to stay in the city and explore for ourselves, from the Cathedral to the Strauss Statue, and plenty of gardens in-between. After some much-deserved strudel, we headed back to the pickup point, where shuttle buses arrived every half an hour to go back to the ship.

    The pièce de résistance in Vienna had to be the optional Mozart & Strauss Concert in the evening. This was at an additional cost but was worth every penny. Everyone dressed for the affair and the music was sublime, but it’s not all serious - there were a few comedic moments in the performance too.

     

    Slovakia

    Bratislava

    We enjoyed panoramic views of the Wachau Valley as we sailed to Bratislava, whilst listening to incredible commentary from our brilliant Cruise Manager. Arriving in Bratislava, we opted for the tasting and brewery tour where we got to sample three local beers and delicious, traditional Slovakian snacks.

     

    Hungary

    Budapest

     

     

    When we reached Budapest, we chose to take part in the city tour, to try to cover as much as possible in this beautiful city. In total, we were out for around 4 hours and still didn’t see everything! The Pest side is like a classic cosmopolitan city reminding me of London with a lot of history and character, but a walk over the bridge to Buda is a must as well. This side of the bridge is another world entirely, especially if you head up to the castle. Here you’ll feel like you’re in a fairy-tale, with spires and towers and incredible views.

    With at least three excursion options every day, it’s clear that the crew at AmaWaterways think of everything. If you’re feeling inspired to get out and see Europe on a river cruise, why not browse through our range of AmaWaterways Danube cruises and see this gorgeous region for yourself.


    Is River Cruising for You?

    23rd August 2018

    Over the years river cruising has become an increasingly popular way to see the world, in a relaxed setting. This is evident in the fact that more than 150 river cruise itineraries have been launched in the last 5 years alone. But what is it all about? Read on to find out if river cruising is for you.

     

     

    A Quick Overview of River Cruising

     

    River cruise ships are much smaller than ocean cruise ships, which is often what attracts people to travel onboard. In many cases the smaller size means guests are more personally catered for, and truly receive that flawless service that you might not get on a ship of over 3,000 passengers. River cruise ships general accommodate between 100-200 people; creating a perfect, intimate experience.

    The size of the vessel also creates a completely different kind of cruise holiday where destinations are concerned. The ships traverse the world’s rivers, which often pass through integral inland cities, such as Paris, Budapest, and Cairo. On a river cruise you will usually visit a new port each day, and possibly more than one a day sometimes. This means you might visit an incredible four or five countries in just one week, which is very uncommon on ocean cruises. Because of this, guests can experience a multitude of events, festivals and celebrations in just one cruise, such as Christmas markets, New Years celebrations and LGBT Pride parades.

     

     

    What’s Life Onboard Like on a River Cruise?

     

    With fewer people onboard, river cruise ships are generally comfortable and intimate, but with plenty of space for everyone. Usually, you’ll find a restaurant, one or two lounges, and a deck on top with loungers, a bar, and sometimes a pool.

    Generally all meals onboard are included, complete with complimentary drinks such as wine, beer, and soft drinks at dinner times. Along with those drinks, you’ll often have unlimited coffee, tea, and bottled water. During meal times there is open seating, so you are able to sit where you like each night. Tables are usually arranged to sit between six and ten guests, so you’ll be able to mingle with and get to know fellow cruisers more easily.

     

     

    The dress code onboard is laid back, with no formal requirement. However, it is suggested that you bring at least one smart outfit, to wear at events like the Captain’s reception and gala dinners. You should also bring comfortable shoes and clothing due to the extensive menu of excursions, which range from castle hikes and bike rides to walking tours and wine tastings.

    Entertainment on river cruises varies depending on the vessel and destination. Most river cruise lines prioritise the destination rather than onboard entertainment, as the itineraries are so port-intensive. This doesn’t mean there is nothing happening onboard however. You’ll often find a pianist playing during cocktail hour and after dinner, and many lines invite local entertainers onboard to provide a culture show of some sort.

     

    What Are Excursions Like with River Cruising?

     

    Excursions are a huge part of river cruising, so much so that generally all of them are included in the overall cost of the cruise. This is great because often excursions can tally up to a significant sum on an ocean cruise. This is one of the main attractions of this type of holiday to many frequent river cruisers.

     

     

    The excursions themselves are designed to highlight the local culture and history of the port you’re stopping in. So if you are someone who enjoys getting out and about and discovering new things, know that river cruising creates captivating, unforgettable memories with truly insightful opportunities. You could visit a local orphanage in Southeast Asia, go to a cookery demonstration in Africa, or see some important World War II sites on a European river cruise, to name just a few.

     

    Why should Ocean Cruisers try a River Cruise?

     

    Many fans of ocean cruising will find themselves thinking about a river cruise at one time or another, so here’s why we think you should take the plunge and give river cruising a try.

     

  • The inclusions in your fare. All your food, free-flowing wine and beer at dinner, and all your excursions are completely taken care of.
  • The size of the ship. Whilst some ocean cruisers love the city-like feel of a liner that can take over 5,000 passengers, we promise you will enjoy the personal service and intimate surroundings of a river ship.
  • There are almost no days without a port stop. You’ll never find yourself bored on the ship with nothing to do, as river cruise ships do most of their travelling at night. This is also particularly appealing to those who are susceptible to seasickness, and would benefit from extended time onshore.
  • The number of destinations. Just about every day you can get out and about and discover somewhere new. With some excursions starting as early as 7am, no time at all is wasted.
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    Would a river cruise float your boat? There are countless top-class river cruise lines sailing Europe, Asia and beyond, including Emerald Waterways, Saga River Cruises, AmaWaterways, and more,so you'll find countless itineraries to choose from. For sailings tailored around a specific country, try Discover Egypt and Pandaw River Cruises, both offering excellent knowledge and guidance throughout their journeys.

    For those who have previously cruised on ocean-ships, many cruise lines have brought their fantastic service to the river, such as Thomson-Marella. With TUI River Cruises sailing the waterways of Europe, you will enjoy your favourite cruise line on a smaller, more intimate scale.

    If you're still undecided you can also find out more about first-hand river cruise experiences, with this customer review onboard Emerald Waterways, or get in touch with our expert team for more advice!


    Cruise in France with Avalon Waterways

    22nd August 2018

    Fortunately, our very own Jack Lee from the sales team had the opportunity to experience a river cruise with Avalon Waterways, here’s what he thought of the trip.

     

     

    Arrival

    The arrival into Paris was quick, and we were greeted by the transport team who led us to the transfer from the airport to the river cruise port, which was about 45 minutes. Upon arrival to the ship, the first noticeable thing would be that there are only 3 decks. The ship holds 120 passengers in total, the entrance might look small but there is ample space for everyone. The gangway is small, and the ship is not located in a big port. Instead, you are seconds away from getting into Paris city centre when walking from the ship.

    Cabins

    Once checked in, we were able to go to our cabins and get to see them for the first time. The French Balcony is a very nice sized room; to the left when you open the door is the bathroom with a shower. On the right-hand side is a large mirror, which makes the room seem even bigger, and a large dressing table. The beds are set up as twins, but these can be made into a double if you wanted to. The balcony doors are floor to ceiling and can be opened half way.

     

     

    Dining

    Avalon Waterway’s dining is set every night at 7pm with around five exquisite courses. If you arrive any later than scheduled you may miss a course, which you aren’t able to request again. Having said this, there are always extra appetisers supplied for passengers in the evening. Drinks like wine, beers and soft drinks are included at dinner and lunch times, but other than dining and lunchtime you will have to purchase drinks.

    Onboard Activities

    There are many ways to enjoy yourself on the vessel, and when in port you are able to use one of the six onboard bikes to cycle around independently. If you stay on the ship, there is evening entertainment every day, which is held in the main public lounge. On the top deck, there are plenty of sun loungers that you can relax on. There is also a hot tub, which can be very relaxing even in the heat. There is no swimming pool onboard.

     

     

    Excursions

    Passengers usually get together at the nightly cruise director speech, at which you’d find out about the excursions available on the next day. Most are included in your sailing but you can purchase some extra special excursions.

    The excursions are great; there was one in particular that really stood out for me – the trip to the landing beaches of World War II. We started at Pegasus Bridge where the British invasion happened, walked around a beautiful museum where you learn about the battle that took place there. Next was the crematorium, where the sheer amount of people who lost their lives in the war really hits you. This was such a beautiful and thought-provoking place, as you walk around seeing name after name. Then we went to an area where the British army had come onto the beaches, it was amazing to see some of the man-made piers/platforms. The final part of the tour was a visit to the Canadian landing beaches. Here we went to a museum and watched a video after a tour. The film shows some original footage, and the touching moment of the film comes at the end when it shows the fallen soldiers walking behind you on the beach just outside where you take a walk yourself.

     

     

    Would a river cruise be for you? The option to have almost all your excursions included is amazing, as is the quality of food and intimate style of the ship. Take a look at our range of Avalon Waterways cruises to see where you could explore on a river cruise.


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