This Week in Cruise: Big Week for Sustainable Cruises

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This week in the cruise industry a number of new cruise lines made pledges to improve sustainability.

New cruise brand Virgin Voyages, which is set to debut in 2020, reported this week that it will sail with no single-use plastics for guests onboard. That includes no plastic straws, bottled water, other beverage bottles, condiment packets, shopping bags, food packaging, stirrers and take-away coffee and tea cups, with those items replaced by recyclable and reusable materials. Guests will have access to complimentary filtered still and sparkling water at all bars and restaurants, as well as at water stations throughout the ship. The move to ban plastics makes Virgin the latest cruise brand to do so; Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s brands, The Travel Corporation’s river cruise brands and Hurtigruten have announced similar initiatives.

In new ship news this week Princess Cruises announced plans for two new ships to be built by shipbuilder Fincantieri, slated for delivery in late 2023 and spring 2025. The new vessels, which will have a capacity of approximately 4,300 guests (lower berths), will be mostly powered by liquefied natural gas, a fuel that’s billed as cleaner burning than other fuel types. The ships will also be partly powered by marine gasoil. Both of the ships are part of Princess Cruises parent company Carnival Corporation’s preexisting order with Fincantieri for a slate of LNG-powered vessels.

Finally, this week Carnival Corp. released its sustainability report for 2017. The cruise company reported that it achieved its 25 percent carbon reduction goal that year, three years ahead of schedule, and that it is on track with nine other 2020 sustainability goals.

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