Cruise Lines Get More Environmentally Friendly for 2012

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Cruises are more popular than ever and can make for a memorable time. With all the concern about the environment today, many cruise lines are going green and becoming environmentally friendly for their cruises 2012 agenda. That way, eco-friendly customers can rest assured that the cruise line shares their environmental concerns. Here are ways that some cruise lines are not only offering amazing vacations but helping to save the planet, too.

1. Holland America Cruises took the first step in fuel savings by looking at the tides and using them to decrease the usage of fuel. Going against the tides takes more energy so the cruise line arranged the docking schedules to use the tides to the greatest advantage. Another way they save fuel is painting the outside of the ship with a silicone-based paint that decreases drag in the water. To help on cooling costs, they tint the windows to cut out some of the sun’s energy. Taking their eco-friendly attitude one more step meant using towels over again, using natural soap and green cleaners, and having low flow faucets and showerheads.

2. Family friendly Disney Cruise Lines are showing their environmental consciousness by starting a huge recycling program on board their ships. Practically anything that can be recycled is being recycled and that includes metal, cardboard, aluminum, and plastic. Any materials that can be used again are donated to places along their route that are in need. Disney Cruise Lines also uses lighting that saves energy and for onboard laundry, they use water that has been reclaimed from the cooling system. To save fuel, Disney Cruise Lines have taken steps to make their ships lighter.

3. Another cruise line that is going green is Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. They no longer use disposable table ware or plastic water bottles on their ships. To also reduce waste, they order bulk condiments to cut down on extra packaging. They look for ways to offer their guests options for reusing a product or using a biodegradable one. For fuel efficiency, they have modified the design of the hull of the ship, altered their motors, and repainted the ships to decrease drag. To the tune of 100 million dollars, they upgraded the water purification system to an environmentally friendly one.

Now when you go on a fabulous cruise, you don’t have to leave your eco-friendly beliefs at home. Your adventure will be even more enjoyable knowing the cruise ship is reducing its carbon footprint.

Carnival in Barbados: Crop-over!

There are many reasons to visit the Caribbean. The chief ones most cited by holidaymakers and the travel industry include fantastic beaches, amazing weather, a laid-back pace of life, and some of the best resorts in the world.

One of the most successful cruise operators has the cheek to use the word ‘Carnival’ as their brand name. But, for those in the know, the sterile tourist environment of a cruise ship is about as far from a carnival as you can get. For the more curious traveller, who doesn’t want to stay locked away in a gated resort, or trapped on a floating shopping mall; the Caribbean islands have a lot more to offer.

So what about a real carnival? The laid-back, cheerful and basically sunny culture of Barbados has much in common with Trinidad & Tobago, and the island’s beautiful, booty-shaking, bombastic blast of a carnival is no exception.

The traditional English Harvest Festival with its roots in pre-Christian tradition provided the initial setting for carnival in Barbados, which was known for centuries as Harvest Home, then finally as Crop over. What used to be a one-day celebration that began the moment the last donkey-cart of sugar cane was brought in from the fields, has now become a five-week festival season which reaches its bacchanalian crescendo on Kadooment Day.

Despite these rustic British roots, Bajan carnival has grown more similar to that of Trinidad and Tobago. Today, Crop-over has the same central elements of pageantry and competition, with Calypso, Soca, costumes and dance, all amid some of the most spectacular street festivities outside of Rio de Janeiro.

Despite their similarities, the carnivals of the Caribbean islands all have a unique character of their own, and Barbados Crop-over is full of surprises. That ‘last cart of sugar cane’ has become the many elaborately decorated floats of the modern carnival parade, ranging from huge buses to festooned bicycles, each featuring fantastic designs depicting each Mas band’s theme. Among the island’s unique musical developments is Tuk, which evolved from a combination of British marching and African rhythms. Featuring whistles, kettle drums, bass drums and African beats in a true Bajan melting pot. Barbados is the only place in the world to witness this unique style of music.

Crop-over in and around Bridgetown is a varied and tumultuous festival, featuring such diverse events as spoken word, cookery festivals, the raucous parties of the main Soca competitions, and even the ‘Jump’ set in beautiful countryside outside the capital. Culminating in a massive party and road-march on Kadooment day on the first Monday in August, Crop-over easily rivals Trinidad, Rio or anywhere else. Again, there’s no clash of dates – so a carnival enthusiast can fit Barbados into their hectic schedule without missing any of their carnival favourites.

For its range of activities and variety of locations and experiences, there is nothing quite like celebrating Crop-over in the sunshine state of Barbados.

Gertrude Blunt is an independent travel writer and music freak based in the UK. Gertrude is currently planning her holidays in Barbados and looking forward to another amazing carnival.