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Green Cruising

recycle bin recycling plastic blueMSC Cruises
Onboard Policies: All waste is treated, including aluminum cans, which will be recycled into sheet aluminum in port. There are also environmentally friendly incinerator units for both wood and paper.

Conscious Crew: MSC Cruises trains all crewmembers when they embark to increase their environmental awareness. Due to shift rotations, training is repeated periodically in order to ensure constant crew preparation throughout a series of meetings. Crewmembers (particularly the waste management team in charge of separation and breakdown) are trained to be fully aware of waste management procedures.

Green Guests: There are numerous advisories in each stateroom. For example: in the bathroom, a sign informs passengers where they should place their towels (on the floor if they would like a new one, or on the rack if they will reuse) to prevent an overuse of detergents from polluting the sea. Other advisories are present in the Daily Program and compendium informing passengers to refrain from throwing any item (waste and cigarettes) overboard.

Special Projects/Awards: MSC Poesia, which entered the fleet in early 2008, is one of the most environmentally friendly cruise vessels in the industry. It's the first ever to be coated with Intersleek 900 paint with "four release" -- a non-toxic substance that helps lower carbon dioxide emissions through the reduction of fuel. There are other energy safeguards, too. Each passenger's cruise card doubles as the on/off switch for electricity and air-conditioning in their stateroom; the system disables certain lights, hair dryers and air-conditioning when the cabin is unoccupied.

In a new agreement with the Italian National Consortium for the collection and recycling of aluminum, a special aluminum collection will be made from ships departing from Genoa and Venice. Items that will be taken and recycled include tin cans, foil used in cooking, and tubs and containers used for storage. The recycled material will be reused for household goods, furnishings and other purposes.

MSC Cruises was one of the first lines to support the "Venice Blue Flag" project, set up to control emissions of all the ships in transit between Bocca di Porto Lido and the Maritime Station of this lagoon capital. MSC Cruises has also been awarded the ISO 14001 Environmental Protection certificate from the Bureau Veritas, and CLEAN-SEA2 and CLEAN-AIR certificates, which are assigned to ships that care for the environment and follow strict emission measures.

Norwegian Cruise Line
Onboard Policies: The only solid waste discharged to sea is food waste, considered safe because either animals consume it or natural elements break it down in the water. Each ship treats black water, disposes of it on shore or discharges it at sea more than 12 miles from land. Gray water is either treated or discharged at sea more than four miles from land. Incinerators burn oil, paper, cardboard and some plastics onboard. What cannot be burned, or where incineration is not permitted, solid waste including other plastics, aluminum, glass and wood is brought ashore for recycling or licensed disposal.

Conscious Crew: A shoreside department is devoted to environmental protection, and trained environmental officers sail onboard every NCL ship. All crewmembers also receive training.

Special Projects/Awards: In Hawaii, all NCL and NCL America ships offload their used cooking oil for recycling to biodiesel. Norwegian Cruise Line recently completed an initiative at the Port of Miami to recycle used cooking grease from Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl as well; the line donated approximately 1,300 gallons of oil to an organic farmer who converted the oil to 870 gallons of biodiesel to power farming equipment. In 2008, Norwegian Pearl received the port of San Francisco's Cruise Ship Environmental Award, recognized for onboard systems that help decrease air and water pollution (Norwegian Sun received this award in 2007).

NCL also utilizes Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) -- a.k.a. shore power -- at the Port of Los Angeles.

Green Guests: The line encourages its guests to recycle. Young cruisers who participate in Kid's Crew can learn about the importance of clean water, and the effects and prevention of marine pollution through Officer Snook's Water Pollution Program (Officer Snook is a cartoon fish). Possible activities include a simulated beach cleanup and an environmental poster contest. High school students can earn between one and five hours of community service for participating in the program.

antarctica orion expedition cruises sunsetOrion Expedition Cruises
Onboard Policies: Orion Expedition Cruises' sole ship, the MV Orion, has been purpose-built to navigate inaccessible, exotic regions without disrupting their physical and cultural integrity. Orion carries National Park Rangers (or equivalent representatives) to guide the group when expeditions land ashore in restricted or protected areas. All waste is returned to the ship for recycling after each day's expedition. Onboard, waste is treated and disposed of to strict protocols.

Conscious Crew: In addition to following company protocol for proper waste management, crewmembers are trained to ensure that during shore landings, the impact on the environment and exotic species or microorganisms is minimized. For example, between shore landings, boots and walking sticks or axes are washed, with the washing water disposed of into the sea close to the point of origin.

Special Projects/Awards: Orion has been issued certificates for pollution and garbage handling; a certified sewage treatment plant and an efficient, high voltage electric incinerator can be found onboard. The company also engages in special projects, such as recycling the ship's bed linen by donating it to remote hospitals, rather than throwing it away. In 2008, Orion was awarded the Green Globe Bronze by worldwide benchmarking authority Green Globe for its commitment to sustainability and operational performance.

Green Guests: Orion's onboard team of marine biologists, zoologists and ornithologists brief guests through the natural and cultural wonders of their destinations, reinforcing the expedition line's environmental focus and efforts.

Princess Cruises
Onboard Policies: Waste is properly recycled or offloaded.

Conscious Crew: Princess places environmental officers onboard all of its ships.

Special Projects/Awards: Nine Princess ships are currently enabled to "plug in" to clean, local hydroelectric power when they dock in Seattle, Juneau, Los Angeles and Vancouver.

Green Guests: Specially marked containers are scattered throughout each ship in the fleet to encourage cruisers to recycle.

Royal Caribbean/Celebrity/Azamara
Onboard Policies: As part of the company's Save the Waves program, an advanced wastewater purification system treats all wastewater onboard. There's a zero discharge policy on solid waste; food waste is pulped and discharged more than 12 miles from land. To nip unnecessary waste in the bud, the line eliminated all disposable plastic items typically available to guests -- such as shampoo bottles, plastic plates and flatware -- in favor of reusable or biodegradable options.

Conscious Crew: An environmental officer maintains the overall program on each ship. All crew receive training on their environmental responsibilities within their first few hours onboard.

Special Projects/Awards: Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas is equipped with an atmospheric and oceanographic laboratory to help scientists conduct ocean and climate research. The lab, operated by the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), can track pollutants in the air and sea, measure the flow of currents to understand the balance and distribution of heat on the planet, collect data to use in ocean and hurricane models, and monitor populations of organisms living in the sea. Although the focus is long-term scientific study and analysis, the National Hurricane Center also uses the data to improve storm track predictions. Royal Caribbean is installing new generators, which will produce electricity much more efficiently, on Radiance- and Millennium-class ships.

The Ocean Fund, established in 1996 by Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, has since awarded $7.1 million in grants to marine conservation organizations dedicated to protecting the ecosystems of the world's oceans.

Green Guests: Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean program offers children and teens hands-on science experiments involving the environment. In the Caribbean, for instance, young cruisers can analyze the region's clouds, air temperature, precipitation, humidity and more in special "edu-tainment" classes.

Viking River Cruises
Onboard Policies: Viking River Cruises' ships comply with appropriate environmental laws.

Conscious Crew: Crew are encouraged to recycle.

Special Projects/Awards: Viking River's newest ship, Viking Legend, was designed to be the greenest in the fleet with diesel-electric hybrid engines. These use 20 percent less fuel than engines on comparable diesel-only ships. An extra bonus: the ship also provides a quieter ride by using four smaller propellers instead of two large ones. This is the first technology of its kind in the European river cruise market. The ship also has its own water treatment plant onboard, so only treated water is released into the ocean, and items such as oil, petroleum and kitchen waste are disposed of properly ashore.

Green Guests: Passengers are encouraged to recycle.

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    --written by Melissa Paloti
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