Live Green and Earn Points


Choose an eco-friendly cruise

By Shomik Ghosh |
Setting sail doesn't have to harm the oceans or planet. Opt for a low-impact sailing voyage, a smaller cruise ship, or book with a cruise line that's working to reduce waste and conserve energy.
An eco-friendly cruise allows you to sail the seven seas in eco-bliss. Fewer carbon emissions and minimal habitat destruction in ports where you dock means smoother sailing for both you and the planet on the high seas.

How to choose an eco-friendly cruise

Cruise ships — essentially floating cities — let you set sail in luxury, but this elegance comes with an eco-price. These giant ships are significant sources of water pollution, CO2 emissions, and ecosystem destruction. What are the alternatives?
  • Choose air or ground transport instead: If you can get to your dream destination by land or air (both more eco-friendly than ship travel), consider doing so.
  • Stay on dry land: Stay put at a beachside resort instead of cruising from port to port.
Of course, if you can't do without open waters and ocean breezes, there are greener options, including sailing cruises, opting for a smaller, less CO2-intensive cruise ship, or booking an eco-friendly luxury liner.
  • Try sailing: For minimum impact try a low-carbon sailing trip. Whether it's just you or an expert crew at the helm, you'll enjoy sea and sunshine without using fossil fuels or emitting greenhouse gases.
  • Go smaller: If sailing is a little more hands-on than you'd like, book a less fossil-fuel intensive smaller cruise — there are dozens of unique options, everything from a Kerala houseboat cruise in India to a whale-watching vessel off the coast of Newfoundland.
  • Set sail sustainably: If you're still set on the ease and elegance of an ocean liner, reduce your traveler's footprint by choosing cruises offered by members of the Cruise Lines International Association (which include most of the larger cruise companies). These cruise lines have agreed to follow strict voluntary environmental standards for wastewater and recycling. But some have gone a step further, offering additional eco-amenities and conservation practices. Examine cruise liners' fine print to find greener cruise lines and other eco-friendly sailing options.

Find it! Eco-friendly cruises

Remember, some cruise lines go beyond the basic eco-standards set by the Cruise Lines International Association. Do a bit of research on your potential sea vacation provider to fine the greenest option possible.

Choosing an eco-friendly cruise helps you go green because…

  • Smaller, less fuel-intensive vessels and eco-friendly cruise ships reduce carbon emissions, cut ocean pollution, and reduce the impact of tourism on bio-diversity hot spots.
External links


  1. US Environmental Protection Agency - Cruise Ship Water Discharges
  2. Cruise Lines International Association - Cruise Industry Overview 2006
  3. Cruise Lines International Association - Inside Cruising: A Guide for Travel Professionals
  4. - Are Cruise liners a viable alternative to flying?
  5. Conservation International Center for Environmental Leadership - Press Release: Ocean Conservation and Tourism Alliance
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