I was participating in the Sunday Brunch Travel Chat on Twitter last week (#SBTC) and the topic was "green travel." We always try to have as light an impact on the environment as possible when we are out on the road. This discussion in the Twitter chat made me wonder how we can do even more -- especially on cruises -- to be environmentally conscious.
I've come up with a few ideas based on certain behaviors I have witnessed during my 24 cruises. If we all do a little bit more to conserve, we can help to keep cruising more affordable while aiding the health and sustainability of the planet and its inhabitants.
1. Take only what you need and eat all that you take. The biggest peeve of mine is the wasteful behavior of my fellow cruisers. You are entitled to be as gluttonous as you want. We all overindulge a bit on vacation, sure. But you can go back to the buffet as often as you like or order more in the main dining room if you are still hungry. So, there is no reason to pile gigantic portions of everything you come across as you circle the buffet area only to leave heaping plates barely touched. This wasted food all gets thrown away.
Why not browse the entire lay of the buffet, then carefully select a nice variety of food and scoop a modest portion onto your plate. Did you especially like something? Fine. Go back for more. Didn't like something? Good. At least you didn't take too much, so you won't waste much.
Finish your first plate and still hungry? Awesome! Go back and try some other items.
Celebrity Cruises is trying a new system to address waste concerns. Seeing that some people just can't control themselves -- or simply donât give a damn how much they waste -- Celebrity Summit's buffet features preplated items in small portions. We'll see how this flies with passengers. I'm sure there are going to be unintended consequences because people like to have more control and choice.
All I can suggest is that we exercise a little bit more common sense and self control in an effort to eliminate some of the waste I see going on.
2. Don't toss anything overboard. This would seem to be common sense. Mainly, we need to be careful not to have anything accidentally fly off your balcony in the breeze, too. Cruise lines are especially concerned with smokers tossing their lit cigarettes and cigars into the oceans. Besides spoiling the waters, this can be extremely dangerous. The smoking materials can easily blow into a lower deck and start a fire onboard.
3. Towels can be used more than once. This practice applies anywhere you travel and are provided towels at the pool or in your accommodations. On a cruise, though, people tend to be extra wasteful with their towels. Many simply use them as lounger savers. That is, they rise early grab a batch of towels and drape them over the poolside loungers to selfishly save seats that many of them never really intend to use (I guess they want to reserve the option and the hell with the rest of us!). Well, these towels also must be gathered up by the pool attendants and washed. How thoughtless and wasteful is that whole cycle?
These are just a few concerns that jump out at me as I cruise. Please chip in with your ideas for how we can be more responsible as cruisers.
As always, thanks for reading.