Ahoy there! If you’re thinking of going on a cruise this year, you’re not alone ABTA’s Travel Trends Report 2017 estimates that over one in ten holidaymakers (13%) are planning a cruise in the next 12 months.
If you’re a conscientious traveller, like most of are, here are some ways to enjoy your holiday and be a sustainable cruiser at the same time.
Before your trip - check what your company can do for you and what you can do for the planet.
Do your research. Check whether your cruise company has a sustainable tourism policy or mission statement. This will explain how they look after the environment and how they support the local communities in ports as well as how they treat their staff on their ships. If the information on sustainability is hard to find on their website, it always worth asking them for further details.
Feel empowered! When pre-booking excursions, have a think about the kind of impact you want to leave on a destination, do a bit of research on the businesses providing the excursions.
On board - do what you can
There is only so much that you can do, but always try to make use of the facilities around you, recycling bins are the first thing to look for. If they do not have a recycling system on board, consider taking your used paper goods with you when you disembark and recycle on land and encourage the cruise company to change its recycling policy.
Turn off the lights when not in your cabin, if you are able to control the temperature put it back to neutral/off when you are leaving the room. If you’re lucky enough to book a balcony room, make use of the fresh air and limit the use of the air conditioning.
In the Port
Make sure your money gets to local people. Eating, drinking and buying local produce including wines and souvenirs is the key. All these things will have a vital impact on the local economy. Get away from the tourist crowds and head off to parts of town used by local people. There are loads of fantastic opportunities in ports to have an authentic and flavoursome experience.
Find yourself your very own micro adventure in a new port, although this may require research beforehand, other times it may be a case of being open to new opportunities when you disembark. Either way, it’s important to make a mental note before disembarking and be prepared not to be jostled into an activity that you do not want to support such as ad hoc animal shows that use animals as photo props.
Make a contribution - there are often charities and local social enterprises that can help passengers give back to destinations whilst on a trip. Worth asking your rep whilst on the ship.
When you get home
Don’t forget to feedback to your cruise company on things that you liked as well as those things you would like to change. Your comments are powerful and you can help shape next year’s itinerary planning and the excursions on offer. You can also feedback to ABTA and other trade associations if there are aspects of your trip that go beyond the way your cruise company operates. For animal welfare issues, you can alert the Born Free Foundation by using their Travelers Alert system. See link here
Quite often, an experience may have affected you deeply and you would like to do something about it. There are charities organisations that can help you give back to specific destinations and causes when you’re back in the UK.