By Priya Shah (’22)
Vacations are the one thing everyone looks forward to. Unlimited food, thrilling water slides, travelling to far away islands. This seems like a picture perfect trip. Cruises are one of the most popular vacations people take nowadays, and for good reason. They aren’t extremely expensive, and offer a variety of activities for the whole family. But have you ever thought about the long-lasting effects that cruises have on the environment and economy? Many of these impacts go unnoticed, but cruises have long been hurting the world, and many have not taken enough action to stop it.
Cruises have a large impact on the environment. Many cruises dump waste and sewage into the ocean. They have been seen as “floating cities” due to the amount of pollution they create. For example, a 2017 study revealed that Carnival Cruise Lines created 10 times as much Sulphur Oxide than all of Europe’s cars.This statistic reveals the extremity of the situation. Cruises also dump a large amount of oil into the ocean, harming marine life. In 2016, Princess Cruise Lines had to pay 40 million dollars for illegally emitting oil and other waste in the ocean. Even when ships are docked, they create air pollution that is associated with other health issues. Many people suffer from diseases due to the pollution the ships emit. Overall, cruise ships dump waste into the ocean illegally and many do not use environmentally friendly practices.
Cruise lines also use brutal business tactics that are not known to the public. For example, the companies that provide excursions for passengers often have to pay money to the cruise to get their excursion recommended by them. They are not genuinely reviewed by the cruises. This goes to show that cruise line care only about money, rather than providing a great experience for their customers.Additionally, people living in port cities face inflation, and increased housing prices from the cruise industry. As passengers enjoy the benefits of visiting different places everyday, the cities face a major problem: Overtourism. Since the cruises arrive at a specific time at a certain port, there is an overflow of tourists at one place. For smaller port cities, this creates an even bigger problem. Local residents feel that they are not able to live peacefully because of this. Many historical and older destinations feel the effect of over tourism more than newer ones, as they are not able to handle extremely large crowds. Cruise lines should work more closely with port cities to ensure that they have a voice in the ships’ practices.
Now, I’m not saying that you should skip your next family cruise vacation because you learned this. Do some research on the cruise line you are taking, and read about their environmental practices. Choose a cruise line that is environmentally friendly, and that cares about port cities. It is our responsibility to see the impacts of our activities on the world around us, and find ways to change them.