Sustainability on a cruise | How to travel in a more sustainable way.

The topic of cruising and sustainability often comes up and before/during my first cruise I did some research as to how one can cruise more sustainably. Much of this (as well as choosing which company to cruise with) actually comes down to decisions you can make during the cruise, and I wanted to highlight some of these below.

1. Choose to sail from a local port.

In terms of your carbon footprint then flying, especially short haul is one of the worst things you can do. Whilst we all do want to reduce the impact we are having on the planet, most families would be unlikely to forego their Summer holiday, but a holiday where you don’t have to fly is definitely an improvement. I chose to sail on the Sapphire Princess which departed in Southampton meaning I was able to get the train to my port of departure rather than having to fly in. It was very convenient for me and avoided the need to spend more money on a flight, as well as avoiding the airport stress.

2. Recycle

As well as recycling facilities around the ship I was very pleased to learn that everything you put in a bin in your cabin is separated for recycling. So even if you don’t get chance to put your bottles/papers etc into a designated recycling area, then it will all be separated and recycled anyway.

3. Don’t get sheets changed daily

On cruises as with hotels then your sheets will be changed daily and your towels will be replaced, cutting down on your cabin’s laundry is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint however. On board the Sapphire Princess I was able to speak to the friendly staff member assigned to my room and alert them that I didn’t need a change every day.

Equally just by folding and rehanging your towels you’ll be able to make it clear that you don’t need them replacing. This might seem like a small step but if everybody on the ship did the same it would make a big difference.

4. Don’t waste food

Food and dining is obviously a large part of any cruise, but despite all the delicious options you’d be surprised how much food is wasted in any restaurant both at sea and on land.

Much of this lies in us all having eyes bigger than our stomachs, and over ordering. It actually takes a while for your stomach to know that you’re full and especially with a delicious buffet it’s easy to over-order. Do as the Europeans do and take your time with your food, choose a few smaller plates and then go back for more helpings when you’re sure you have room!

5. Use fillable stations instead of plastic bottles

Thanks to the David Attenborough effect most people and now trying their hardest to cut down on single-use plastic.

Take a reusable bottle on board and ask staff members to fill it up for you rather than opting for plastic bottles. Equally don’t forget that on many cruise lines the water in the taps is of very high quality and perfectly safe to drink. Try filling up your reusable water bottle from the tap in your cabin before bed, adding a couple of slices of fresh lemon before putting it in your room fridge to cool for the next day.

On board the Sapphire Princess there were plenty of areas where you could get a drink without the need for any single use plastic.

6. Don’t flush waste down the toilet
This is a steadfast rule for general living; it’s always better to put waste in the provided bin rather than flushing it. As previously mentioned rubbish in the bins is sorted and recycled so better to put it in there to ensure that any ‘black’ and ‘grey’ water is actually cleaner when dropped in accordance with the law.

This article was written in AD partnership with Princess Cruises but as always all the opinions are my own.

First time on a cruise? What you need to know?

If you’ve booked to go on your first cruise or are currently browsing options to have a cruise as your next holiday then you may be wondering what things you need to know before you travel on a cruise ship for the first time.

I recently travelled with Princess Cruises from Southampton on my first ever cruise so I’ve put together a handy guide that answers all the questions I had as well as some things I found out on the way.

What do I need to pack?
Obviously this will vary from cruise to cruise but below is a list of general items you will need to pack. Just like a hotel then often you will be provided with a toiletry set in your cabin, equally there will be an on board shop where you can purchase any items that you may have forgotten. Don’t panic if you do forget something as at the port days you’ll also be able to go shopping.

  • Comfortable shoes for hiking/walking on port days
  • Swimwear for the pool
  • Suncream
  • Smart clothing for any formal nights on board (see ‘Formal night’ section.)
  • Travel adapters
  • Camera (obviously) although there will often be on board photographers
  • Gym kit; many cruise ships will have gym facilities that you may wish to use

What is the formal night like?
Many cruise ships have at least one formal night, and whilst it’s not always compulsory that you get involved, it is a fun evening and an excuse to dress a little fancy. Formal nights will be announced in advance so you’ll have time to plan. On my cruise is Princess Cruises on board the Sapphire Princess then many people opted for tuxedos and evening gowns, with a few choosing a more simple shirt and tie.

Our formal night started with a champagne waterfall in the main atrium which was a fun activity where you could volunteer to pour the bottles and was a great photo opportunity.

Can you get laundry done on board?
Just like at a hotel it will more than likely be possible to get your clothes washing done on board. The system will probably include ticking a box to say what needs washing and leaving it for housekeeping to collect.

What about phone signal?
When you’re near a port or of course docked then of course you will be able to get signal on your phone and the normal roaming charges from your network supply will apply. However once you’re out at sea then if your phone joins a maritime network then you’re likely to come back with some pretty hefty charges. Best advice would be to switch the roaming off your phone shortly after you leave a port to avoid any extra costs.

Can I drink the water on board?
Unlike on a plane, there’s no need to worry about the quality of the water on board. It will all have been through rigorous testing to ensure it’s top quality for your to drink straight from the tap.

What kind of activities are on board?
There will be two separate options for your time on the ship.
1. Every ship will of course have the options available every day; for example the swimming pools, perhaps a casino, gym, running track or shuffleboard.
2. There will be daily activities announced on the ship, these will vary but may include shows and live performances, bingo, quiz sessions, art auctions and movie nights (on the Sapphire Princess they had the popular ‘Movies under the stars.’
For the daily activities you will be able to plan your day as you’ll have access to a schedule to see’what’s on’.

What happens on port days?
Of course the ports of call are an exciting part of any cruise. You’ll be informed as to the time of arrival and if the ship is docking right by the port then you’ll be able to disembark when you wish. If you have a tour booked of course you’ll have to ensure you’re off in good time to meet your group/guide. Equally be mindful of the time you need to back on the ship and leave plenty of time to board.

What is a tender?
A ship’s tender or just ‘tender’ is a boat used to transport the passengers to the port when the ship is unable to dock directly by the land. It’s a safe and quick way to get to shore. Sometimes this will involve travelling in lifeboats for example or just smaller boats to reach the ship.
If tenders are being used on a port day you will be informed in advance and sometimes may be given a specific time or group to travel with. Before the ship leaves in the evening you will be informed of the time of the last tender.

What is a muster station?
You’ll be allocated a muster station when you get on board. Put simply, this is the location you need to meet at should there be an emergency. If the emergency alert were to go off then you should make your way to the assigned location (clearly marked) and await further instructions from the crew.

Will I need an adapter for the plug sockets?
This will vary from ship to ship. On board the Sapphire Princess as it was an American ship then the plug sockets were 3 pin US so many people required an adapter, however these were available in the shop to purchase.

Will I feel sea sick?
Generally it’s not common to feel sick on cruise ships, as the larger the ship the less noticeable it will be that you’re slightly swaying. Some people actually find the movement of the ship fairly relaxing as they are going to sleep.

This post was written in AD partnership with Princess Cruises however the article and everything in it of course reflects my opinion and not that of the company.