Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth to Cruise Lines Keep it Up

Earth Day
 April 22, 2014
For the past several years we've taken a look at the cruise industry's response to the environment on Earth Day.   This year we'll review an update provided by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Highlights from their press release:

“CLIA member cruise lines continue to invest in systems and technologies that improve overall environmental performance,” said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA.  “The industry takes its responsibility as caretakers of the environment seriously.  We work collaboratively with regulators, design and engineering experts and a range of stakeholders to raise the bar on our ongoing efforts to preserve and protect the oceans and the nearly 600 ports our member cruise lines visit.” 

Following are examples of steps that cruise lines have taken to protect the environment:
  • advanced wastewater treatment systems producing clean water
  • new technologies that help to reduce air emissions (exhaust gas scrubbers, more efficient engines)
  • using shore power where feasible
  • energy conservation (LED lighting, high efficiency appliances, cabins heated by recycled hot water, special window tinting to use less air conditioning)
  • ecological, non-toxic, slick hull coatings that increase energy efficiency and reduce air emissions

Cruise Line Recycling Highlights:

  • increased non-hazardous waste recycled to shore by 18% and reduced total waste almost 5%
  • recycled nearly 53% of the solid waste
  • 1,254 tons of cardboard,  2,517 tons of scrap metal, 2,988 tons of glass, 669 tons of plastic and managed 748 tons of trash and international garbage at Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facilities
  • over 52,000 gallons of used cooking oil annually 

These are just some samples of what individual cruise lines or family of brands have accomplished in 2013. The press release provides many more examples and additional details about how cruise lines have made a positive impact on the world.

The cruise industry is highlighting how its member lines are safeguarding the oceans and the environment through the recently launched ‘Cruise Forward’ industry-wide communications initiative.  Specific examples of how cruise lines across the globe are actively working to reduce the overall environmental impact of cruising and preserve and protect pristine oceans, beaches and ports can be found online at www.cruiseforward.org

Save the Waves

Royal Caribbean and other lines have special containers like these which help them separate the waste so that they can carry out these conservation efforts.

You can do your part by placing your garbage in the proper containers on the ship during your cruise.

On this Earth Day 2014, the earth is smiling about the progress made to date and hopes that everyone sailing on the seven seas continues in carrying out these efforts to protect the land and seas for future generations.

Here are some past Earth Day articles.  Links in these articles can assist you in additional research.  Each cruise line has a page dedicated to their efforts.  They are all very proud of what has been accomplished to date.

Past Articles:


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spend Your Tax Dollars On Yourself

Have you had visions of Caribbean beaches and cruise ships in your dreams?  I'm sure that I'm not the only one that does...  

Are you are getting a tax refund?  Help the economy grow - spend some of your tax refund on yourself - on a cruise vacation.  If you've not been on a cruise before, now is the best time.

If you are like most Americans, when the economy took a turn for the worse a couple years ago, your vacation plans went out the window.   Consequently cruise prices have remained at pretty constant low prices, but are about to start increasing.   There are still several cruise line offers available for those that want to take advantage of the lower pricing.

How about Europe Instead?

Of course, you don't need to go to the Caribbean, and in fact, the best deals this summer are actually going to be on European cruise vacations.   Why is that you ask?    The cruise lines have record deployments in Europe this summer but the demand hasn't kept pace with the increased capacity.

That's not to imply that people aren't booking European cruises - they are.  However, there are larger ships and more of them, in Europe this summer than any other time before. Obviously, the cruise ships need to sail full for the companies to make a profit, so the consumer wins.

Comparing Cruise to Land-Based

I just did a quick search on my website for a short European cruise vacation the middle of May.  I found a 12-Night Mediterranean on Celebrity Cruise Equinox with prices starting from $999pp for an inside cabin.   For those that aren't quick at math, that's $83pp per day (excluding taxes and fees).

For comparison purposes, I did a hotel search for Venice, the embarkation port, during the same period and prices for a popular hotel started from $300 Per Night.   The hotel didn't include meals or entertainment and was rated as a 4 star accommodation.    Contrasting the hotel stay and the cruise...  On the cruise it's like getting your room at less than 50%, all your meals, and entertainment onboard the ship.

Besides Venice you'll visit Dubrovnik, Croatia; Istanbul, Turkey; Salerno (Amalfi Coast), Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy; Marseille (Provence), France; and Barcelona, Spain.  The Mediterranean is one of our favorite cruise destinations.

I've not discussed airfare, which is a large expense for a European vacation, especially in prime season.   Since the cost of air would be the same for the cruise and land-based vacation stay, I've excluded that from the equation.    Since this cruise is before the Summer Season this makes the selected cruise even more attractive.

There are many deals to Europe this Summer.   We'll feature some of the sales on our website and Facebook page.   If you are seriously considering a Europe get-away this Summer, my suggestion would be to book now while the supply is larger than the demand so that you can maximize your investment.  

The prices I've seen during my search in preparation for this article are on par with what you'd pay for a Caribbean vacation on the same or similar ships.   For the most part, the ships are the larger, newer vessels in the respective fleets.   Ships like Celebrity Equinox and Solstice, Norwegian Epic, and Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas are just a few of the choices you'll have.

Of course, if you want to stay closer to home in the Caribbean, Bermuda, or Disney World, we can help you sort through all the possible choices and find the best value for you and your family.  

Put Your Tax Dollars to Work for You on a Cruise / Land Vacation to Remember for Years to Come.   Cruise Europe in 2014 !!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cruise3sixty Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Tenth Anniversary 
CLIA Cruise3sixty

Those of you that follow me on Facebook have, already had a glimpse last week's events  as I posted a few images from CLIA's 10th Annual Cruise3sixty conference which was being held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

It was exciting being here for part of this historic occasion.   I've attended all but last year's conference which was held in Vancouver.

With CLIA CEO Christine Duffy at Cruise3sixty
Cruise Lines International Association, Inc (CLIA) is the world's largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA represents the interests of cruise lines and travel agents before regulatory and legislative policy makers. 

CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise holiday vacations with thousands of travel agency and travel agent members.

CLIA North America is comprised of 26 cruise lines and 10,500 travel agencies representing more than 35,000 individual travel agents. In addition, more than 120 of the most innovative suppliers of goods and services to the cruise industry make up CLIA’s Executive Partner Program.

As a Master Cruise Counselor (MCC),  it is necessary for me to complete additional training each year in order to be re-certified.    CLIA's Cruise3sixty conference is a great way to meet those requirements and exceed them by attending seminars from many of the industry's leaders and interacting with agents and suppliers on 1-1 basis throughout the week.

Congratulations Christine Duffy and the entire CLIA staff for hosting yet another fabulous Cruise3sixty conference. I'm looking forward to next year's conference which will be back in Fort Lauderdale.

In my next posts, I'll talk more about some of my week's activities including ship inspections onboard some of the newest ships afloat.