The future of the cruise industry is perhaps more open now than it ever has been. The majority of cruise lines are currently on pause, giving them an excess of time to plan out their next steps. Retrofitting ships for coronavirus safety is the top priority, but it goes without saying that companies are also considering other advances that they could make once international travel is safe again. There are many directions that the industry could go in, but many are starting to think that a focus on sustainability is the future.
Mundy Cruising survey
Mundy Cruising, a small cruise line based out of the U.K., recently ran a survey asking cruise experts what they expected to see in the next few decades. 69% of them predicted that zero-emissions ships would be commonplace by 2050. This suggests that a majority of cruise experts expect the industry to shift towards a more sustainable path. This is good to see, but this is perhaps due to a more troubling trend. 70% (1% greater than the percentage of experts predicted a future of zero-emissions ships) said that they believed cruising in Antarctica would be banned sometime before 2050. This is likely due to the impact that cruises are having on the region.
Working towards a more sustainable future
While we aren’t yet at the point of developing cruise ships with zero emissions, there are several new ships that are focused more on sustainability. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a new way of powering ships with lower emissions, and it’s already being used. The AIDAnova pioneered the use of LNG, and Costa Smeralda followed soon after. Disney, MSC, P&O, Carnival and more all plan to introduce LNG ships in the coming years as well. Beyond fuel, Royal Caribbean has abandoned single-use plastics and Celebrity Cruises has moved towards using more solar power. It is clear that sustainability is on the minds of some of the biggest cruise lines out there.
The importance of sustainability
There are multiple benefits to focusing on sustainability going forward. Aside from the obvious and hugely important environmental benefits, the cruise industry stands to profit from investing in environmentally-friendly solutions. Once cruising resumes post-pandemic, many travelers are likely going to be wary of cruises due to the bad press they have received in 2020. An image of sustainability could help repair this damage and invite travelers that may have otherwise avoided cruises. It could also help expand the cruise market in general, which could be a huge boon for companies that have suffered financially over the past few months.
It’s clear that the cruise industry is waking up to the importance of sustainable solutions. We’re excited to see what kinds of developments come in the future. Perhaps that zero-emissions ship is right around the corner!