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Cruise Lines Announce Efforts to Eliminate Plastic Waste

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© Norwegian Cruise Line Public Relations Office PHOTO: Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Breakaway underway near Great Stirrup…

By Ana Figueroa, TravelPulse

Two major cruise companies are stepping up efforts to eliminate a modern-day scourge of the oceans: plastic.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (“RCL”) has announced that its fleet will eliminate plastic straws as of 2019. That applies to all 50 ships under the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, TUI Cruises, and Pullmantur Cruceros brands.

A "straws upon request" policy has already been in place across the RCL fleet. Beginning in 2019, guests requesting a straw will receive a paper straw rather than plastic. Additionally, the ships will incorporate Forrest Stewardship Council-certified wood coffee stirrers and bamboo garnish picks. All are part of RCL's plastic reduction strategy.

"Healthy oceans are vital to the success of our company," said Richard Fain, RCL chairman and CEO. "For over 25 years, our Save the Waves program has guided us to reduce, reuse, and recycle everything we can. Eliminating single-use plastics is another step in that program."

The company is engaged in a full plastics audit, with an overall plan set for completion by 2020.

Implemented in 1992, RCL's Save the Waves program has focused on sustainability practices. Those practices include state-of-the-art recycling centers on board ships. Equipped with shredders, balers, compactors, and crushers, their goal is “zero landfill.”

Additionally, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has joined Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance. The announcement comes in celebration of World Oceans Day.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.

“The success of our business is dependent on the health of our oceans and, together with Ocean Conservancy, we are taking a step forward in our commitment to protect the world’s oceans," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “We are excited to lead the cruise industry by joining the Trash Free Seas Alliance and support Ocean Conservancy’s vision of a world with waterways, beaches and oceans free of plastic waste.”

Founded in 2012, the Trash Free Seas Alliance is a collaboration between leaders of industry, academia and the conservation world. Their focus is on the measurable reduction of ocean trash.

” Nothing connects people to the ocean more than time spent on the water, and with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings offering that experience to more than 2.5 million guests each year, we believe this is a tremendous opportunity to foster greater stewardship of our oceans,” said Janis Searles Jones, chief executive officer at Ocean Conservancy.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings also spearheads its own global environmental program, “Sail & Sustain.”

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