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Old 09-05-2006, 09:34 AM
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First off, I must say that I am have always been a concerned environmentalist but not a “tree hugger.” I recently booked my first Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean based on pressure from some friends – Left to me, I probably would not have considered a cruise after having seeing so many loud and often obnoxious cruise ship tourists take over some of the most beautiful islands (I am also an avid scuba diver). Some ports - some days there are seven or eight cruise ships that dump 15,000 – 20,000 tourists all at the same time so they can go buy some overpriced, Japanese-made trinket. With good friends however convinced me so I had decided keep an open mind and go along.

This past weekend however, I heard from a neighbor that the major cruise lines have been involved in multi-year, ongoing lawsuits over illegally and continuously dumping raw sewage, oil, garbage and hazardous wastes into our oceans. I later came home and ran an internet search and found alarming information that this has been going on for the past decade and until the lawsuit is settled, the cruise ships just dump, routinely get caught and subsequently pay big fines like it is just a right of passage.

I read that one of the biggest offenders is Royal Caribbean Lines – of which I am planning to travel in October.

I would like to hear what the industry has to say about these allegations however I find no satisfactory information given by the cruise ship lines. If this was something that some crazy tree huggers came up with I could understand but running an internet search comes up with some very credible sources. Seems to me like politics - big industry paying big dollars to go ahead and pollute.

I am wondering what other folks think about these allegations. If they are true, will you continue to consider cruising? I am having thoughts of either backing out or going and asking a lot of questions.


J.
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Old 09-05-2006, 09:56 AM
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Everything you read on the internet is not gospel. That said, there have been lawsuits and fines but not to the extreme that you appear to believe is true.

Cruise ships do not routinely roam the oceans wantonly dumping stuff overboard. New ships are actually zero discharge vessels. RCCL has a very impressive onboard recycling program. But accidents, incidents, and mistakes do happen.

You'd probably be aghast to learn that the U.S. Navy - at least when I was on duty 20 some years ago - routinely dumped raw sewage and trash overboard. We did it in international waters. We had no other way to deal with it. I'm not sure how they handle it these days, but many ships are too small to have trash processing machinery aboard.

Those seven or eight cruise ships full of "loud, obnoxious" tourists are an important source of income to most islands in the Caribbean. If this all bothers you that much, then I suggest you cancel your cruise. You seem to be pre-conditioning yourself to have a rotten time on the Freedom, and that's a shame. Roaming the ship looking for telltale signs of pollution or interrogating crewmembers is not the way to enjoy a cruise!

As for me, the rants about pollution are just that, and it will not turn me off to cruising.
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Old 09-05-2006, 10:17 AM
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Natural oil seeps on the ocean floor put more into the oceans every day than would probably happen if every ship at sea suddenly discharged their tanks. For instance, the Coal Oil Point seep field usually leaks 100 barrels or so of oil into the ocean daily. There are lots of these seep fields all over the globe.
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:28 AM
 
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JasonG, I was just wondering how you got to these scuba diving destinations, auto, plane, or perhaps burro. In case you don't get it, all these methods pollute the planet in some way. There are far less cruise ships in the world than there are cars and airplanes, just something to think about. Rbum
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Old 09-05-2006, 02:08 PM
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The ships on the ocean today are for the most part self-contained, recycling, cold garbage storing, least polluting vessels in any industry. There have been law suits, and there have been mistakes made, and there has been a great deal of effort to correct any problems. Hotels/motels/inns, etc., do more to pollute the ocean than a cruise ship ever dared to. Not to mention all the swimmers, divers, boaters, and fishermen that think the ocean is their private toilet and garbage disposal.
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Old 09-06-2006, 01:08 PM
 
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My husband and I went on an RCCL cruise last Dec. One of the ports we visited was Cozumel. Because of damage from Hurricane Wilma, only a few cruise ships were allowed into port each day.

We booked an excursion on the ship that took us on a tour of the island. MANY times during that trip, the locals thanked us for visiting. Their economy is dependent on tourism and cruise ships contribute significantly to that economy.

It was humbling to see the damage they incurred and the herculean efforts that they were making to repair the island infrastructure so that more tourists and cruise ships could return.

We, too, are concerned about the environment and contribute to environmental causes. While your concerns regarding cruise ships may have been justified a decade ago, we do not believe that to be the case anymore.

I understand that when you see a thousand people descend on an island at one time, it can be overwhelming. But my observation has been that very few cruisers would fall into the loud and obnoxious category. Most people are on the vacation of a lifetime and want to experience what each island has to offer. Their money helps to sustain the island and possibly improve the quality of life for the natives of the island. Please don't judge all cruisers by the actions of a few!!
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Old 09-08-2006, 10:41 PM
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HERE HERE Most excellent post
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Old 09-09-2006, 12:41 PM
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Great post Nadine. I could not have said it better.
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Old 09-10-2006, 05:54 AM
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When I was on the Costa Mediterranea, one waiter told me that the "feed the fish" after the two sittings. I found out that they shred all food and send it away in the ocean. All the fish then eats the food. I was shocked to hear that, but I guess the food decomposes if not eaten. The other stuff gets recycled and discarded at port. I don't really know what they do with raw sewage (and I don't want to find out) I just love cruising - and buying those Japanese-made trinkets like you say.
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Old 09-10-2006, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by lustforlife:
When I was on the Costa Mediterranea, one waiter told me that the "feed the fish" after the two sittings. I found out that they shred all food and send it away in the ocean. All the fish then eats the food. I was shocked to hear that, but I guess the food decomposes if not eaten. The other stuff gets recycled and discarded at port. I don't really know what they do with raw sewage (and I don't want to find out) I just love cruising - and buying those Japanese-made trinkets like you say.
Also, they only start discarding the food when they are 20 miles in the ocean, so the food won't go back to shore and you can scuba-dive in peace.
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