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The world’s largest cruise company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has revealed initial plans to eliminate single-use plastics from its operations on its three lines, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and Royal Carribean International.

Historically, cruising as an industry has copped plenty of rubbishing of its own for its environmental impact on the oceans, rivers and places its vessels visit.

A team of researchers in a recent study found out that the vast amount of plastic that is currently in the oceans, is directly linked to outbreaks of disease in the coral reefs, with animals and seabirds ingesting plastic waste on a daily basis.

As such, plastic is considered a significant threat to the world’s ecosystems and plastic waste management is a massive challenge to the cruise industry.

“By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.”

Ellen McArthur Foundation

Quotes such as the projection of “By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish” don’t help the cruise industry’s case either and are an alarming call for complete ‘change’ in the way travel and tourism, in general, has the biggest of all roles to play in championing action.


It’s refreshing then, to see the world’s largest cruise company coming out with such a strong statement of intent.

Royal Caribbean Cruises say they will initially target single-use disposable plastics, such as plastic drinks bottles. From there it will seek to cut down on the quantity of plastic used in the business, such as straws, furniture including chairs and even the current plastic belt buckles on staff uniforms.

President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley, told the Telegraph.co.uk that the cruise line had cooperated with its sister firms to investigate ways to reduce the number of plastics used in the daily operations of their combined 38 ships and ultimately terminate all single-use plastic.

The company say that ultimately, the goal is to ‘influence supply chain,’ so that everyone plays their part in using plastics.

Adidas Parley trainers made from recycled ocean plastic

Adidas Parley trainers are made from recycled ocean plastic

However, they did not reveal when the change will happen, as the company is still trying to identify exact ways to work through the magnitude of the challenge. “It won’t happen in three months,” Mr Bayley was quoted as saying.

Recently, the European Commission released a new proposal for a revised law to govern the delivery of waste from ships in European ports and fishing harbours. The new proposal aims to achieve a higher level of protection of the marine environment and introduces measures to prevent marine litter.

The commission also wants to ensure that there are the necessary port reception facilities available, to promote a waste notification from ships and transparency of waste delivery fee charging structures.

What do you think about Royal Caribbean’s announcement? Share your thoughts below.