A Treadwell & Tenny Look Ahead to 2020
Back in our dim and distant youth, we fondly remember a cartoon featuring Tweety Pie and Sylvester where the hapless feline of the story was whisked aboard a ship and found himself at the mercy of some rough seas.
Whenever he was in a position to make a canary-sized meal of his avian adversary, the little yellow bird would point to the waves and watch poor Sylvester change colour, along with the time-honoured phrase, “Aw, Puddy Tat’s gone green again…”
We mention this blast from the animated past not to highlight the iniquitous nature of sea-sickness (which remains one of the most genuinely erroneous reasons for first-timers not wanting to take a cruise), but to look forward to a genuine transformation in the wide world of cruising that we’d like to celebrate in our own little preview of 2020 (now that our blogging friends and colleagues Simon and Susan have had their say last week)…
…and that is the simple but welcome fact that, like our cartoon cat, Cruising is Going Green.
For that, we should definitely celebrate, albeit this new-found desire to be more carbon-conscious has been a long time in coming (and, to a certain extent, is being required by more stringent regulations).
But there is a definite and highly laudable trend this year, and we’d like to make it our New Year’s Resolution to promote and support the various lines that are all doing Their Bit to make sea-going travel a more eco-friendly proposition.
With that in mind, each of the following gets the Treadwell & Tenny seal of approval for happy voyaging in 2020, and we hope that you seek them out to show that going green isn’t just about Mal de Mer.
Not surprisingly, the go-ahead Norwegian expedition-focused company has been at the forefront of recent developments to be more environmentally aware, and 2019 saw them debut the unique hybrid-powered Roald Amundsen vessel that can sail partly on battery power and use low-sulphur diesel, in addition to their earlier commitment to eliminate all single-use plastics onboard their fleet. Later this year, their hybrid pioneer will have a new 20,000-ton running mate, the Fridtjof Nansen, which Treadwell stubbornly pronounces as Frito Nisi, but which regardless will also feature this cleaner propulsion system and offer to make Norwegian cruisers of us all.
It’s all very well cruise lines offering to take us to the more pristine, off the beaten track and lesser-explored ocean-going destinations, but there also needs to be a concerted effort to protect those environments, and this summer’s Silver Origin aims to do exactly that in the Galapagos Islands. Silversea’s latest 5,000-ton, 100-passenger voyager promises to be expressly designed to adhere to the strictest environmental guidelines with the most-eco-friendly ship in the region thanks to its dynamic positioning system (to protect the seafloor); fresh-water purification systems in each suite (negating the need for plastic bottles and winning Tenny’s approval for its role in spotless Martini glasses); advanced waste-water treatment system; and built-in energy efficiencies. This will all be in addition to the line’s contribution to the Floreana Island Ecological Restoration Project. Oh, and for the ultra-sybarites among us, the ship will be sumptuously outfitted to ensure the most luxurious experience around the islands, too!
In a similar vein, one of the world’s foremost expedition-cruise proponents will also be debuting a highly eco-sensitive new vessel this April when the National Geographic Endurance takes to the seas. Carrying just 126 passengers, this “next generation Polar explorer,” as she is touted, should be another paragon of carbon-aware neutrality thanks to the energy-efficient X-bow design and other technical gizmos and gadgets that reduce her environmental impact. While we are all in favour of polar voyaging (in the wake of her trail-blazing namesake predecessor, as steered by Sir Ernest Shackleton), we do distinctly deem cruise companies need to diminish their effect as much as possible, and this chic little adventurer definitely gets our vote for Maritime Eco-Warrior of the Year.
In the ‘Knock Me Down with a Feather, Guv’nor’ stakes, there might not be a more overlooked – but environmentally aware – cruise line than the French Compagnie du Ponant (or just Ponant to non-Francophiles). Very quietly over the past 10 years, this beautifully offbeat adventurer has grown from being a three-ship boutique concern to something of a mid-range colossus, with no fewer than 11 new vessels, including two this year and one more in 2021. This year will see the arrival of Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier, which both feature Ponant’s signature energy-efficient propulsion systems, low-energy lighting and eco-friendly air-conditioning and waste treatment systems. With voyages to the Norwegian fjords, the Baltic, Iceland and Far East (among quite a few tempting itineraries), this should most certainly be another reason to proclaim ‘Vive La France!’ on your next ocean outing.
The Big Ships
In a major effort not to be ‘size-ist’ about our eco-deliberations for 2020, we should point out that not all these environmental efforts are being made by the small-ship companies of the world. In fact, many of the mainstream, big-ship concerns have all announced ongoing endeavours to be more efficient and less, frankly, gas-guzzling, than the ships of yore, including Royal Caribbean (by eliminating plastic water bottles and converting waste-water to advanced purification systems), Celebrity Cruises (with an initiative using solar panels), Holland America (using more recycling and energy-efficient methods) and Britain’s own P&O Cruises, with their new Iona in July, which will be the line’s first ship to be powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), a big improvement on the usual diesel engines.
But our nomination for Best Big Green Cruise Line should go to MSC Cruises, who have made a bold bid to be completely carbon-neutral this year. MSC has promised that they will offset ALL emissions directly and on behalf of its guests through a portfolio of projects, including a growing portion of blue carbon offsets, while also working to develop additional projects that enhance marine biodiversity and support communities that rely on the sea.
It is a pretty substantial claim, and one we’ll be watching with keen eyes in 2020, but it does serve to show that cruising is not only aware of the problems it can cause, but is actively and earnestly working to cancel them out. In this instance, even Sylvester would approve of going green!
Treadwell & Tenny
So, are we right or are we right? Give us your thoughts in the Comments section below.