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November 19, 2008

Saving the waves

Posted: 11:40 AM ET

Over the years, cruise ships have been under fire for sometimes sketchy environmental practices.  But it's looking like the green movement is even moving to the aqua-blue waterways. 

Celebrity Cruises' new ship, Solstice.

I just got off the inaugural sailing of the new Celebrity Solstice cruise ship.  This boat is big pimpin' - stylishly appointed with all the bells and whistles. But what may be more impressive than all the onboard comforts are the advances Celebrity has made to help protect the ocean.

Save the Waves is a comprehensive environmental protection program Celebrity established 20 years ago.  You might say its just PR greenwashing, but some steps they take to be green are pretty dramatic.  For instance, recycling bins for aluminum, plastic, and glass containers are a breeding ground for bacteria. The only way to prevent the bacteria from growing is to cool the containers, so they store recyclables in a massive refrigerator.

On the alternative energy front the Solstice is the first cruise ship to utilize the sun with solar panels spread out around the ship.  They don’t generate a ton of juice but every little bit helps, as do the 25,000 LED light bulbs used onboard. 

What I found most cool was what they did with the hull of the ship.  The hull is coated with a non-toxic silicone to create less friction with the water.  The coating also reduces the growth of barnacles and algae on the ship, which helps reduce the chances of transporting an invasive species into a habitat it shouldn’t be in.  (Like the Zebra Mussels that are creating havoc throughout the Great Lakes.)  

As for physical design, they moved the longitudinal center of buoyancy forward to create smaller angles in the aft of the ship, resulting in smoother flow of water to the propeller.   They also put a kind of reverse spoiler on the stern to help reduce drag.  More than 90 wind tunnel and water tank tests were done to help design a hull that is 30 percent more fuel efficient than older ships.  That’s a huge reduction on greenhouse gases AND a huge cost savings to the bottom line.  (Though like just about any large oceangoing vessel, Celebrity Solstice still runs on diesel.   A lot of it.) 

Oh, and the ship also has a seaworthy lawn with real grass.  Its more of a novelty than an environmental initiative, but it does bring a literal accent to a ship that's trying - and succeeding - to be a little greener.

–Rob Marciano, CNN

Filed under: Energy • environment • Oceans

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Franko   November 19th, 2008 12:11 pm ET

"The only way to prevent the bacteria from growing is to cool the
containers." .. "25,000 LED light bulbs"

For a moment, reading too fast, I thought of the UltraViolet LED to
produce O3, to kill and bleach. Overdose Radiating with nuclar plant
waste, not green ? cruel to the bacteria, detectably bad for you ?

Before the trip, adviseable to get immunization shots,
not only for the flu, but also, for the unknown stranger in the night.

Saving the waves | Reduce My Bills   November 19th, 2008 1:12 pm ET

[...] Saving the waves 19 November 2008 1 views No Comment      Over the years, cruise ships have been under fire for sometimes sketchy environmental practices.  But it’s looking like the green movement is moving to the aqua blue waterways.  I just got off the inaugural sailing of the new Celebrity Solstice cruise ship.  This boat is big pimpin’.  Stylishly appointed with all the bells and whistles, but what may be more impressive than all the onboard comfort are the advances Celebrity has made to help protect the ocean.                  Sa See more here:  Saving the waves [...]

John   November 19th, 2008 1:52 pm ET

Ships running or diesel, more like heavy fuel oil. Not at all like diesel.

Kristine   November 19th, 2008 2:25 pm ET

Hmm. This article, and presumably the company, fails to mention on of the most harmful things cruise ships do... dump waste at sea.

I recently vacationed on a caye off of the coast of Belize, which was littered with cruise ship waste, and the staff even informed me that they even medical waste (i.e. syringes) washes up on the beach from the ships.

rk   November 19th, 2008 2:31 pm ET

All they need to do now is quite dumping waste and reuining the coral reefs.

Lidia   November 19th, 2008 2:39 pm ET

Giant refrigerator to cool the recycling? And where is the power for the giant refrigerator coming from? That would take more than "a little juice" from solar panels!
Having a "seaworthy lawn" is green?! Give me a break!
There is NOTHING that those cruise ships can do to be eco-friendly! OK – one thing: you can sink them and create an artificial reef for marine life. Just make sure to take the recycling out first!

Peter Eaton   November 19th, 2008 3:17 pm ET

No mater what you call it – a gas guzzling stink-pot is what it is.
It might be a lot greener if it had sails.

Fil   November 19th, 2008 9:40 pm ET

Rob Marciano, I'm assuming you got the trip for free in exchange for this ad? This is absurd, every time you overhaul a hull design it's going to be more efficient – that's why you do it. LED lightbulbs? A couple of solar panels that are in no way large enough to see from shore? A massive refrigerator to chill your trash??? Are you kidding me???

pohl   November 19th, 2008 11:01 pm ET

Kristine, there are many cruise ship companies out there, each with different policies with respect to waste. Painting them all with the same brush may help you feel superior, but it has the downside of failing to recognize the accomplishments of those companies that do endeavor to decrease the environmental impact of their industry. I personally think it would be better to vilify the actual cruise ship company responsible for the litter you witnessed off the coast of Belize.

Greg   November 19th, 2008 11:11 pm ET

@Kristine and rk: Cruise ships are just a small fraction of the vessels out there... And they all dump waste. They are not, however, allowed to dump plastic items (like syringes), but it's not easy to regulate an area that covers 70% of the earth.

Sara   November 20th, 2008 12:43 am ET

I agree with those above. The diesel they use on ocean going ships is horribly unrefined, releasing tons more greenhouse gases than the diesel they use on airplanes.

Touting recycling as they way you cut your impact on the environment is ridiculous. Cut back on all the junk you use and buy, stop wasting so much, reuse what you do have, then, if you still have stuff left over to recycle, recycle. It would be even more green if these ships had composting centers, considering how much food is served and wasted on them.

And, hello? isn't there a strong head wind on a ship? Wind energy!

Put more effort into it people!

kates   November 20th, 2008 5:02 am ET

Sorry, but I have to agree with everyone else who commented. Cruise ships are mammoth energy hogs. If these guys have managed to cut down the energy consumption a little, that's wonderful...but they're still using huge amounts of resources even in their reduced consumption mode. You can't really call something green just because it has reduced its ridiculously high energy consumption rate by 10 or 20%.

And yes, there is the issue of dumping waste at sea. This entry failed to mention how this company plans to deal with that problem. Nutrient pollution (which is the polite way to say they're mucking up the ocean with poo) and plain old garbage dumping are the biggest problems posed by cruise lines.

Julie   November 20th, 2008 8:58 am ET

"For instance, recycling bins for aluminum, plastic, and glass containers are a breeding ground for bacteria. The only way to prevent the bacteria from growing is to cool the containers, so they store recyclables in a massive refrigerator."

That's like one step forward and 10 steps back!

Franko   November 20th, 2008 1:43 pm ET


"And, hello? isn’t there a strong head wind on a ship? Wind energy!"

Exercise bike generator, hybrid power;
Big enough propeller for screw action
Sail against the wind, powered by a wind turbine ?

Rocket environment scientists - please calculate greenhouse taxes

Kristine   November 20th, 2008 3:48 pm ET

Unfortunately, I have not heard of any cruise line which has a policy which results in no waste being put in the oceans. Whether it is human waste, "grey waste, i.e. dirty water from showers, etc) or trash, it is legal and a regular practice to dump waste in international waters. I believe the standard is 4-10 miles or more from the shore?

I don't feel "superior" when writing that the author failed to mention THIS cruise ships dumping policy. Great, LED lights and some grass are fine. But that's like put a bandaid on a finger that was just entirely cut off.

jason   November 20th, 2008 4:28 pm ET

“And, hello? isn’t there a strong head wind on a ship? Wind energy!”

Has anyone heard of the law of Conservation of Energy???

A windmill will increase drag, causing the consumption of more fuel to propel the vessle forward, therefor offsetting any energy gains...

Energy Cannot be created or Destroyed, it can only change state...

Derek   November 20th, 2008 5:12 pm ET

Jason beat me to it. Sarah, the turbines needed to collect wind energy would create drag that the ship's engines would then have to compensate for. They would actually result in a net power loss, because it's quiet unlikely they would be perfectly efficient. For instance, whatever holds them up creates drag but absorbs no energy.

What might be interesting though is if they could use turbines to capture energy as the ship slows down, similar to how hybrid cars capture energy from braking. But, I imagine these ships slow down too infrequently for this to be at all useful, whereas cars might brake every 30-60 seconds in the city.

But I do have to agree with Lidia, cruise ships will never be eco-friendly, we should destroy them all. And while we're at it, no big-rig trucks will ever be eco-friendly either, let's destroy them too. And you know what? Rubber wears off the tires of bikes and pollutes the environment, so they can never really be eco-friendly either (and think of all the bugs you don't know you're smashing)!

Joe   November 20th, 2008 5:59 pm ET

This article is news?

Sounds more like a commercial for a branding spin on one of the worst-polluting enterprises around.

Joe   November 20th, 2008 6:00 pm ET

This article is news?

Sounds more like a commercial for a branding spin on one of the worst-polluting enterprises around.

Brian Forsyth   November 20th, 2008 6:11 pm ET

Nice article but it didn't address the wake of waste the cruise ships leave wherever they go; basically a small city with cleaning waste, chemical waste, laundary waste, etc. that is largely unregulated. I hope this new improved green ship addressed this more serious problem than the light bulbs.....

mk   November 20th, 2008 8:57 pm ET

Solar sailing - the idea of using solar and wind energy to propel ships - can cut a ship's fuel costs by up to 90 percent and significantly lower its environmental impact.

Franko   November 20th, 2008 9:18 pm ET

“And, hello? isn’t there a strong head wind on a ship? Wind energy!
Has anyone heard of the law of Conservation of Energy???"”

Sailboating, tacking, to sail upwind,
But can you go only windpower, directly into the wind ?
Rocket science. Force forward greater than force from the wind
Can a wind powered hybrid car drive into the wind ?

Travis   November 20th, 2008 11:23 pm ET

Wait, needlessly storing empty bottles in giant refrigerators is green? People are breeding grounds for bacteria. How about sewage? Do they refrigerate that, or just dump it overboard like everyone else? In response to above comments, the diesel on ships is less refined (not really diesel at all), but that's mainly just less pollution at the refinery and more pollution when it's consumed. And in response to society as a whole, CO2 is nothing compared to lots of other gasses nobody hears about.

Matt   November 21st, 2008 7:58 am ET

This is a joke. There is nothing environmentally sound about a cruise ship. What about the jet fuel for everyone flying to the port city? What about the energy used to create the parts of the ship? What about shipping of parts to the place where the ship is manufactured? What about assembly? What happens to this massive ship when it is decommissioned? Recyled? Well that takes energy too. The environmental footprint for the life cycle of a cruise ship is massive. This article is nothing more than a commercial. And the environmental improvements are a marketing gimmick to help make certain people feel good or justify their behavior.

Franko   November 21st, 2008 12:09 pm ET

SpaceShip CruiseShip.
Which is safer, more pleasant, eco-friendly-ethical ?

Reach for the dream of a Cruise Ship vacation ?
Or the excitement of near death encounters of the SpaceStation ?

Jason   November 22nd, 2008 6:33 am ET

Who cares if its green, screw the planet we only live once so enjoy the cruise and the hotties at the pool.

Malcolm   November 22nd, 2008 11:50 am ET

The graduate students in the Management of Innovation course, at Johns Hopkins University, have published an insightful and timely book on Green Innovation, which I am sure you will enjoy reading.

Zeppo   November 23rd, 2008 7:52 pm ET

The Ocean condition is dire. There is not one cup of sea water free of microscopic plastic. Plastic that releases dangerous hormones including estragen into the water. Hormones are added to make plastic less brittle

This Good Morning America Video highlights the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which spreads over 1000 miles across. Plastic bits are being mistaken as food by magestic birds like the giant Albatross who feed it to their young.

Franko   November 30th, 2008 4:11 am ET

"Who cares if its green, screw the planet we only live once so enjoy the cruise and the hotties at the pool"

Hotties are in our imaginary event horizon - promote to reality.
Screw the planet - screw the Gyre is the real perversion
Would not watch a Gyre Porno Perversion (Add Mermaids ??)

Would a Hottie get into a Greenie colored CruseShip
Or the fire engine red SportsCar, fake or true performer ?

SOphia   November 30th, 2008 9:29 pm ET

This is amazing! I just read it and i'm totally shocked because i didn't knew ships could affect like that. Thanks for teaching me something new!!!

Franko   December 4th, 2008 2:39 am ET

The Gyre is the God (include Allah) intended Sacred Toilet.
Constantly flushing, recycling, beyond our attention horizon
A free Toilet, (even tax free) for all of humanity

If God did not like CruiseShips, He would Vortex, via the Gyre

marine girl   January 19th, 2010 5:43 pm ET

very interesting article to know that cruise ship industry is making an effort of cleaning our waters clean. I find great information regarding boating community, clean marinas and articles at

Reverse Osmosis :   October 31st, 2010 6:00 pm ET

cruise ships are the best, they have their own live entertainment and some pools on the deck .

Keratin Hair Treatment   November 25th, 2010 9:16 am ET

of course cruise ships are expensive but of course the trip is very nice ','

Mary Katen   April 30th, 2013 10:28 am ET

By contrast, dedicated transport oriented ocean liners do "line voyages" and typically transport passengers from one point to another, rather than on round trips. Traditionally, an ocean liner for the transoceanic trade will be built to a higher standard than a typical cruise ship, including high freeboard and stronger plating to withstand rough seas and adverse conditions encountered in the open ocean, such as the North Atlantic. Ocean liners also usually have larger capacities for fuel, victuals, and other stores for consumption on long voyages, compared to dedicated cruise ships.".

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Bernarda Lendrum   May 19th, 2013 5:06 pm ET

The upcoming hybrid cars promise to be even better than the ones that are already available. Hybrid cars are designed with the environment in mind, and the savvy car companies know that the highest prizes will go to those companies that can design an outstanding car that is easy on the consumer’s pocket as well as the world around us. Car manufacturers are investing untold amounts of money on the creation of new and upcoming hybrid cars. With the advent of the totally electric car still on the distant horizon, motor companies are currently competing to make sure their own hybrid cars produce the lowest amount of emissions possible.;*:,

http://picturesofherpes.coOur new website

Tim Gager   July 12th, 2013 2:54 pm ET

In most marine mussels the shell is longer than it is wide, being wedge-shaped or asymmetrical. The external colour of the shell is often dark blue, blackish, or brown, while the interior is silvery and somewhat nacreous.;^,..

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