Are the benefits of Cruise Ship Tourism worth the costs?

Hey Everyone!


I was just wondering whether you could help me investigate this question in regards to the Cruise Ship Tourism industry. 


In amidst this, do you believe that the economic benefits of Cruise Ship Tourism are worth the environmental and socio-cultural costs? And why


Thanks! :) 

Tags: Cruise Ship Tourism

8 Answers

OK, quite the topic. I view this a serious and vital part of the industry. I like to ask the questions this way.There are many views regarding the environment when it come to cruise ships, The impact on smaller harbors, reefs spills, sewage and many other concerns on the natural Environment. But what about the Economic environment, the social environment and the financial environment. The health of those are equally important in answering any questions.

Also, should any of the ports visited, want to stop the tourist, all they have to say is stop. The lines will comply. Again, if the crime rate goes up against the cruisers then the lines can stop the visits. We have to remember that they are a business and they are in the business of making money.

I think the economic boost of cruising is immense, even in the home cruise ports. I recently took on a second job for Intercruises (so I am now one of those lovely people that check you in for your cruise!) and I overheard one of my superiors state that the economic benefit for Baltimore with the cruise lines in big, so the contracts that each line gets, frequency of cruises, etc etc has a domino effect.

With the environmental factor, I believe that the cruise line acknowledges that and tries to do their best... Cruising at slower speeds to not burn fuel, to pulling back on some of the automatic "perks" such as robes freely in the cabin (as to now you need to request them) and cutting back on towel animals and how/when towels are replaced with laundry impacts (I know I love all the animals too!)

Bottom line is without the environment/beauty of the ocean and surroundings, I don't think the cruise ships will be in as much business as they are now... If people just wanted a one stop vaca, they will book disney.

As for environmental impact .. how does the environmental impact of the cruise industry compare to that of the regular shipping industry in general? I believe the cruise industry although it seems to have a lot of ships these days is minimal in comparison to the general shipping industry and I suspect that because they carry people and serve food the cruise ships generally run cleaner and in better repair which means a smaller environmental impact than their shipping counterparts. From the economic perspective, some of these smaller ports rely heavily on the cruise industry as their main source of foreign income and without the ships would really be hard pressed to survive.

To Old Grey.... There seems to be a variety of opinions on the impact of regular shipping lines versus cruise lines. Those who vilify cruise lines will never say that they are a net benefit to any community. Those who love the cool-aid will spout the opposite .

I believe there is a net benefit from having cruise lines come and go. I have also seen some real nasty commercial harbours..


Hi all,

I've been away for a while (medical issues to address). Things are on an upswing so I hope to be more active again.

As usual, JohnGold raises very good points.

Here is my two cents, for what it is worth...

As for socio-cultural impact -> local governments can kybosh cruise ship traffic at any time (contractual obligations aside). The way I see it, this impact is squarely on the island's government. If popular cruise ships were invading otherwise untouched island, I could make an argument for not doing so. However, the influence that the Internet has had in creating a global popular culture lessens the s-c impact to my way of thinking.

As for environmental impact -> in order to intelligently respond to this, I really need to understand the bigger picture including the impact of not having cruise ship tourism's economic contribution to local economy and what alternatives might kick in. For instance, if people didn't cruise to a destination, many of them would fly to an island destination. Is the increase in air travel (carrying a couple hundred tourists per flight) better or worse on the environment than a single cruise ship carrying thousands of tourists? I honestly do not know.

Trade-offs occur at all levels but it is impossible to overlook the revenue created by cruise ship traffic. Perhaps that is the ultimate impact?

Welcome back CM.

Yes. Too many baby boomers with time and money.

One can argue either way. However, from my perspective here in Alaska as well as a 26 year world cruiser, it is my opinion that cruising is a plus for both. Certainly there are some negatives for society that cruising brings but the net impact is positive. Take for instance the Nation's largest National Forest in Southeast Alaska, the Tongass. For many years loggers and other developers have politically pressed to clear cut and pave over huge expanses of this forest where the Sitka Spruce dominates, a valuable saw log tree that reaches its maximum life at around 800 years, loggers are actually subsidized by the US government to cut these trees, which are then transported overseas with no value added, all at a loss to US taxpayers. Many didn't appreciate or recognize the real value of this standing forest until the cruise industry began bringing visitors to Alaska who made it clear that the unfettered aesthetics and magnificence of it all were worth a lot more to the nation's economy and that of Alaska than any denuded landscape would ever be. Not to mention the negative impact that such deforestation has on a valuable renewable resource there, the five species of Pacific Salmon. Mass transport, which cruising actually is, is a lot more economical for travelers let alone lessoning the negative impact upon local ecologies as opposed to individuals going it alone burning more energy and creating more waste per visitor. Case in point, in Seward the other day, a poor mountain goat found himself in the middle of the town. He went out onto the rocks of breakwater trying to escape those attempting to take pictures and following him. After trying to swim for a refuge but unable to climb back onto the rocks as the sight seers were all around allowing no avenue of escape, he drowned. Now, perhaps a cruise crowd would have been guilty of the same, but I doubt it since they are usually accompanied by responsible guides who would have brains and have pointed out the poor goat's plight.


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