Are you concerned about the ecological impact of larger ships ?

back in 1992, when we took our first cruise, the Holiday was the largest ship in Carnival's fleet.  She held about 1500 passengers. Today, ships that carry twice that are considered average.  New ships carry 4-5000, and future ships will serve more.

In order for these ships to dock at various ports, massive dredging efforts are being undertaken.  What is the impact on the ocean environment, and is anyone worried?  How big is too big ?  At what point does a company say, oops, we overestimated the need for this large a ship ?

We prefer the smaller ships, but I am afraid for many, their days are numbered. Some will be forced to stay afloat due to their itinerary, such as Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands, etc.  in order to turn a profit, these ships must be filled to capacity or near capacity every week.  We all know service suffers. As does food quality. At least it seems to.

But back to my original question.  Is anyone concerned about the damage being done in order to accommodate these massive ships ?  No, I don't have any data, but I do know a crane on a barge scooping out massive amounts of sand and stone ( and who knows what else ) has to be doing some damage.   Is anyone thinking about this ?  Or are we thinking, I can't wait to see the latest city at sea !   I hear it has.......whatever. Its own post office the way things are going Wink.  Pretty soon ships will need town councils.

4 Answers

I am concerned about all sizes of ships that dump their refuse into the ocean and hope that the fines imposed when they are caught are high enough to discourage them. As for the dredging at my local port, they bring the good sand to my beach here in Cocoa Beach and it re-nourishes the beaches outside my home for which I am very gratefully. It allows residents and tourists alike to enjoy the beaches. The channel has to be kept open for cargo ships, anyway. Turtle nesting has not been impacted and more and more sighting have occurred recently. I see dolphins, turtle and many species of fish in the channel. The locks for the smaller pleasure boats was a problem for the dolphins but that has now been eliminated.

The bigger ships are the newer ones for the most part and have extensive recycling abilities that smaller ships don't have. So, it may be a tossup as to whether the bigger ships harm the environment more.

The money that the bigger ships and the cargo ships bring into our local economy is tremendous. If not for the port business, our local area would have been devastated when the space shuttle ended.

For the most part our port authority does a good job of making improvement and involving the community in its decisions. They move the cruise passengers in and out without too much congestion to local roads. The port employes many of my neighbors. So, at least in my area, the bigger ships have not been a problem. We now can have six ships in port at one time. We will see what happens when the Oasis moves here next year. Perhaps I will feel differently.


This is a great question to which I wish I had a great answer.

Taken to the extreme, everything we do carries environmental impact. As for the megaships (or as I lovingly refer to them "the floating bricks"), the dredging you mention is an immediate and real impact to local aquatic life and I do worry about that damage but that worry has not risen to the point that I am going to stop cruising. I'm just not sure what can be done to stop it, considering the positive impact of cruise industry on the local economies. Locals don't seem to be stopping progress and consumers are most definitely not going to stop cruising in protest. That said, I also believe that the major cruise lines are doing better in terms of recycle, reuse, and otherwise minimize environmental impact. What I would love to see is more solar and wind power usage by ships. I just don't know if the technology is quite there yet, plus there would be an offset in usable ship space relating to equipment and power storage.

There have been many articles written about the impact to the environment for these large ships, both commercial and cruise. Local economies benefit from the industry and as stated, it can be difficult to lose the income form these ports. However, despite the PR campaigns that All shipping industries use, the impact is negative over time, from sewage dumps, oil and bunker spills, garbage tossing and dredging for dock space, it all builds up. In some cases, In Canada, the cost to dock in Canada is quite high, to offset the damage that could be caused through accident, In some areas, cruises have stopped coming in with large ships because of the rules enacted by the government. Venice is having its own issues in Europe, and we hear about the carribean issues on occasion.

There is not enough oversight by governments to ensure compliance when the large shipping and cruise industries can threaten to leave and take the economic benefits with them. I only hope a decent balance can be found the ensure the safety of the natural environment is realized along with the health of the economic environment in the same region.

Post office on a ship, they are having trouble keeping it profitable on land.

RCI's new Quantum class is smaller then Oasis class, I hope this will be the trend. The mega ships are great floating resorts for families but not really cruising, As people get older I can see them wanting the smaller ships that do not have the amusement parks and 100's of kids on them.

I think like everything else the almighty Dollar will dictate the Mega ships and the damage to the environment. Each port will have to evaluate if the $$$ is worth the damage.

I am concerned, but all I can do is use my voting dollar to keep cruising on what is now considered midsize to large but no Mega ships.


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