Sign up to our newsletter

Are cruise ships eco-friendly? What cruising is doing for sustainability

Eco-friendly ships are the aim of all major cruise lines these days as the big brands work to improve their sustainability credentials.

MSC Cruises is one cruise line eager to look after the planet as well as making sure travelers enjoy a tip-top vacation.

The significance of eco-friendly cruise ships has never been greater as the world drives towards all things green.

MSC Cruises, which has a shipping history dating back 300 years, considers the environment and the oceans not as a business space but as something valuable to protect, improve and maintain for future generations to inherit.

Consequently, the brand is doing all sorts to make sure Mother Earth is protected – including launching a very jazzy and very eco-friendly ship in November 2022. This is everything you need to know about the vessel, MSC Cruises’ sustainability drive and the MSC Cruises private island.

Eco-friendly cruise ships: MSC World Europa

Green credentials

The burning question of many at the moment is: Are cruise ships eco-friendly? And the answer is, yes, they are certainly striving to be. New MSC World Europa is MSC Cruises’ most sustainable and futuristic cruise ship and the brand’s first LNG-powered vessel (LNG – liquefied natural gas – is one of the cleanest burning non-electric fuels available for the cruise industry).

To get technical about it, the gas will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by up to 20 percent, virtually eliminate sulphur oxides and particulates, and reduce nitrogen oxides by 85 percent.

That’s not all MSC Cruises is doing as it goes green. The hull of the ship (which is always underwater) is coated with special paint to reduce the growth of organisms, minimise drag and maintain efficiency through the water while the propellers have been studied to reduce the underwater noise in respect of marine wildlife.

Another main feature of MSC Cruises’ environmental stewardship is the advanced onboard wastewater treatment system which ensures all water that leaves the ship is cleaned to very high standards. The ship is also hot on recycling and single-use plastics have been eliminated. What’s more, energy-saving equipment such as smart heating, ventilation and air conditioning maximises energy efficiency.

Yes, it’s all super green but there’s plenty of fun to be had onboard MSC World Europa so you can still paint the town red.

What's onboard MSC World Europa?

Peek inside

There are 19 dining venues on the cruise ship – including six speciality restaurants – boasting brand-new concepts including La Pescadaeria (a Mediterranean fish restaurant), Chef’s Garden kitchen (the first hydroponic – without soil – garden at sea), a microbrewery and a gin bar where you can learn mixology.

Activities are numerous – the ship is home to seven swimming pools, the largest waterpark in the fleet, bumper cars and the longest dry slide at sea (a whopping 11-decks high!) to name a few perks onboard.

The interior design is sleek, with the unique Y-shaped open aft leading to a 104m promenade affording amazing panoramic views, and, as for accommodation, MSC World Europa has more balcony cabins than any other MSC Cruises ship. There are 19 different cabin categories in total, with seven grand new designs.

MSC World Europa is just the first step for the cruise line. The second LNG-powered ship – MSC Euribia – is coming in 2023 and will be the newest addition to the Meraviglia Plus class.

MSC Cruises private island: Ocean Cay

Island in the sun

Fun with MSC is not just limited to onboard its fleet of fabulous ships. The cruise line also has a private island in the Bahamas named Ocean Cay. Once a former sand-mining site with industrial facilities, the island is now a thriving natural reserve with a biodiverse and sustainable environment thanks to MSC Cruises.

The company’s Super Coral Programme sees the MSC Foundation working with coral and marine experts to research, develop, test and refine methods to reverse the decline in coral reefs in the 64-square-mile marine environment around the island.

In short, Ocean Cay has become a place where vacationmakers can connect with their natural surroundings and learn about the importance of preserving the oceans and coral reefs all while unwinding amid the beauty of the Bahamian hotspot.

Sustainability is in full swing here. Ocean Cay is equipped with a solar farm able to produce 600KW of electric power with additional storage of 150 KW, there is only LED lighting on the island and the electricity is managed by a smart grid.

Furthermore, the zero-impact wastewater system means sewage is treated through very advanced filtration and decontamination so it can be reused for watering the vegetation on the island and there are no single-use plastics.

All in all, you can have as much fun in the sun as you like, knowing you’re doing the planet proud!

There are beaches aplenty on MSC Cruises’ private island, a spa (where all beauty products used in treatments are bio-degradable and eco-friendly), bars and restaurants, and even shopping opportunities while activities include paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkelling, stargazing and boat trips.

MSC Cruises sustainability: Shore excursions

Get out there

Of course, even if your cruise itinerary doesn’t stop at Ocean Cay there are still a plethora of fun trips and activities you can do on land at MSC Cruises’ ports of call.

In fact, the cruise line even offers sustainable shore excursions known as Protectours which give vacationmakers the chance to enjoy original insights into the natural world while preserving its beauty and helping to ensure a greener future.

Seventy percent of these involve activities with zero environmental sustainability impact while others make direct contributions to the environment.

The Protectours are offered in destinations around the world. For instance, in Jamaica you can hike with rescued dogs, in Corfu you can learn about honey bees and dine in the only fully organic restaurant on the Greek island and in Iceland you can ride Icelandic horses and learn about tree planting in Guðmundarlundur forest.

These unique excursions are an integral part of MSC Cruises’ mission to offer guests an environmentally conscious vacation; oh, and to make sure you have a bloody good time.

To find out more about what MSC Cruises is doing for the planet, check out its latest Sustainability Report.

Set Sail

Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Qatar with MSC Cruises

Duration: 9 nights

Where: Doha | Dubai | Abu Dhabi | Sir Bani Yas Island | Dammam | Doha

Ship: MSC World Europa

Find out more
Book Cruise
Published 08.19.23