In honor of Earth Day, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is highlighting efforts of CLIA member lines and their continued commitment to protecting the environment. This year, 14 new ships join an increasingly modern ocean going fleet, paving the way for the next generation of innovation.

“The strides our cruise lines are making to reduce the impact cruising has on the environment are very impressive,” said CLIA President and CEO Christine Duffy. “This year our industry welcomes 14 new ships to our increasingly innovative industry-wide fleet; it is rewarding to take a look at some of their green initiatives that go beyond the environmental regulations we already meet. From actions as seemingly simple-sounding as recycling and automatic lighting, to larger efforts such as advanced wastewater treatment systems and reducing air emissions through improved ship design, our industry has taken a number of steps to ensure that our oceangoing vessels are pioneers in environmental protection. Protecting the environment and educating our passengers on green initiatives is something in which we take great pride.”

On this Earth Day, CLIA encourages people to take its new environmental quiz to gauge how much they know about the industry’s stewardship. The quiz is posted on CruiseIndustryFacts.com.

Environmental stewardship is an important initiative for passengers and crew members alike. In an effort to raise awareness and promote conservation, a number of CLIA member lines offer a variety of programs designed to raise passenger awareness, including behind the scenes videos, onboard activities, educational partnerships in ports of call, and eco-friendly excursions. Along with these onboard programs, member ships promote recycling and the importance of conservation efforts. On many ships, collection bins are placed throughout the ships that encourage passengers to separate waste into glass/cans, plastic/paper, and food.

“The environmental success of CLIA member line ships depends on the behind the scenes faces that make it all happen,” Duffy said. “People are at the core of our environmental progress, from welders at the shipyards where our hulls are laid and the manufacturers that supply our energy efficient equipment to the environmental officers and engineers aboard our ships and the recycling sorters below deck separating items as diverse as paper, plastic, and cooking oil, our environmental achievements are a credit to the men and women who have pledged a career in our industry.”

CLIA member lines meet and often exceed all applicable environmental regulations on a ship’s voyage.  Each country, and often states and localities, a ship visits may have its own rules and regulations and therefore cruise lines and their environmental staff must ensure the ship is compliant at all times. The Fleet of 2011 demonstrates the industry’s continued commitment and dedication to the environment.

Take a look at several notable initiatives employed by the CLIA fleet:

CLIA member lines recycle over 79,000 tons of garbage in a given year including paper, plastic, aluminum cans and glass.

Member lines work with suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging materials coming onto the ships and require that in-cabin amenities be packaged in recyclable materials. As part of this, one of our member lines reduced the amount of waste landed ashore by 19 percent from the previous year and 47 percent from 2007 levels.

Members of the Fleet of 2011 are utilizing highly efficient insulation and heat reflective paint, which diminishes the need for chillers, pumps and distribution piping, allowing one new ship to be constructed with 25 percent less HVAC equipment.

One member line has partnered with non-profit “Clean the World”, to recycle leftover toiletries and donating 388 pounds of soap and 1,203 bottles of shampoos and conditioners in 2010 for distribution to people in need.

One new ship’s public area is served with a clock system which is pre-programmed so that during quiet hours, the lighting automatically lowers to reduce the load and therefore reduces power demand.

A number of member lines use fabric bags – including laundry, dry cleaning, and shoe shine bags – in lieu of plastic bags, thereby reducing plastic from the waste stream.

Many lines are using ecological, non-toxic, slick hull coatings that save as much as 5% of fuel usage for propulsion.

Various ships are installing high-efficiency appliances onboard their ships in order to minimize their impact on the environment. Every type of appliance onboard the ships is evaluated for efficiency, including TV's, coffee makers, ovens and dishwashers.

Halogen and incandescent light bulbs have either been replaced on many lines or are being replaced with LED lights, which last 25 times longer, use 80% less energy, and generate 50% less heat.

A number of lines have invested heavily in the use of shore-based power, allowing ship engines to be shut down while at port.

Many lines are in various stages of employing advanced wastewater purification systems (AWPS) that produce water cleaner than what is discharged from most municipalities.