‘Cunard’s home is the oceans of the world, so we actively work to protect our marine environment.’
So says the little card in our ship’s cabin which then encourages you to reuse towels, switch off electrical items not in use, consider the use of water, optimise climate control and make recycling easier.
We’re heading to see our friends in California and are using Queen Elizabeth (not that one!) to get there.
The cynic might say that some of these policies, commendable though they are, are nevertheless designed to reduce company costs as much as to protect the environment. Now, obviously, I am not a cynic, but what else could Cunard do to reinforce its commitment?
It can’t have escaped Cunard’s notice that plastic is the scourge of the oceans yet the first thing I noticed in my nice ship’s ‘stateroom’ was a plastic water bottle. This was enough to set me on a mission to see what else about the ship was also ocean unfriendly.
Plastic cotton buds in the bathroom, plastic straws with your cocktails and soft drinks, plastic drinking cups in the Lido restaurant, all of which take hundreds of years to break down and are devastating to wildlife if they find their way into the ocean. Passengers are offered water in plastic bottles to take ashore on to islands which have poor or non-existent recycling facilities, and Cunard has no control over where these bottles end up. Passengers are offered water in plastic cups on their return to the gangway as if they were unable to make it a few steps more to the restaurant or their rooms.
So, I wrote to the captain and to the environmental officer and, to be fair to Cunard, I received a response which entailed meeting with a very sympathetic officer who thanked me for my concern and told me he had already raised some of the issues with his company. We’ll see in due course whether my representations did any good but all of these environmentally unfriendly items could be replaced with reusable or biodegradable alternatives, given a little extra commitment.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Cunard blazed a trail amongst its marine community, leading the way to ridding their ships of unnecessary single use plastic and showing some real commitment to the oceans?
I wonder how many passengers have even noticed what I did, let alone done something about it. If we stay quiet and ignore what is right in front of us, we can hardly bemoan the plight of the earth’s wildlife.
Since I arrived in California, I’ve written to Cunard’s headquarters asking for their response to my post and, interestingly, I’ve just read on Cruise Critic’s notice board that Royal Caribbean cruise line is going to war on plastic. Let’s hope Cunard and its parent company, Carnival, follow. I’ll post their reply in due course.