The cruise industry may well be setting a new course and sailing in the right direction with regards to reducing its carbon footprint with the likes of the LNG liquefied gas- fuelled Costa Smeralda cruising the Mediterranean and regularly visiting Palma this summer, but does this solve the problem, or only part of it?
The cruise debate is not only focused on the industry’s pollution levels and threat to marine life it is also the negative impact it has on the societies and communities of the ports and destinations these mega-cruise ships visit.
However eco-friendly the Costa Smeralda is, she can still accommodate up to 6,554 passengers and, over the course of this summer, will be bringing some 300,000 visitors to Palma. And that is another major issue a mounting number of people, including the local authorities, have a problem with - the human footfall the cruise ships sail in with.
Fresh caps on the number of cruise ships were due to have been introduced this year, but the latest figures point to an increase in cruise traffic in Palma, so we have not really gained any sensible ground at all. There has been much talk about establishing a balance between the cruise industry and the local community, primarily by reducing the number of passengers romping round Palma and spending very little. Whether they come on an eco ship does not really seem to be solving the main problem.