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About Fuel Friendliness…

In going through an old AARP magazine that was heading for recycling, an item caught our eyes because it included a cruise ship. It put a spin on fuel consumption that we’d never heard and, perhaps, neither have you.

The measurement was called “passenger miles per gallon” to determine the “fuel-friendliest” way to go: car, plane, train, ship. This calculation is determined by the number of miles per gallon multiplied by the number of passengers. So, if your car gets 30 miles to the gallon when you’re driving alone, adding a passenger makes it 60 ”passenger”  miles to the gallon. Three passengers, and it’s 90.

Highest score wins.

Off the top of our heads, we thought cruise ships would do well, just given the number of passengers.

Using the Environmental Protection Agency, Royal Caribbean, Boeing and Amtrak as information sources, here is what AARP determined the four passenger miles-per-gallon were:

Train (passenger) — 63
Plane (747-400) — 61
Car (Corvette) — 38
Cruise ship (Oasis of the Seas) — 36

You can debate the choices of vehicles but the bottom line is that trains are the “fuel-friendliest” mode of transportation. In this study, cruise ships are last.

Today at portsandbows.com: Oceania's new website

Norwegian Pearl
10 nights
March 6, 2015
Miami (return): St. Kitts, Martinique, Roseau, Antigua, St. Thomas
Inside $459
Cost per day: $45

Even Cleaning Standard Cruise Ship Fuel Comes with a Price Tag

The good news on the weekend is that Carnival is going to try and make a cruise ship's fuel cleaner, in order to meet environmental standards going into effect in two years, rather than simply burn cleaner fuel.

Cleaner fuel costs more. That means the cost would trickle down to North American consumers…the Environmental Protection Agency emission standards apply to the coasts of this continent. By cleaning existing fuel, cruise ships will not have to pay more for it.

The bad news, of course, is that while cruisers won't have to pay to cover more expensive fuel, there is a cost attached to cleaning the old stuff so that its exhaust is less of a polluter.

How does $180 million sound…and you think that cost will filter down to your cruise fare?

According to the Miami Herald, which publishes in Carnival Corp's home port, that's what is being invested in new technology to clean up on exhaust. While it's being tested on 32 of the corporation's ships, the EPA will let Carnival to continue using standard (cheaper) fuel. That means it's going to take at least a couple of years before the technology gets the EPA stamp of approval.

Hopefully, it will work.

There is a question or two:

Why did not just Carnival but all cruise lines need to have its collective feet held to the fire by the EPA before getting serious about reducing fuel emissions? If the EPA hadn't given them a deadline of 2015, would cruise ships have just continued to pollute the atmosphere?

Carnival Valor
7 nights
October 20, 2013
San Juan (return): St. ThomasBarbadosSt. LuciaSt. KittsSt. Maarten
Inside: $359
Cost per day: $51


Alaska on Verge of Another Crisis

There's an interesting law being enacted in Alaska (yes, another one) this year that could impact the cruise industry. Specifically, it could impact how much your cruise costs to visit the 49th state.

It has to do with clean (and more expensive) fuel, and it can get a bit complex, so we'll give you the quick and dirty (no pun intended) version:

1. Since last August, cargo carriers and cruise ships must use low-sulphur fuel within 200 miles of U.S. and Canadian shores (the first full cruise season since then has just begun for Alaska).

2. Further emission cuts will kick in over the next seven years.

3. The Cruise Lines International Association says: "the increased costs translate into fewer cruise-ship visitors" who are initially having to pay an average of $88 more per ticket.

4. The Environmental Protection Agency says the CLIA complaints are like "having a houseguest who leaves all of his trash in your yard and then complains when you ask him to pick it up."

5. The state is suing to prevent the restrictions from being enforced.

6. Offsetting the $3.2 billion it will cost to implement the process, the EPA estimates the health benefits could be up to $110 billion by 2020.

Now all of this sounds like a legitimate case of two sides agreeing to disagree on the pros and cons…until you get to the last point.

Health benefits of $110 billion?

How does anybody come up with that?

Ruby Princess
12 nights
August 4, 2013
Venice, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Olympia, Athens, Mykonos, Ephesus, Santorini, Naples, Rome
Inside: $799
Cost per day: $66

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