Anybody who has been on a cruise ship and who has taken the time to find out already knows that cruise lines strive to be environmentally responsible, in as many ways as possible.
Times have changed. Raw waste is no longer dumped into the ocean. Garbage from ships is no longer dumped into bins at the next port. Plastic and styrofoam containers are no longer the drink container of choice.
In Hawaii, Norwegian Cruise Line employees go even further — Hawaii and Norwegian are by no means the only place and people, respectively, doing things like this. But there is a regular clean-up program in Hawaii, all year long.
Last week, crew members from the Pride of America orchestrated a beach clean-up in Maui, at Kanaha Beach Park. In February, P of A crew members did the same thing in Kauai, at Nawiliwili Harbor. That one was particularly interesting because it involved students from a local school and enabled them to study what comes from the ocean — even from a tsunami — and to log items in a statewide database.
Is there a better way to breed a new generation of eco responsibility?
On several cruises, we've been fortunate enough to visit the bowels (pardon the pun) of the ship, where trash is incinerated or crushed for unloading at a port and where ocean water is de-salienated and recycled as potable water on the ship. Never have we seen a "garbage dump" so clean.
In Hawaii, the Pride of America is a natural responsible corporate citizen. It sails around the Hawaiian Islands 52 weeks a year, taking 2,500 passengers a week to Kahului (Maui), Hilo, Kona and Kauai.
The ship is an interesting study. It was ordered in 1999 by American Classic Voyages, which went bankrupt in 2001. Norwegian picked up the unfinished ship in 2003 and has been sailing it in Hawaii for seven years. Partially built in the U.S., it is the only new major cruise line ship in the 50 years to fly the American flag.
Truly, she reflects the "Pride" of America…and nowhere more than on the beaches of Hawaii.