Cruise facts

Cruise Truth vs Myth

MYTH: Cruise ships are vectors for COVID-19

The Truth … Cruise ships are operating with some of the highest levels of COVID-19 mitigation of any industry, with a lower incidence rate than is seen on land.

Cruise lines have some of the most stringent and effective public health and sanitation practices, with multiple layers of protection encompassing the entirety of the cruise experience.

MYTH: COVID-19 on cruise ships is a burden on community resources.
The Truth …
Cruise lines have developed pre-arranged response plans to rapidly address any potential COVID-19 cases that may occur onboard, without undue burden to local governments or resources.
MYTH: Norovirus is more common on cruise ships than other setting.
The Truth …
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare facilities are the most reported settings for norovirus outbreaks in the United States (62 percent), followed by restaurants or catered events (22 percent), and then schools and childcare centers (6 percent). The CDC goes on to say that cruises “account for only a small percentage (1 percent) of all reported norovirus outbreaks.”
MYTH: Cruise lines flag their ships in other countries to skirt regulations
The Truth …
Cruise ships operating in New Zealand are subject to inspection by New Zealand authorities who verify compliance with international rules as well as New Zealand requirements, regardless of where a ship is flagged. Similar enforcement measures are in place in other countries where cruises operate, making it next to impossible for cruise lines to skirt the rules.
MYTH: Cruise ships operate with little to no oversight, often breaking laws without accountability.

The Truth … Cruise ships are among the most regulated vessels at sea, receiving dozens of inspections each year from multiple regulatory entities. Inspections encompass health and safety practices, waste management, emissions control and almost every other aspect of cruise operations.

The cruise industry has an exceptional track record, and performance information is widely available on government websites.

MYTH: Cruise lines are bad environmental actors.

The Truth … Environmental protection is both an operational and a humanitarian imperative for the cruise industry, which has invested more than $26 billion in ships with new technologies and cleaner fuels to help protect the land, air, and seas in which cruises operate.

Cruise ships operating today are some of the cleanest and most efficient ships in the entire maritime community (of which cruise ships make up only 1 percent).

CLIA members (Cruise Lines International Association) have committed to net-zero carbon cruising by 2050, aligning with UN Sustainability Development Goals.

MYTH: Exhaust from cruise ships pollutes the air and presents a health risk to port communities.

The Truth … National and international laws strictly regulate ship emissions at sea and in port.

One of the approved technologies that many cruise ships deploy is known as Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS), which literally cleans exhaust emissions from ships. Exhaust gas streams are passed inside the scrubber where an alkaline scrubbing material is present to neutralise the acidic nature of the exhaust gasses and remove any particulate matter from the exhaust.

The used-up scrubbing material is then collected with wash water which is stored as effluent, and the cleaned exhaust is passed out of the system and into the atmosphere. Often the vapour plumes of the cleaned exhaust (steam) are mistaken for direct fuel burn exhaust – particularly at night with the reflection of the ship and port lights, on still days, or in humid conditions.

Other prominent means of meeting emissions standards include the use of low- sulfur fuel or Liquified Natural Gas, which is odorless, colorless, non-toxic and non- corrosive.  This is a transitional fuel until biofuel and hydrogen fuels can be developed and made available in New Zealand.

Increasingly, ships are also being equipped to use shore-side electricity, where it is available, which enables cruise ships to “plug-in” in port, however port infrastructure is limited with only 29 cruise ports worldwide have at least one berth with onshore power. There is no shore side power capability in New Zealand.

MYTH: Scrubbers (EGCS) take pollution from the air and put it in the water.

The Truth … Multiple independent studies have disproven this claim, including an official study from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

EGCS (sometimes referred to as “scrubbers”) were specifically designed to meet the requirements of the International Maritime Organisation to avoid undue harm to marine environments.

MYTH: Cruise lines bring unwanted pests threatening our land and waters

The Truth … All maritime vessels are treated the same airlines and commercial/cargo.  Biosecurity checks are undertaken on board the vessel for evasive pests and no foodstuffs can be removed from the vessel by the crew, passengers, or visitors. Ballast or grey water is not to be discharged in internal waters and any boats launched from the craft to take passengers ashore must be clean and free of any hull fouling.

Cruise lines submit cleaning information CRMPS to show the hulls and niche areas are within MPI regulations before entering NZ waters – the same as commercial/cargo.

Cruise lines will either visit dry docks before reaching New Zealand and Australia to clean their bottom sides, or they will use divers to physically clean vessels hulls outside the 12mile limit.

MYTH: Cruise lines pump their effluent and wastewater into the sea.

The Truth … The cruise industry is inextricably linked to the environment. Cruise lines take people to interesting places in the world, by travelling via water. The future of the industry depends on a clean and healthy marine environment.

Through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) cruise lines are subject to comprehensive, consistent and uniform international standards, as well as the national and local regulations that apply to all vessels.

The industry has developed best practices for the management of traditional wastes (e.g., garbage, graywater, sewage, oily residues, sludge oil, and bilge water), as well as the small quantities of hazardous waste produced onboard, during normal operations.

Cruise lines utilise Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems that operate to a higher standard than shoreside treatment plans in many coastal cities and go well beyond international requirements.

Sewage and waste water travels to the onboard treatment plant. Here the waste is filtered before it enters an aeration chamber. The aeration chamber cleans the waste. It is then sterilised using UV light and released into the ocean when clean enough to do so.

MYTH: Cruise lines force workers to live and work in harsh conditions with little pay and minimal rest.

The Truth … Cruise lines employ a global, highly satisfied workforce, with retention rates upwards of 80 percent. New Zealand Tourism and Hospitality industry turnover rates hover around 30 percent according to MBIE Tourism and Hospitality workforce survey.

Additionally, cruise lines must adhere to the strict requirements of the International Labour Organisation’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). Requirements of the MLC address nearly every aspect of life at sea, including hours of rest, wages, annual leave, accommodation, health and safety, and more.

MYTH: Cruise tourism offers little benefit to local economies.

The Truth … The nearly 1.2 million people around the world who rely on cruise tourism for their livelihoods would beg to differ.

The cruise industry annually contributes nearly $155 billion to the global economy, according to 2019 data, and just over $500 million to the New Zealand economy. With an average spend of approximately $380 per passenger in port regions, much of which directly benefits local communities and small – and medium-sized businesses. 60% of cruise passengers return on a land based holiday providing addental ongoing benefit to destinations.

MYTH: Cruise travel is non-essential and shouldn’t be a priority for New Zealand .

The Truth … In addition to being a vital artery for the global economy, cruise holidays are one of the best ways to experience the world, and, for some, cruising may be one of the only holiday choices available.

The number of accessible cabins across the cruise line fleet is increasing. This increase is helping to meet the needs of cruise travellers who have limited mobility, many of which say they view a cruise holiday as the only travel option that meets their needs.

The average age of cruisers is now 46.5, with Gen X and Millennials growing at a faster rate than Boomers. Cruise holidays appeal to those looking for multi-generational travel options. Today 73% of cruise travellers are sailing with family members that represent at least two generations.

Cruise holidays enable people of all ages, abilities, circumstances, and backgrounds to experience the world in ways that they might not be able to otherwise.

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