Showing posts from March, 2018

Greenwashing on the Celebrity Solstice 3: refilling bottles, straws, and veggie meals

For this episode of my discussion of "greenwashing" on the Celebrity Solstice, I want to mention 3 issues: straws, refillable bottles, and vegetarian meals.

As far as I can tell, there is not a single water bottle-filling station on this ship.  The water dispensers in the dining areas all have signs that state, no reusing of containers.  There's not even a bottle-filling fountain in the gym!  I guess when your business model involves selling beverages in bottles and cans, there's no room for reusable containers.  All day long, guests are carrying around drinks, the vast majority of which appear to be beer, sodas, and bottled water, in one-time-use containers.

Two staff members mentioned that the reason for no refillable containers is to prevent "contamination."  This is patently absurd, given that 3000+ counties with local health departments in the US allow bottle-refilling stations, and - this is the kicker - people are doing it onboard anyway!  Yes, just wa…

Greenwashing on the Celebrity Solstice 2: seafood and sunscreen

In my last post, I defined "greenwashing." Wikipedia defines it as "...a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization's products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly."

Celebrity Cruises (actually, their parent company) has developed a relationship with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that has the characteristics of greenwashing.
On paper, the relationship involves improvements in carbon emissions, wild caught and farmed seafood, key food commodity procurement, and meeting general standards for sustainable tourism.  There are goals set for 2020.  There is no obvious barometer that gives me a hint how Celebrity is progressing toward these goals, and some evidence that indicates problem areas.

Sustainable seafood: The 2020 goal for Celebrity Cruises, negotiated with WWF, is "... to source at least 65% of global wild-caught volume from MSC certified fisheries."  On this partic…

Greenwashing on the Celebrity Solstice 1: WWF and carbon emissions

"Greenwashing" refers to the business practice of promoting, falsely, a positive environmental agenda.  It's a marketing scheme that hints at environmental sustainability and protection without environmental sustainability and protection actually happening.

The focus is on capturing a greater market share of the people who want to protect the environment.  In greenwashing, any real environmental gains are minimal because, when you remove the fluff, the commitment is not there.  

Celebrity Cruises regularly promotes its partnership with WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.  However, this partnership is difficult to see in action.  First, more than half of the crew that I've heard mention this partnership refer to WWF as the "World Wildlife Foundation."  As far as I know the World Wildlife Fund and the World Wildlife Foundation are two separate organizations.  So, when the crew don't know the parties involved in the partnership, the relationship isn't very dee…

Connecting with memories of Noel Krauss in New Caledonia

Our visit to the capitol of New Caledonia (Nouméa) was a pleasant surprise.  Caroline's mother, Lisa, had reminded us that her uncle (Caroline's great-uncle), Noel Krauss, had spent time in New Caledonia, and that Lisa still exchanged annual holiday cards with one of Noel's friends there.  We tracked down his email, exchanged a few messages, and voilà!  Eighty-seven year old Jacques Fonce met us at the Nouméa cruise terminal at 8:30 sharp.

Jacques retired many years ago as the chief plant quarantine inspector for harbors and airports in New Caledonia, and has a long family history in Nouméa. His great-grandfather moved from France to New Caledonia in the late 1800s to work on the construction of a military base. Jacques still has his ancestor's uniform, sea chest, swords, and pistols.

Later, Jacques' grandfather became mayor of Nouméa in the 1920s.  Jacques met Noel while he was attending a course on biological control at the East-West Center in Honolulu, and they …

"Mystery Island" - renamed for tourists, I assume

Yesterday the Celebrity Solstice left New Caledonia territory for a few hours and sailed to the nation of Vanuatu.  The destination?  Mystery Island.

Actually, I can't find much about "Mystery Island." The island we visited actually is Inyeug Island, which is uninhabited but used for a cruise destination and the regional airport for Aneityum, the southernmost island in Vanuatu.  I think "Mystery Island" runs off the tourist brochure and tongue better than "Inyeug Island."

We spent an hour walking around the perimeter of the island. We usually walk pretty fast, and this walk should have taken us 20 minutes or so, but we kept being distracted by the thousands of little hermit crabs scurrying on the beach.

Finally, after scoping out the island, we decided to go snorkeling.  Unfortunately, a strong current had started parallel to the shore where we wanted to go, and it really kept us in an area that was suboptimal snorkeling conditions.  The highlight, howe…

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, revisited

One of the nice things about revisiting a place is that you have a better idea of what to do and see.  The first time we visited the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia, Caroline, Doc Martin, and I walked around a little peninsula looking for a snorkeling area away from the other 2000 visitors.  After a short walk with our gear through the columnar pines, we ended up right where we were trying to avoid... the snorkeling spot suggested by the crew of the Celebrity Solstice.  The water was a bit turbid and there were not a lot of fish... not ideal snorkeling conditions.  We ended that trip with a walk to the other end of the beach (where you are stopped by a "private beach" sign - a resort).  Caroline and Doc Martin snorkeled out a bit, and Caroline came back with two thumbs up... we have to try this site on our next trip.

That next trip was yesterday.

We don't have photos from this snorkel (note to self - bring waterproof camera next time), but it was fabulous.  There was a very…