Why the Cruise Ship Industry Doesn’t Need to Come Back
By Johnny Inama
The cruise ship industry took a large hit in the pandemic during 2020. Some cruise ships were left stranded at the beginning of the pandemic, and almost all cruise lines were forced to shut down, causing major loss in profit for these cruise ship businesses. Though the industry lost over $32 billion in the year of the pandemic, it is now starting to recover. However, despite escaping the negative effects of the pandemic, the industry is beginning to face another issue: the darker side of cruise ships is starting to come to light. Many people have begun to look into the negatives of cruise ships, and the negatives are very visible.
Waste is a large issue on cruise ships. As stated by geekyexplorer.com, cruise ships emit the same amount of pollution as one million cars. The ships will commonly dump raw sewage in the ocean, as U.S. law allows ships to dump the sewage more than three miles off the coast. This ends up destroying coral reefs and making the conditions for marine life virtually impossible to live in. The nitrogen oxide emissions created by the ships are connected to acid rain, poor air quality, and even cancer. Cruise lines are given a grade for sewage treatment on friendsoftheearth.org. Of the list that spans over a dozen cruise lines, the grades range from a disappointing C to F overall grade.
The quality of the employees is also a growing issue for cruise ships. The average salary for a cruise ship employee falls below the average salary in the US by over $3,000. Some workers are forced to work nearly 20 hours a day, leading to a decrease in the quality of their work as a result of less sleep. The workers can be demotivated to do their task as an employee, decreasing the standards on the ship. The ships are also flagged in other countries where working laws such as hours that can be higher than the U.S., and minimum wage tends to be lower. For example, some fleets like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Carnival are flagged in the Bahamas. This Bahamian law allows loose labor regulations, such as employment requirements, taxes, and several other laws that favor the ships, as reported by cruisemapper.com.
Cruise ship fuel is another main problem of these cruise ships. The larger cruise ships can hold well over a million gallons at once, using typically 80,000 gallons of the fuel per day. The ships use diesel as fuel not only to aid movement, but also to power generators and boilers. This fuel is refined from crude oil, making the constant emissions harmful for the environment when burned.
The cruise ship industry is filled with an overwhelming number of negatives. Pollution, employees, and living conditions are all considered to be poor. As more people educate themselves on the realities of cruise ships, the more they will start to realize the status of these floating disasters.