SAVE THE WAVES
We made it one of our missions while on board this ‘floating Goliath’ to understand more about the Save The Waves Program and how Celebrity Solstice undertakes its environmental responsibilities as the leader of the fleet. We went straight to the most experienced man in this area and found out some astonishing facts.
Nick Asproudas has been an Environmental Officer on board Celebrity Cruise ships for 10 years and on the Solstice for the past five. He has a degree in environmental science and is passionate about preserving the the world’s oceans. One of his most important jobs is to ensure each crew member understands their responsibility for making the ship as sustainable as possible.
What is Save The Waves?
Save the Waves is about protecting the world’s seas and the diversity of wildlife they support. The program to date has been introduced in 3 phases.
Phase 1 of the program started in 1992 and focused primarily on recycling and reusing water. The next phase introduced more advanced technology to find the best ways to use waste water and improve chemical management. The most recent innovations concentrate on air emissions and burning cleaner fuels using advanced fuel scrubbers to reduce harmful sulphur emissions.
The next step in the program will involve partnerships with global groups such as WWF (World Wildlife Fund) to reach a target of 35% reduction of carbon footprint by 2020. This phase will also include sourcing foods for on board consumption from sustainable local suppliers in order to help support developing communities.
Some of the most sensitive environments which create even more complications for cruise companies like Celebrity include Australia, New Zealand and our current destination Alaska. For example, Alaska is a pristine environment with very little waste management infrastructure and no provision for landfill which makes it one of the most difficult environments for ship travel.
What are the Lawn Club and Team Earth?
The Lawn Club area takes up 25% of the open top deck (15 000 square feet). Two lawn keepers maintain the grass through a wide variety of sailing conditions. Two types of grass are planted, Rye Alaska and Bermuda to maintain the lawn through hot and cold conditions. Under the lawn there is a watering and collection system which harvests rainwater and run off. The Lawn Club is known as the ‘Church of the Solstice’, a place for passive relaxation and meditation. From time to time the lawn needs to rest to recover after heavy use. You can stroll around this area or stop by and have a drink at the bar on level 15.
Team Earth on level 7 is another area for reflection and meditatioIn. This area grows a huge ficus tree in a massive pot in the central atrium between the glass lifts. In order for the ficus to grow it demands a lot of attention. The tree needs to be watered and fertilised, it’s leaves trimmed and cleaned and special lights are erected to shine on the tree to give it enough light to grow.
There are many real life plants scattered around the ship creating a more natural environment on board though none are on the outer deck due to biosecurity reasons.
What can passengers do to help?
Like any hotel, floating or otherwise, there are a few fundamental steps passengers can take to ensure they are playing their part in contributing to the Save The Waves Program. Guests assist by turning off lights in staterooms, closing balcony doors to save on air conditioning, reusing towels where possible and never throwing rubbish overboard into the ocean.
Well, as the saying goes in Alaska, we’ve only given you ‘the tip of the iceberg’ because there is so much more to this grand plan. Nick gave us a full overview and is happy to speak to others onboard who share his passion for a cleaner, more sustainable environment. At the end of our interview he finished by saying,
“I like to think of myself as the driving force to inspire people to save the waves and to protect the environment by making sure this is happing in reality. I really love what I am doing. Each year new improvements keep me motivated.”
To find out more about this sometimes unseen side to cruising, check out this link to find out more about this valuable program: click here