cruise ships

World’s first hybrid electric powered-powered cruise ship arrives in North America

When it involves the surroundings and sustainability, cruise ships and lots of cruise deliver operators get failing grades in terms of controlling carbon emissions, recycling and treating water, waste and sewage.

But way to new era and the scrutiny of passengers, authorities organizations and environmental corporations, the tide is starting to turn in desire of the earth.

Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten is on the leading fringe of that effort with the arena’s first hybrid electric powered-powered day trip ship, which recently made history as the first ship of its kind to traverse the Northwest Passage.

The 530-passenger MS Roald Amundsen is called for the Norwegian explorer who became the primary person to navigate the Northwest Passage by way of boat and the first man or woman to go Antarctica and attain the South Pole.

Hurtigruten’s sustainability regulations include a ban on unmarried-use plastics and the goal of being completely emission-unfastened inside two decades. The Roald Amundsen moves the corporation towards that goal by proposing a hybrid running machine that uses massive banks of batteries to supplement the energy of the primary engines, which run on low sulfur marine gas oil.

“Excess, unneeded energy from the engines is stored within the batteries and while the engine desires extra electricity, we draw it returned from the batteries and feed it into the engines,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam told NBC.

That reduces fuel utilization, permits the engines to perform at their most reliable stages and lowers CO2 emissions by way of 20 percent.  

The ship also has the choice to run on battery strength by myself for confined durations, at some stage in which era it makes use of no gas and creates 0 emissions.           

Charging the batteries from the deliver’s extra energy is critical, stated Skjeldam, due to the fact there are currently no power charging stations for ships to plug into in port.

The company’s subsequent hybrid ships will be specific, he says.

Those ships will have plug-in functionality and be able to recharge at power stations Skjeldam expects to be installation along the Norwegian coast and someplace else.

The world’s first hybrid-powered cruise ship set sail from Norway in July and is now in Vancouver, B.C. preparing for a season of excursion cruises in Antarctica. Hurtigruten will debut a 2d hybrid-powered ship, the MS Fridtjof Nansen, in 2020. A 0.33, yet unnamed hybrid-powered ship may be introduced in 2021.

Hurtigruten’s next technology of hybrid ships, along with a half of-dozen of its retrofitted current ships, will run on a mixture of battery energy, liquified herbal gasoline (LNG) and biogas crafted from organic waste, which include useless fish.

“Bio-fuel is sort of a Kinder Egg of fuel; it's far like the ones chocolate eggs with treats interior,” said Skjeldam. “Passengers on our ships will devour fish. The waste from that fish and from the fish farming industry will go into a manufacturing plant that generates gasoline for our ships and creates fertilizer for the agriculture industry.”

Skjeldam says that, for now, Hurtigruten’s hybrid ships and its dedication to a ways-reaching sustainability practices is an pricey proposition.

“We anticipate the generation to be less expensive within the future. But we realize passengers don’t need to go to lovely, pristine locations on an operator that is not taking the character they sail to significantly. Some cruise traces say they’re inexperienced, but passengers can tell the difference.”

Other cruise strains do their part – or not

The world’s largest cruise business enterprise, U.S.-based totally cruise deliver operator Carnival Corp., became in court this week to cope with costs that it keeps to violate environmental laws by way of discharging plastics, food, or “grey water” into protected areas.

“Compliance, environmental protection, safety — it’s the primary element,” Arnold Donald told the court. “Without it, we don’t have a commercial enterprise.”

On the advantageous facet, though, Norwegian Cruise Lines Partners these days announced that it is on track to reach its goal of replacing all unmarried-use plastic bottles throughout its fleet by using Jan. 1, 2020.

Lindblad Expeditions announced its aim to end up a carbon-impartial agency starting this yr with the aid of making investments to offset one hundred percent of its emissions.

And the global cruise industry is running as a set to meet a goal the Cruise Lines International Association introduced in 2018 of reducing the charge of carbon emissions across the industry fleet with the aid of 40 percent through 2030.

(My story about the world’s first hybrid electric powered-powered cruise ship first appeared on

Ohio astronomy park honors astronaut John Glenn

I’ve spent the closing week chatting with astronauts and different whip clever folks that paintings for NASA and its international equivalents on the shakedown cruise for the new Viking Orion ocean deliver that boasts retired astronaut Anna Fisher as its godmother.

Fisher was able to invite approximately a hundred of her buddies on board this cruise and I changed into among a small institution of distinctly lucky reporters to tag along for the journey.

In a panel and in one-on-one chats most of the more than two dozen modern-day and former astronauts on board shared stories about being in area and, all through the cruise, astronauts and non-astronauts alike had a chance to check out the skies from the deliver’s decks and in its high-tech planetarium.

Today I depart the deliver and all the astronauts in the back of and fly domestic on an airplane – now not a rocket deliver. But I’ve were given my eyes on the skies and I’m thrilled to examine that on Thursday, June 21 – simply in time for the summer solstice – a new astronomy park honoring exceptional-hero astronaut and Ohio native John Glenn will open in rural Logan, Ohio, about 40 miles southeast of Columbus.

Courtesy NASA

The John Glenn Astronomy Park (JGAP) will now not only permits traffic to explore the night time sky, however it'll also offers daylight look at with a  Solar Plaza to have a look at the Sun, Earth and the North Celestial Pole, amongst other celestial capabilities. The eighty-foot in diameter Solar Plaza highlights the Sun’s orientation to the Earth as it modifications all through the 12 months and is encircled by a low wall with notches offering framed perspectives of the Sun on key days.  The new park additionally has an enclosed 540-rectangular-foot observatory with a retractable roof  to  allow night time sky viewing.

(All photos courtesy of the John Glenn Astronomy Park, besides for image of John Glenn, which is courtesy of NASA and the  planetarium image, which is courtesy of Viking Cruises).


E-cigs on a plane & within the airport

Lucky Stirke smoking

Can you vape on holiday? Maybe. Maybe not.

Sales of e-cigarettes and their cousins, re-fillable “vaporizers,” are presently a $2.2 billion marketplace in the United States, according to tobacco analysts at Wells Fargo Securities, up from an expected $1.7 billion in 2013. And e-cig intake ought to surpass that of flamable cigarettes in 10 years, in step with the same forecast.

Yet, even as the popular, smoke-loose, nicotine transport gear are advertised as being much less poisonous than traditional cigarettes, the options for in which tourists may additionally use the gadgets may be hazy.

In the air

Although its regulations don’t explicitly spell it out, the Department of Transportation believes the existing ban on smoking on home and international flights of U.S. and overseas schedule carriers is sufficiently wide to encompass a ban on the use of digital cigarettes.

“We are finalizing a rule with the intention to deal with whether we need to amend the present regulatory textual content to explicitly ban use of electronic cigarettes aboard industrial airline flights. DOT expects the final rule might be published within the Federal Register in early 2015,” an employer spokesperson said thru e mail.

While e-cigs are sold at some airport newsstands, their use is determined by using local policies and ordinances.

A handful of airport stores operated with the aid of Paradies had been selling e-cigs seeing that July at the request of the airports, in line with Paradies Senior Marketing Manager Justin Marlett.

The Hudson Group also sells e-cigs in some airport newsstands. Cigarettes and other tobacco merchandise, inclusive of e-cigs, now account for less than 1 percent of Hudson’s usual newsstand sales, “but at the same time as best 7 percentage of that 1 percentage is represented by means of e-cigs, e-cigarettes are the most effective tobacco merchandise which are showing growth…albeit handiest incremental growth,” said Mike Maslen, Hudson’s vp of income.

Buying e-cigs at an airport is one issue, the use of them there's another.

Rules vary airport-to-airport, and now and again inside concession-to-concession. Until earlier this year, while Minnesota enacted rules banning e-cigarettes from government homes, e-cigs might be used within the terminals of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“We had no ordinance or policy banning them,” said Patrick Hogan, MSP’s director, public affairs & advertising and marketing, which mean e-cigs may be utilized in regions controlled by way of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “However, concessionaires and airlines may want to save you their use within their leased space. I don’t recognize what number of did,” said Hogan.

Because the metropolis of Los Angeles prohibits e-cigarettes inside public homes, “the general public is prohibited from the usage of e-cigarettes within 20 feet of entrances to terminals, workplace buildings, and different on-airport homes,” stated LAX spokesperson Nancy Castles.

But at Denver International Airport, in which some outlets promote e-cigs, “this falls under the airport’s tobacco coverage, so their use is best allowed in regions in which smoking is permitted, such as the last smoking living room on the C Concourse,” said airport spokesman Heath Bernard Law Montgomery.

At inns

Hotels also range extensively in their e-cig regulations.

While the cluster of hip Provenance Hotels in Oregon, Washington and Nashville, Tennessee, haven't any formal policies on e-cigs, The Warwick in San Francisco is apparent that the inn’s smoking ban consists of e-cigs.

And even as some motels promote e-cigs in the in-room mini-bars, “maximum accommodations use the same policy for e-cigs as they do for conventional smoking,” said Julie Faver-Dylla, executive director of the Hotel Association of Tarrant Country, Texas, which represents approximately 400 homes in and round Arlington and Forth Worth.

“Although we recognize that many times the vapor produced with the aid of e-cigs is less negative to our residences and less offensive than traditional burned cigarettes, there many versions of these products in use, and it isn't always feasible for lodge team of workers to determine which might be complex,” she stated.

At sea

There is no enterprise-degree policy on e-cigarette use on cruise traces, however “it is something that character cruise traces are searching at,” said Elinore Boeke, spokeswoman for Cruise Lines International Association, the enterprise’s exchange association.

American Cruise Lines, for instance, does not have a proper coverage in location for e-cigarette use, however “for our smoking passengers there may be a delegated area at the top deck of each of our ships. In the event we've got a passenger who does use e-cigs or vapes, we encourage them to head up to the pinnacle deck as nicely,” stated employer spokesman Britt Rabinovici.

On the Holland America Line, “digital cigarettes are accepted in staterooms however now not in different public regions of the deliver other than on outside decks distinctive as smoking areas,” however on Royal Caribbean Cruises, e-cigarette customers must be a part of traditional cigarette, cigar and pipe smokers in distinctive outdoor regions of the starboard facet of most ships.

(My tale about e-cigarettes first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior).