Oceania Cruises continues the sustainability leadership that the Norwegian Cruise Holdings group is known for by unveiling a new group of more than 150 shore excursions designed around the concept of conservation, and sustainability. The new Go Green tours are designed to encourage engagement between cruise guests and local people at ports that they visit around the world. From visiting vineyards and learning about the impact of climate change to exploring native artisans creating eco-concious art, this program is something I look forward to seeing more of as we transform cruise tourism from one of simple escapism and into one where we can learn, share, and bring ideas back to our own people to hopefully inspire further cultural, social, and technological imprvmenet at home.

Without a doubt, the Sea of Cortez / Gulf of California is one of the world's most incredibly pristine and environmentally sensitive regions. It was called the "Aquarium of the World" by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and has been a relatively hidden secret for most Americans, except folks from Southern California and Arizona. With the rapid growth of cruising around the world and especially out of west coast cruise ports like San Diego and Los Angeles though, more and more cruisers are wanting to explore beyond just the "Mexican Riviera" ports like Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. Lucky for the cruise industry there is a fantastic port waiting to join that all-star list, La Paz - along with others, including Loreto, Topolobampo, and Guaymas. Unfortunately this is a challenge since there is no way to avoid having a negative environmental impact when you bring 10's of thousands of visitors into a pristine area on a weekly basis.

Key West has been in the news a lot the past couple weeks because it effectively kicked the mainstream cruise industry out of town. This was a long time coming. However, due to the global pause in cruising this year, the ecological impact became even more acutely obvious. With less silt being stirred up by large ships passing through the channel cut through the reef that surrounds the island, the situation could no longer be excused or ignored. While this is a major news story and another blow to an industry that faces a long recovery period, the concerns faced by conchs aren't limited to just Key West. Scientists and locals in other communities from Alaska and Hawaii to Mexico are having similar conversations. While different groups of people will have different priorities, the question of how to manage the inevitable exponential future growth that this industry will experience once again in the coming years is something we must all consider.

There are a lot of topics related to efforts that the cruise industry is making to "go green" and while some such as banning straws and single-use plastics are easy ... the fuel that runs these giant ships is not so clear. While there are currently no LNG or hybrid-powered ships planned for service on the west coast currently, we are home to four environmentally sensitive areas that are playing a global leadership role with reducing greenhouse gas emissions on cruise ships. This includes Alaska, Hawaii, California, and British Columbia who led the way by mandating the use of scrubbers and are now progressing to improve on that as well.