Category Archive News

ByRick Deutsch

Forget Global Warming: the “Plastic Ocean” is going to kill us.


Surely you have heard about the Texas-sized pile of garbage that is floating out in the Pacific. But it’s not the only one. Mega-tons of our discarded refuse heads out to sea daily.

The ocean is huge. 70% of the surface…so what’s it matter if you toss a bag, or wrapper or STRAW into the drink.  Well, it must matter with 7.5 billion people doing it.  OK. Not that many live in access of ocean water..but you get the idea.

So the plastic degrades to little balls, the balls look like plankton, creatures eat the balls and are caught, then we eat the fish.  Duh.  We try to digest the plastic and it doesn’t work….we die.   Ipso facto.

READ:  Venice combats litter in this gorgeous city.

Millions of plastic straws go into the trash daily. They can last 100 years or more in the ocean. Enter the cruise industry. Gosh, with the thousands of passengers sailing, a lot of straws are used. I’ve been on ships where when you get a can of soda, you have to ask for a straw. Soon paper straws will be given – like in the 1950’s. One line is going to use metal straws.

plastic ocean

The plastic ocean – you can;t vacuum it all up!

I never us a straw.  Here’s the real reason, Eco aside.  I’m part Italian and when I talk I wave my hands a lot.  Often I will hit the straw and toss over the contents. Sooo, I now go straw-less ….. and it works!  I’m no longer the guy who spills the drink over a woman’s dress.

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ByRick Deutsch

Technology advances in the cruise industry | the move to a cleaner ocean

It’s a fact that today’s cruise ships belch out a ton of gases. Literally a ton. The power plants on 100,000 ton ships grind through a lot of petrol.

Here’s an idea – sails!   Just like in the old days.  True, we do have a few large pleasure craft on the seas with sails, but not many. I once took a vacation on the sailing tall masted “Windjammer” cruises.   This was over 30 years ago…and I don’t know if they are still in business.  Think Club Med-type fun….toga party, beer games, etc.

Anyway, our craft was a retired Coast Guard training ship with three masts. It worked.

Enter a little known company, Peace Boat. It’s not a start-up and but is looking for investors. They are now trying to get funding, and they have cut a deal with a shipbuilder. It hopes to be open for business in 2020.  The idea is to become a low-carbon model for the cruise industry and move for climate action world-wide.

Called the “Ecoship,” it will use sails (10 of them), solar panels, wind turbines, and liquid natural gas. Estimates are of about a 50% cut in carbon dioxide when compared to a standard cruise ship of comparable size. How many passengers will be accommodated?  2,000 is the target – that’s a nice size.

Look at these goals:

20% cut of propulsion energy
50% cuts on electricity load
Integrated heat recovery and reuse system
Fuel adaptability and future readiness

Related: Evolution of Cruise ship power plants means lower emissions.

As the rendering shows, the proposed ship kinda looks to me like a whale or maybe supertrain on the waves.


Ecoship raising its masts

Thinking out of the box.

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ByRick Deutsch

The latest entry into ocean cruising – Viking expands from the rivers

After gaining a stellar reputation for its riverboats, Viking Ocean Cruises has moved smartly to compete in the luxury market.  They have fast-tracked building ships and now have five on the waves.  All ships can hold nearly 1,000 passengers, so they are comparable to the two Crystal ships, the Serenity and Symphony. But stand by for SEVEN more on  the way!

cruise ship

All Viking ships have the same look-and-feel

To the delight of many older passengers, is an 18-year age minimum for children – no more hours of “MARCO – POLO” at the pool. (Egad, how did that ever start?)

Viking’s plan is to remove common attributes found on all ships – NO casino, NO toys, NO climbing wall, NO go cart track – get the idea? Just peace and serenity. Ahhh.

READ: A battle brewing?  Viking goes after the ocean; Crystal goes after the rivers!!

To the delight of mature travelers: a free spa, free internet and all dining is comp. Like beer?  Beer and wine are thrown in for the evening meal. The pool is also serene. They don’t hire bands to play there.

Check this – movies are accompanied by headphones. I can’t wait.

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