We have been talking about sustainable tourism with Windstar cruises, they have been able to provide us with some great examples as to how they promote the concept of sustainable tourism, and respect the cultures of the destinations they visit.
We asked them a few questions about how Windstar goes about this and they have provided some examples, which you can click on and takes you to their blog.
– How does Windstar Cruises work to encourage sustainable tourism?
We are very fortunate to visit some of the most remote and untouched ports around the world. Thus, we encourage our guests to dive into the culture and soak up the experience of each destinations. The San Blas Islands, for example, are a small series of islands off the coast of Panama which are very remote and still immersed in old customs. Beginning this December, our guests will be welcomed by the indigenous people, the Kuna Indians. The small amount of guests we bring to their land will ensure we don’t disrupt their way of life. We also employ guides who help our guests truly appreciate the fragile landscapes they are visiting. For this, we consider ourselves very lucky to interact with so many wonderful people in some of the most hidden corners of the world.
– As the Windstar fleet is smaller than the average cruise ship this allows them to visit more ‘off the map’ destinations, does this mean you can get more involved with the communities you visit?
As mentioned above, Windstar is always striving to share the culture and beauty of our destinations with our passengers. Many guests tell us that their personal encounters with locals are the most valuable parts of their journey. Additionally, we try to do what we can in these communities. This year, as an example, Windstar Cruises donated TVs to Nicaragua which were welcomed in by the local community. The TVs went to churches and hospitals within the San Juan del Sur area. We access ports large ships could never dream of and recognize that accessing these smaller ports brings extra responsibilities to take care of the destinations we visit.
– How does Windstar Cruises work to make sure it is an environmentally friendly business and reduce its Carbon footprint (land based or worldwide)?
Windstar Cruises is proud to be a member of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), an organization with its own environmental standards that bind their members to exceed international regulatory requirements. Onboard each of our vessels is a senior member of the crew that is designated as the ship’s Environmental officer. These officers are responsible for maintaining our robust standards to preserve and protect the marine environment and its many inhabitants. Additionally, each crew member receives comprehensive environmental training each year.
Windstar Cruises aims at reducing fuel consumption through increased use of ship’s sails and through itinerary revision. The ships use fuel that is cleaner-burning with lower sulphur content to minimize environmental impact. Implementing water conservation initiatives such as water efficient shower heads are part of Windstar Cruises continued compliance of improvement of environmental procedures.
In an effort to reduce waste on Windstar Cruises, we focus on ordering appropriate quantities of food and supplies for each cruise. We ask suppliers to consider suitable and reduced packaging. Crew is also offered incentives for new and innovative ideas to aid in the reduction of waste and environmental efforts. As part of our recycling and safety efforts, our sailing yachts collect and store all chemical and hazardous waste generated onboard for disposal with licensed contractors ashore. Waste from the printer and photo copy cartridges are sent ashore for recycling, as is used cooking oil from the galleys.
Windstar also introduced an e-Sail Docs program which delivers cruise documents to guests electronically instead of on paper. e-Sail Docs include the same information as traditional paper documents; however, they are delivered as a PDF file through email. Additionally, biodegradable, environmentally friendly cleaning supplies are used which balance efficiency and minimize environmental impact.
As well, we encourage guests to conserve energy by turning off lights, TV and sound system in their stateroom when not in use. A sign is posted in each stateroom bathroom for guests who wish to participate in our towel reuse program. Our Port Agent partners are vital to our efforts in ensuring that all local port and national regulations are followed, and by conveying any special legislation or requirements.
We would like to thank Windstar Cruises for taking the time to answer our questions on sustainable tourism, we think the examples they provided of the San Blas Islands is a great example of Sustainable Tourism, and the reduction of carbon footprint a perfect example of best practice.