With the effects of the Iceland volcano eruption disrupting current air travel to historic proportions, it might be fitting to focus my next “eco” post on a cruise (as both a mode of transport AND a vacation). It seems like everyone I know, including myself, knows somebody trapped in Europe (but if you have to be stuck somewhere, there are worse places to be stuck than Vienna or Paris!) without a flight to get back home.
So, an ec0-cruise it is! I can think of none better to talk about then the new luxury ship “MV Le Boreal” that Abercrombie & Kent has chartered for the 2010/2011 season for antarctic expeditions (some which are family-focused!).
On just features alone, MV Le Boreal is quite impressive: two restaurants, an outdoor heated pool, a modern lecture
facility and theatre, library, full-service salon, steam rooms, spa and fitness center. You might expect these on a grand ocean liner like Cunard or Holland America that holds thousands of passengers but the Boreal is small in comparison to these big girls. She (all ships are feminine) typically can accomodate up to 264 passengers. But, for Antarctica expeditions, MV Le Boreal will be limited to 199 guests to allow for shore excursions for guests. The 104 state rooms
(all balcony, outside rooms with floor to ceiling windows) are said to be the most spacious and comfortable on any Antarctic cruise line. From the pictures on the website, I’d have to say they look pretty sweet .
On the environmental front, MV Le Boreal will be setting a precedent at sea. According to A&K, MV Le Boreal was built to be the “most environmentally friendly ship to sail in Antarctica, with cutting-edge technology that includes the most up-to-date waste water system, recycling facilities, and other measures designed to ensure that the ship operates with minimal impact on the environment”.
A few of the many ec0-friendly features include:
- State-of-the-art computerized dynamic positioning eliminates the need for dropping anchor in fragile marine reserves, protecting corals and the environment.
- The most advanced waste water system and waste management. This means NO water (other than fully potable water), waste or rubbish will be discharged at sea.
- Operates on the lightest and cleanest burning Marine Gas Oil fuel in full compliance with new International Maritime Organization standards taking effect in July 2011.
- The 14-day Philanthropic Journey Classic Antarctica which highlights the best of the Antarctic Peninsula: vast penguin and seabird colonies, dramatic icebergs and glaciers. December 7-20, 2010 from US$9,995. Note: All state rooms except for a few of the Deluxe Suites are sadly already SOLD OUT on this excursion.
The 19-day Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands cruise from December 17, 2010-January 5, 2011. Start out in Buenos Aires and also stop in South Georgia and the Falklands. Prices start at $16,000. Note: some room categories are already sold out for two of the dates.
NOTE: For the 19-day excursion above (also designated as a “family departure”), there is special pricing and features for families. Children 8 - 18 save 50% of the cruise price when travelling with an adult (except in suites). On this excursion, there will be a marine and ecology “Young Explorers Programme” specifically designed for child guests. Workshops include Marine Mammal Identification, Squid Biology, Fish of the Southern Ocean (including fish printing), Drawing Penguins, and so on.