Climate Conscious
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Climate Conscious

Do You Take Cruises? What A Loser.

A sign that you have finally arrived, or an SOS from the high seas?

Photo by Peter Hansen on Unsplash

Cruisers are losers

Harsh, yeah.

Once, I took a cruise. It was for our honeymoon to the Caribbean, about 20 years ago. We had dreamed of it for years. We had heard rave reviews.

I got deathly ill from an infection.

But that personal experience, though unfortunate, is not really why I came to be such a cruise Boo-er. It’s the pollution — the dumping in the ocean of sewage and plastic. The Titanic heavy fuel emissions. The sense of privilege and entitlement people take with them. The separation of the actual ocean from the theme park version. The whale strikes. The noise pollution. The steering toward “shopping” that is supposed to be cultural flavor. The indulgence in gluttony and waste. The imbalance in the servers, locals, and the guests, which is often considerably racist, and/or classist.

Rather than feel like the winners who finally got our reward, we felt like losers.

For us, it was also the cramped sense of “camping” without the wide-open spaces, (or contact) with true wilderness, and no place to roam free.

Being on board with cruising affects our sense of giving, and with that, a great portion of connecting to the real world. It feels more like taking. Exploitation never feels good, and no one wants to be this kind of loser.

The Above Boat

On a cruise, it’s an artificial world. It sells the idea of “luxury.” It’s a sort of “you’ve earned it” attitude, and now you are finally pampered. Yes, we earned it. However, this is totally fake. It is very clear that this is not genuine hospitality and feasting; it’s extravagance, waste, and a strange sort of privileged pretense that we are not all on the same boat together.

Our planet is a ship, of course. Spaceship earth. We are all on it together. Yes, there are extreme disparities. Some are on a starvation raft, woefully looking at drawing straws. Some are on mega-yachts. The cruise is a very weird faux fashioning of pretending to be of a “higher class,” when clearly, we are only “above” the help.

It’s kayaks for us, from now on

I know some cruises, small, or very local river cruises, for example, are better exemplars of what is possible. If you do go, look for a green option.

Most of the industry is still bulky, big, invasive, and just plain unregulated in responsible ways to check their own damage.

I have never gone on another cruise. But from the size of these floating cities, and the musical strains of “Covid Cruise, couldn’t escape if I wanted to…” singing, ABBA style, through the back of my mind, I am relieved.

Once upon a time there really was something elegant, even beautiful, about travel by ship. But it’s long gone. In its wake is a smelly stream of ejected garbage, debris for marine mammals, birds, and fish to navigate around. There is the immense heavy fuel oil that leaks into formerly pristine waters.

Then there are the people having the time of their life. They want to believe this is a truly remarkable voyage. Yet, I cannot help but think they are blinded to the egregious reality of the true costs of a cruise.

They also are missing out on a real connection to the seas, winds, waters, coastlines, and astonishing beauty and inspiration that the sea still has for us if we learn to see, smell, hear, taste, and feel.

When we reconnect to the real ocean, to the wonders, and the source of so much possibility of life on Earth, we are moved. We can come to appreciate, and in doing so, desperately desire, to protect all our surrounding majesty.

This is what real luxury, real abundance is. It is not in having a sense of something belonging to you, privilege, entitlement, waste, or status. It is having the endless horizons and knowing we all belong here.



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Christyl Rivers, Phd.

Christyl Rivers, Phd.


Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.