Responsible tourism: Arctic cruise to Greenland and Iceland
Cruising through some of our planet’s most environmentally vulnerable parts of the world might not seem to be particularly responsible. Imagine how much waste and fuel those huge cruise ships must pour back into our environment. This is one of the reasons we have never sold cruises but, there is no denying that they play a vitally important role in many local economies.
What we really like about the MS Ocean Diamond is that it is a comparatively small ship and carries between 150 and 220 passengers. This leaves her well and truly dwarfed by larger cruise ships, basically, she is an absolute minnow and this has considerable advantages:
• Ms Ocean Diamond is the first ever Polar passenger ship to be carbon neutral, all of her emissions are offset after considerable work involving several global projects.
• Her size allows her to explore the region far more closely than the larger ships. This not only provides a far more interesting insight into the Polar region but also means the ship can moor in places that larger vessels can’t reach. This brings huge economic benefits to smaller communities which would not normally be visited by tourists but it also ensures that these places are not suddenly swarmed by hordes of visitors and that tourism development can be carefully managed and its benefits maximised for the good of the local community and environment.
• The MS Ocean Diamond’s small size means that its crew can be employed locally rather than relying on workers from far and wide. Indeed, the proud boast is that she is crewed entirely by Icelanders which again means that the economic benefits are maximised locally rather than in some corporate headquarters thousands of miles away.
This trip aims to show passengers the remarkable scenery, geological features, wildlife and traditional ways of life that exist in this part of the world. Having a crew of locals adds considerably to the experience by virtue of the wealth of knowledge they bring to the adventure. It is not just the onboard lectures that educate the passengers but also the enthusiastic and knowledgeable crew who make the whole experience that little bit more genuine by virtue of their enthusiasm to share their thoughts on life so far north.
This is the philosophy that underpins our business as a holiday company. Many of us here in our UK office have studied and researched Responsible and Environmental travel issues either at college or at university. The lesson we have learned is that tourism can be an immensely positive force but only if it is managed in a sustainable manner and benefits the local community, economy and environment. All our holidays are designed in conjunction with local tourism partners and aim to not only show, but also educate our mutual clients about life in any given destination. We focus on tradition, history and the modern way of life but are always considering what impact our actions will have in the future. For us, this is absolutely crucial because it’s not just us who should benefit from the holiday experience, it’s our clients, our suppliers and the locality in which they live their lives.