Making the climate a cruise priority in the Baltic Sea

Claus Bødker tells Elly Yates-Roberts how Cruise Baltic is working to help cruise lines meet stricter IMO emissions regulations in the Baltic Sea

Making the climate a cruise priority in the Baltic Sea
Visitors to Helsinki, Finland, can join in with local summer festivities all day and night in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Cruise Baltic is an association of ports and destinations that works with cruise operators to help them plan itineraries in the Baltic region. Now that the environment is a growing concern for visiting cruise lines and their passengers, Cruise Baltic is working harder than ever to put sustainability at the heart of its business strategy.

“For sustainability reasons, we no longer produce brochures for operators to use when planning trips,” says Claud Bødker, director of Cruise Baltic. “Instead, our website acts as a one-stop platform for cruise lines planning an itinerary in the Baltic Sea. Here, they can find all relevant information, including details about every cruise pier in the Baltic Sea, shore excursion opportunities at each destination, a three-year forward-looking calendar for local events and much more.”

In addition, the association invites cruise line executives on familiarisation trips to the region twice a year, giving them the opportunity to experience the various ports and destinations for themselves. “We also invite these executives to our annual Cruise Baltic Summits, where they can learn more about the many opportunities in the region,” adds Bødker.

Since the start of 2019, cruise ships sailing in the Baltic Sea have had to comply with more stringent emission control area regulations, which now limit the emission of both sulphur and nitrogen oxides. Despite these stricter International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements, the Baltic Sea is set to welcome more cruise guests than ever before.

“We expect to break a new record in 2019, proving that the industry can succeed even with environmental regulations,” says Bødker. “We have been working with the region’s ports to invest in reception facilities and 18 of the 29 ports now have fixed pipes to get rid of greywater. The remaining ports only accommodate smaller cruise vessels which use tank trucks to discharge their greywater. In other words, all the Cruise Baltic ports are working in line with the latest regulations.”

Building on the Baltic ports’ investments to accommodate cruise ships in compliance with the new controls, Cruise Baltic is working to further integrate sustainability into the core of its operations.

“We are currently working on the new strategy for Cruise Baltic, which will be implemented from 1 January 2020,” Bødker explains. “Naturally, sustainability will play a major role and I am especially excited about working with the cruise lines to increase our environmental efforts. An important part of the strategy will also be to share and promote the ports’ and cruise lines’ sustainability initiatives, which will go a long way to maintaining the industry’s positive reputation with the public.”

This article was first published in the 2019 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

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Elly Yates-Roberts
By Elly Yates-Roberts
14 February 2020