Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2024

INTERVIEW Generation cruise Cruise Lines International Association’s Kelly Craighead discusses the industry’s sustainability goals and the cruise passengers of the future with Rebecca Barnes More consumers than ever cruised in 2023, with over 31 million taking to the oceans to explore the world, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The industry was also in power mode, with global cruise capacity on the rise and the introduction of 13 new CLIA member line ships featuring the latest technology and sustainability advancements in a bid to help the industry pursue net-zero emissions by 2050. Although small in size – cruise ships account for less than one per cent of the total ocean-going commercial fleet of vessels worldwide – the industry has a powerful impact in terms of innovation in the sustainability arena. And, with the global commitment to supporting decarbonisation taking centre stage, it’s also high on CLIA president and CEO Kelly Craighead’s agenda. “2023 was a year of significant milestones in our key areas of focus, including climate action, sustainable tourism, conservation, diversity and inclusion, health, safety and security,” she says. “Collectively, in 2024, the cruise community is dedicated to being a leader in responsible travel and the best way to see the world.” According to Craighead, the CLIA member fleet becomes more efficient every year, with each class of ship being 20 to 25 per cent more efficient than the last. Collaboration is key to unlocking innovation and solutions for the future, she says. “Partnerships are crucial to advance the industry’s sustainability goals,” she says. “Business entities ashore constitute the broader cruise ecosystem and contribute significantly to the sustainability of cruise. This includes shipyards, suppliers, port authorities, terminal operators, destination management organisations, tourism operators, hotels and ground transportation, among others.” The cruise industry is investing billions in new ships and engines that will accept future fuels once they are developed and available at scale at a reasonable price. Alternative fuels and energy sources are also being tested, 74 Kelly Craighead (centre) pictured with executives from Scenic Group at the christening of Emerald Cruises’ new luxury yacht, Emerald Sakara, in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 2 December 2023