A Free-Market Energy Blog

Ark2030: No Pleasure Cruise Ships Please (elitism in action)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 19, 2023

“Cruise ship alarmists: check your premises and update your facts. Take a week long cruise. Bring some books to beat ‘climate anxiety.’ Epstein, Koonin, Bryce, Lomborg, Smil, Morano …. all affordable and best sellers.”

I am leaving the country on a cruise ship next week. It’s a rather amazing, affordable get-away. A week at sea with multiple international destinations is for the masses–the middle class and some lower-to-middle upper class. (Cunard from New York City to Liverpool will have to wait for some of us.)

There will be around 5,400 passengers and 2,200 crew on board (Allure of the Seas). The reformulated diesel that powers the ship (electricity too) represents the work of hundreds of thousands of “energy slaves.” All to have the experience that Kings and Queens of yore could only dream about.

Cruise ships are little cities at sea. They are monuments to freedom, joining the Supermarket and, of course, the ultimate capitalist institution, the Stock Market. There is virtually no government, just “simple rules for a complex world.”

All of the great food one can eat and a reflective look at the open ocean. Destination excursions to see eco-treasures. Again, all made possible by dense, reliable mineral energies.

Complaint! (Stephen Fern, Ark2030)

Bah, humbug–the climate busy-bodies do not like such conspicuous consumption, fueled by dense mineral energy. Here is a recent post from Stephen Fern, founder of Ark2030, in response to a next-generation mega-cruise ship, The Icon of the Seas (Royal Caribbean).

I suppose this is the perfect illustration of where the world has gone wrong. A glorious celebration of greed, consumption and avarice; packaged as ‘entertainment’. All on one boat.

It presents the perfect contrast to what ‘Ark Lovers’ are seeking.

A world where our happinness is based upon a mutual respect for people, planet and prosperity.

Where our fulfillment comes from our connection with nature, positive relationships with family and friends, belonging to communities that care about each other and the environment around them.

Looking after our physical and mental well-being, eating healthy local seasonal food and enjoying every aspect of a life that is on offer for free.

Not just taking what we want just because we can … and always making sure we give back more than we take.

More Complaint! (Angry Assaad)

Enter Assaad Razzouk, the “angry clean energy guy,” and head of Gurīn Energy in Singapore (renewables), and author of “Saving the Planet without the Bullshit.” The chapter “Saving the Planet Without the Bullshit”: A Luxury Cruise Liner is a Stinking Floating Dumpster,” states:

Luxury cruises are punctured garbage bins on water. 47 cruise ships emit 10 times more sulphur dioxide in European waters (2017 data) than all of Europe’s 260m cars combined. That’s just 1 of 3 air pollutants discharged from the ships’ smokestacks.

And it gets worse … Many in the industry also use the dirtiest possible fuel to power their ships, one that is 100 times more polluting than road diesel

– Bunker fuel is waste from the oil refining process and it is an environmental nightmare. Pitch black, thick, heavy and toxic, it doesn’t evaporate and it emits more poison than other fuels because it’s loaded with sulphur, which when burned releases gases harmful to human health and to the environment. These gases are poisonous to fish and seabirds and aren’t much good for humans living near ports, because they travel hundreds of kms: 70% of shipping emissions occur within 400kms of land.

Industry emits a staggering amount of poison, much of which makes it into our lungs. Ship engine oil pollution increases incidences of childhood asthma and cancer, contributing to an estimated 1,300 premature deaths a year around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and 60,000 a year globally

By using this fuel, the industry is also subsidizing the oil and gas sector. If shipping lines weren’t buying it, oil and gas companies would have to dispose of it safely, an expensive proposition – and a subsidy in the order of $450 billion

The shipping industry dumps its plastic in the oceans. It dumps its trash. It dumps its excess oil. It also dumps its foul wastewater

Ships are required to treat waste using equipment referred to as ‘Marine Sanitation Devices’ – except this can mean literally any equipment designed to treat sewage, often leaving behind toxic contaminants, bacteria and heavy metals that harm marine ecosystems

The shipping industry is also responsible for a billion tons of carbon a year. If it were a country, it would be the 6th largest polluter in the world. Its emissions are growing to such an extent that they are currently expected to be anywhere from 50% to 250% higher by 2050

Price they paid for all that poison: Zero

Friends of the Earth

Check your premises and facts, Angry Assaad. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and the real pollutants named have been going down and down. Check the websites of the major cruise lines and learn about the amazing technology that leaves the ocean waters as clean as they are found. And ditch the emotions and take a cruise yourself to see how you like it. (But please, not floating wind turbines or solar buoys to interfere with operations.)

Friends of the Earth

In Cruise Ships’ Environmental Impact (March 14, 2022), the eco-group Friends of the Earth states:

Cruise ships are a catastrophe for the environment — and that’s not an overstatement. They dump toxic waste into our waters, fill the planet with carbon dioxide, and kill marine wildlife. Cruise ships’ environmental impact is never ending, and they continue to get bigger. They once were small ships, around 30,000 tons. Now, corporations are building billion-dollar cruise ships to hold more than 9,000 people. They’re doing everything they can to pack these floating cities full of tourists while polluting everything in their path. 


… everything that cruise ships come in contact with are likely to be harmed along their journey. The air, water, fragile habitats, coastal communities, and wildlife are all affected. But most governments have refused to take actions to actually regulate the cruise industry and buried their heads in the sand to ignore the ongoing damage to the environment and communities. 

Cruise ship alarmists: check your premises and update your facts. Take a week long cruise. Bring some books to beat ‘climate anxiety.’ Epstein, Koonin, Bryce, Lomborg, Smil, Spencer …. all affordable and best sellers.


  1. Denis Rushworth  

    The cruise ships I am aware of circa 1990s do not dump trash, plastic or oil waste into the sea. There are international laws that prohibit such practices. They have very sophisticated waste management systems that use waste oil to burn food waste, plastic and combustible trash, they collect glass and metal waste and return it to shore for disposal in accordance with the local disposal restrictions and at the time some, perhaps all by now) have gas turbine generators to provide electric power to the ship when in port that has no shore power so that CO2 and other emissions are reduced. They also have on-board sewage treatment plants that release purified effluent in accordance with international rules.

    The last I knew, US Navy ships do not follow these rules.


    • rbradley  

      Very interesting comments. Thank you. The websites of the major cruise ship lines describe their best practices. I would also advocate private ownership of the sea lanes to create a capital value for the owner to maintain for salable value. The first user of sea routes could claim a homestead in this regard.


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