2010 Adventure Cruise Guide
Is Adventure Cruising the Purest Form of ecotourism?
It seems like only yesterday I was writing the introduction to the 2009 edition of the Adventure Cruise Guide. It was a year immersed in financial troubles where many cruise companies, large and small, feared for their survival. As time moves on, it seems increasingly clear we have sailed out of the fog bank of uncertainty and into a whole new world.
If the GFC and Copenhagen taught us anything, it’s that we need to pay more attention to our planet and the way we live on it. Respect for the environment and our resources is just one aspect, but how we treat each other is also part of the new equation.
This is not supposed to be a sermon, but events have certainly worked toward building more ecologically sensitive travel products, especially ships. Once demonised as monuments to largess, the big vessels are now built to strict environmental standards. With more and more people wanting to visit pristine environments like our polar regions, expedition vessels are held to even higher standards.
The often over- and misused term 'ecotourism' describes environmentally sustainable travel that is respectful and beneficial to local communities. In my mind, that makes adventure cruising the purest form of ecotourism around.
It is now clear that adventure cruising, despite any lingering economic concerns, is emerging as a stronger force in the wider cruising market. There are more ships, more destinations and more demanding passengers than ever before. And they’re demanding the right stuff; respectful visits to small communities, small footprint vessels, genuine experiences and low impact shore excursions.
If the growth in responsible adventure cruising is a sign of the times, then it’s a good sign. If you are contemplating your first expedition, ask lots of questions and choose your vessel and destination carefully. Talk to agents, talk to friends, research and, most of all, ENJOY!