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Loved and hated: cruises

View into a cabin of the cruise ship AIDAbella

Every week we present different forms of tourism. Today we take a look at cruises. After two catastrophic years, they are on the rise again – despite some heavy criticism.

View into a cabin of the cruise ship AIDAbella

A mobile hotel

Palma today, Barcelona tomorrow, Marseille the day after tomorrow – and without having to pack a suitcase. Cruise tourists appreciate the comfort of the floating hotel. You can explore the metropolises of the world on land, enjoy a cocktail at your favorite bar in the evening and then always fall into the same bed. Nowhere is traveling as stress-free as on a cruise ship.

People relax at a pool on the deck of a cruise ship.

Feel-good oasis for young and old

Cruises are boring and only for pensioners? This cliché has long since had its day. Holidays on the cruise ship are also extremely popular with the younger crowd. The ocean liners offer a varied program for all age groups. From sports to wellness to colorful entertainment shows, there is something for everyone.

Adelaide penguins in Antarctica

Cruising on the expedition ship

If you want to avoid the crowds on the big ships, you can book an expedition cruise. Not only is it smaller, more personal and more environmentally friendly than a conventional cruise, it also opens up remote areas such as the Arctic and Antarctic. Of course, the exclusivity has its price: Expedition trips are many times more expensive than an average cruise.

An intricately carved watermelon on a fruit buffet aboard the cruise ship Aida.

All-round carefree for little money

Everything is included in the numerous offers of the major tour operators. Your customers appreciate not having to worry about anything. The all-around feel-good program is booked with just a few clicks. Eating and drinking are usually included, and flights are often included in the price. And all of this is usually available at low prices.

A cruise ship emits exhaust fumes.

High environmental impact

Environmentalists criticize that the true price is paid primarily by the environment. Because even if the cruise industry is now trying to paint it green: the majority of their ships are still running on heavy oil, the most toxic of all fuels. However, some shipping companies are already using cleaner forms of propulsion such as liquid gas, marine diesel, and even hybrid electric systems.

The Queen Mary 2 cruise ship, Australia

thick air

Since cruise ships often anchor right in the city, they are a burden on tourists and residents alike. The power supply of the ship is ensured in the port with marine diesel. Although it is cleaner than heavy fuel oil, it is still many times dirtier than car diesel. The air quality suffers immensely. A comprehensive shore power supply could be the solution.

View of the cabin balconies on board the cruise ship AIDAprima.

mass processing

It can sometimes get really crowded, and not just on deck. The cities are also suffering from the ever-increasing influx of cruise tourists. Especially in small towns like Venice or Dubrovnik, the shore leavers clog the streets and besiege the sights.

A cruise ship in the Venice Lagoon.

Saved UNESCO World Heritage status

Venice almost lost UNESCO World Heritage status because of the cruise ships in its city center. At the last minute, the city issued a ban, the “big boats” are no longer allowed to dock in the old town, but have to head for a provisional terminal on the mainland. In the long term, they should be banned from the lagoon altogether to preserve the fragile ecosystem.

Mein Schiff 2 - Passengers returning from a shore leave.

Huge profits, poorly paid staff

In order to save taxes, almost all cruise ships sail under so-called “flags of convenience”. By registering their ships in countries such as Italy, Malta, or the Bahamas, shipping companies pay less tax and make greater profits. However, these often do not reach the employees. The service staff in particular often work far below the German minimum wage.

The cruise ships Viking Sky, Viking Sun and Viking Star are moored at a quay in the port of Mukran on the island of Rügen.

Getting started after the Corona break

For almost two years, the cruise industry was idle due to the corona – and many of the tourist steamers were in the roadstead, like these three Viking luxury liners in the port of Sassnitz. This season, the industry is picking up speed again and is happy about the many hobby seafarers who love to travel. Well then: cruise ahoy!

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