Updated, 1 May, 12:49 p.m. -- P&O Cruises in Australia also has stopped routinely offering straws with drinks. "Bar staff are becoming accustomed to the recently introduced change in which straws are only provided at a guest’s specific request or where a frozen drink requires it," a spokesperson said. "Guests have embraced the change and have given crew positive feedback. Few guests now ask for straws."
(2:35 p.m. EDT) -- Say goodbye to plastic straws on Carnival Cruise Line. The line has stopped placing plastic straws in glasses when drinks are ordered in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. It follows recent pledges by Royal Caribbean and Carnival sister brands P&O Cruises and Cunard to go plastic-free.
Carnival's brand ambassador John Heald revealed the line's new initiative on his Facebook page: "We will no longer automatically serve any soda or cocktail (except frozen) with a plastic straw. They will be provided by request. If you want one, please ask. Please support our efforts to limit the amount of plastic that can be found in the seas today."
A spokesperson for Carnival confirmed that the changes are effective immediately fleetwide.
Heald's post ended by saying, "I hope I can count on all of you reading this to support Carnival. We will be doing more over time to limit the use of single use plastic products onboard our ships."
Straws will continue to be available upon request.
P&O Cruises and Cunard, both of which fall under Carnival Corp.'s U.K. umbrella, pledged in early February to abolish all single-use plastics -- including straws, water bottles and food packaging -- from its ships by 2022.
Royal Caribbean also pledged to ban single-use plastic across its fleet -- along with sister brands Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises -- but did not indicate when the policy might go into effect.
Small-ship cruise line Peregrine Adventures, too, recently revealed it will ban all single-use plastics from its exclusive charter cruises. It also will provide refillable water bottles to its passengers, in lieu of plastic water bottles.
In addition to eliminating single-use plastics from their ships, cruise lines are moving in the direction of building more energy efficient ships. Carnival Corporation, for example, plans to launch a handful of ships that will be powered entirely by "greener" Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG); Royal Caribbean also claims its newest ship, Symphony of the Seas, is 25 percent more energy efficient than its nearly identical fleetmate Allure of the Seas, due to more innovative approaches to hydrodynamics and a heat recovery system.
--By Gina Kramer, Editor