Rotterdam welcomes more cruise ships despite pollution fears

A cruise ship in Rotterdam. Photo: Mussklprozz via Wikimedia Commons

The number of cruise ships calling in at Rotterdam port has risen to 111 a year, a jump of over 500% in the last 14 years, even though experts say cruises are the “least sustainable form of tourism”.

“Cruises are one of the least sustainable ways of going on holiday. This type of huge ship uses massive quantities of fossil fuels,” sustainable tourism expert Eke Eijgelaar told broadcaster NOS.

Amsterdam councillors have called for a ban on cruise ships in a bid to curb pollution and limit tourist numbers. But Rotterdam’s economic affairs chief Robert Simons said there are no such plans for Rotterdam.

“All ships, including cruise ships, are part of our identity and prosperity,” he said.

However, economics professor Bauke Visser told NOS the stays in Rotterdam port do little to help the local economy. “People pay for a package so they eat on board, for example,” he said. “People hire bikes on board ship and the guides are members of the crew.”

The cruise industry itself says it is doing its best to reduce pollution and become greener.

“The cruise industry is at the forefront when it comes to the environment and sustainability,” Nick Hoogeweij of Cruise Port Rotterdam told the broadcaster, citing the use of LED lights and LNG.

In addition, Rotterdam will be reducing pollution in the port area by only admitting ships which use the local green electricity supply instead of their own onboard generators from 2027.

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