Carbon-Free Cruising

If you’ve landed on this page, that means you care about the environmental impact of your cruise. And for that, we thank you!

Carbon-free cruising was a term coined by AdventureSmith upon our company’s founding, and the meaning has evolved over two decades. Today, it’s inherent in most of the small ship cruises we offer worldwide, via carbon offsetting. But it’s fast-becoming a base principle for cruise operations. We’re proud to see carbon neutrality and zero-impact navigation as technical criteria for new-generation expedition ships, and even traditional big ship cruise operators now signing on (for example, Carnival pledging to have carbon neutral cruises by 2050).

Why Is Carbon Important to Consider When Booking Your Cruise?

Most people are astonished to learn that over 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are related to travel. The nature of modern travel inherently emits harmful carbon emissions through the burning of fossil fuels. Planes, ships, cars and lodges are all sources of additional carbon in our atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

As a longtime naturalist and guide, especially in Alaska, AdventureSmith founder Todd Smith has witnessed firsthand the effects that global warming and climate change are having on our planet. Glaciers are retreating, permafrost is melting, forests fires are more intense and entire ecosystems are affected. Regions such as Alaska, Antarctica and the Amazon rainforest are the first to feel the ecological implications of global climate change, though it affects us all. And these are the very places many of our adventure cruise travelers seek to go. It’s important to understand the environmental impact your passage may have.

What Is Carbon-Free Cruising?

Carbon-free cruises are simply cruises that have a neutral carbon footprint. To achieve this, most of our partner ships calculate the amount of carbon emitted by their small ship cruise passengers and pay to offset it. Ask us if yours is among them. If not, you can easily offset your own.

How Do I Offset My Cruise’s Carbon Emissions?

We recommend Sustainable Travel International or MyClimate™ to calculate your emissions and pay to neutralize your cruise- and other travel-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Sustainable Travel International provides a more simple carbon-offset tool where you can pay per metric-ton of carbon dioxide. MyClimate™ is dedicated to fighting global warming through the support of alternative energy projects around the world, so your money goes to a local community or businesses in a developing country to help fund more environmentally friendly development options. Projects include methane collection and electricity generation in South Africa, solar collectors instead of diesel boilers in Costa Rica and weatherizing low-income housing in the United States.

What Else Can I Do?

Even if you book a carbon-neutral or eco-friendly cruise, air travel is still a significant contributor. Every passenger’s portion of an international flight emits nearly a ton, on average, of greenhouse gasses. This means that a round-trip flight can emit more carbon than your automobile does in a year! We invite you to make your entire journey “carbon free” with the purchase of an additional offset ticket (typically only $10-$50).

Still want to do more? You can also dig deeper into our other conservation initiatives and choose to volunteer or donate more to local causes when paying your invoice via our optional conservation contributions in select regions.

AdventureSmith & Carbon-Free Cruising

In 2005, AdventureSmith Explorations launched the cruise industry’s first carbon-free cruising initiative in hopes of influencing the cruise industry. Novel at the time, this garnered AdventureSmith a World Savers Award from Condé Nast Traveler in 2007 and applause from Sunset magazine for “Leading the Charge” in 2018. And it payed off.

Today, we are proud to see that carbon-offsetting and emissions reduction is now an integral part of most small ship cruise operations around the globe. And we are especially proud that travelers like you are taking interest in carbon free cruises.

The Experience

Find Eco Friendly Cruises with Our Expertise

Whether you’re seeking a carbon neutral cruise or the lightest-footprint itinerary, we have an eco-friendly cruise option for you, all aboard small ships under 200 guests. Travel with National Geographic climate researchers and activists, assist in data collection in Antarctica or charter a low-impact catamaran in Belize. Browse some of our sustainable favorites, or contact us today for a personalized consultation on options to cruise carbon free.

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