Carnival Addresses Plastic Straws, Water Bottles to Be Replaced

Carnival Cruise Line has discussed why the cruise line no longer offers plastic straws, and hints that water bottles may soon disappear.

In response to concerns about straws available onboard, Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald has clarified the cruise line’s policy and commitment to keeping debris out of the marine environment.

This also includes the announcement that plastic water bottles may soon be unavailable on Carnival Cruise Line.

Edible Straws on Carnival Cruise Line

In the move to eliminate single-use plastics and minimize waste, particularly items that could potentially go overboard and end up in the ocean, Carnival Cruise Line uses edible straws rather than plastic straws, a move that was made in 2019. Not all cruise guests are a fan of edible straws, however, no matter how much more environmentally conscious they are.

Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald has addressed guests’ concerns about the straws, which recently compared Carnival’s use of edible straws to another – unnamed – cruise line’s continued use of plastic straws.

“So plastic straws. While I cannot answer for other cruise lines and what they may do, we have no problem in holding our heads high and saying we are working hard to protect the oceans we cruise on and the creatures who call those oceans home,” Heald said.

While admittedly not an extreme environmentalist, Heald does urge guests to give the edible straws a chance or to bring their own alternatives onboard – but preferably not plastic.

“I know the edible straws are not a favorite of everyone but you can bring your own straw, a stainless steel or reusable straw but please, not plastic,” he said. “We do not have a rule on bringing plastic straws on board but please try not to if you can.”

Drink on Carnival Cruise
Drink on Carnival Cruise (Photo Credit: Evan Reece)

Carnival Cruise Line has not disclosed what type of edible straws are used onboard, and it is likely that supplies may change periodically due to straw availability from different manufacturers, cost considerations, straw effectiveness, and other factors.

Guest feedback is sure to be considered as well, and different straws might be paired with different onboard beverages.

Edible straws may be made from a variety of foods, including tapioca, rice flower, or other starches, and are designed to not dissolve too quickly in various drinks. The straw’s flavor may be negligible or could be a subtle accompaniment to each type of drink, such as cookie-flavored or chocolate-flavored straw for a milkshake, a fruit-flavored straw for punch-based drinks, or other flavors.

As Heald explained, guests are welcome to bring their own reusable straws onboard. Metal, glass, silicone, plastic, and other types of reusable straws are all available, and often come with handy cleaning brushes and carrying cases.

While Heald does urge guests not to bring plastic straws onboard, undoubtedly, he is referring to single-use straws that would be discarded after every drink.

Water Bottles May Be Next

Heald also hinted that plastic water bottles may soon become scarce onboard Carnival cruise ships.

“We still have some work to do with plastic water bottles and the Beards are working hard to find a replacement for these in 2024,” he said.

Bottles of water are one of the most common beverages purchased onboard, with some guests simply preferring the taste and the convenience of having their own bottle on hand whenever they are thirsty. Some travelers also purchase bottled water for use in CPAP machines or to mix with baby formula.

Over the past two years, Carnival Cruise Line has nearly tripled the price of bottled water onboard, due to increased inflation and shipping costs.

Water Bottle
Photo Credit: Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock

Some cruise lines already use boxed water rather than bottled, and emergency supplies of water often come in durable bags. Both types of packing materials can be recycled and may have less debris than typical plastic bottles.

Heald has not elaborated on what might replace bottled water on Carnival ships. Before a final decision is made, it is possible that different types of packaging options might be tested on different ships to see which works best.

Read Also: How Do Cruise Ships Get Fresh Water?

Of course, cruise travelers are always welcome to bring their own reusable water bottles or tumblers. Onboard water from bathroom taps is perfectly safe to drink, and cabin attendants can bring ice for guests to use if desired.

Signage does ask that guests not refill large bottles at Lido self-serve drink stations, to be sure supplies (particularly of ice) don’t run out for other guests getting their own drinks, and to keep the stations as sanitary as possible.

Do you bring your own reusable straws on a cruise? What about water bottles? Share your preferences on the Cruise Hive boards!

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