Cruise Line Ends Unique Cocktail Experience After Backlash

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Swan Hellenic, a boutique luxury cruise line specializing in polar expeditions, has reacted to recent social media outrage featuring Martha Stewart, the climate crisis, and a very unique cocktail. Now, the cruise line is ending a distinct onboard practice, but is the step an effective one?

Iceberg Cocktails

In an Instagram post on August 28, 2023, Stewart shared a photo of herself holding an icy beverage and quipped about icebergs, which has created a range of reactions covering climate change, privilege, and social sensitivity.

The photo, showing Stewart holding what appears to be an iced coffee or similar cocktail, is part of a series of photos the lifestyle guru shared showing icebergs, glaciers, and what seems to be a small, worn berg on a serving cart aboard the cruise ship.

Martha Stewart Ice Cruise
Martha Stewart Ice Cruise (Photo Credit: @marthastewart48)

“We actually captured a small iceberg for our cocktails tonight,” Stewart posted with the photo series.

British expedition cruise line Swan Hellenic was tagged in the photo caption, and Stewart commented that she had just finished a zodiac excursion from the cruise line on the east coast of Greenland.

It is not clear, however, whether Stewart was being serious about using berg ice for drinks, or if it was simply a joke that didn’t float.

Firestorm Over Ice

Reaction to the photo has been extreme, with everyone from Stewart fans to climate scientists to environmental activists chiming in on what could be perceived as an insensitive, irresponsible, and “tone deaf” act of privilege.

Scientists have chimed in, however, noting that chipping off ice from a berg to serve in a drink is such a miniscule act that it makes no difference to global climate changes. Furthermore, since icebergs are already broken off and floating in the water, using those chunks of ice in drinks does no harm to glaciers or polar environments.

Martha Stewart Ice Cruise
Martha Stewart Ice Cruise (Photo Credit: @marthastewart48)

Nevertheless, Swan Hellenic has responded to the outrage and noted that the “iceberg cocktails” practice is not an official cruise line activity.

Swan Hellenic has said that the cruise line had never authorized “any invasive acquisition that does not fully respect the polar environment in accordance with our own strict rules and rigorous industry standards.”

This statement seems to indicate that the quirky activity of “capturing” an iceberg for cocktails is not an official practice, and there is no mention of such an activity on the cruise line’s website. Doing so, however, is often reported from Arctic or Antarctic sailings from different cruise lines as a unique and memorable experience for guests, even if it’s not an “official” onboard activity.

“Regardless, we understand this can appear insensitive to the climate crisis and therefore, we will be suspending this practice with immediate effect on all ships in the Swan Hellenic fleet,” the cruise line said.

Which Ship?

The photo was shared in late August 2023, but could have been taken at a much earlier date. The exact cruise ship is not named in the post, but with only three ships in the Swan Hellenic fleet, it is easy to pinpoint the most probable vessel.

SH Minerva, the line’s oldest ship, is currently sailing in South America, while SH Diana, the newest ship – just delivered in April 2023 – is in the Mediterranean.

SH Vega, meanwhile, is currently sailing off the west coast of Greenland – exactly where Stewart claims to have been. The boutique ship features nine decks and can host just 152 guests for intimate, exclusive experiences. Also aboard are 120 crew members to ensure spectacular service.

SH Vega features an ice-strengthened hull, extra-large stabilizers, and a design specially built for remote polar regions without sacrificing luxury and style.

Read Also: 5 Epic Cruises You Never Knew Existed

Shortly before the iceberg cocktail post, Stewart did share a cruise ship photo and named SH Vega, but the exact date of the sailing is not clear. In her posts, Stewart praised the ship as “spacious” and with “delicious” food, with a very “friendly and knowledgeable” crew.

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