Margaritaville at Sea Islander Deploys New Waste-Reducing Technology

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Power Knot Ocean has installed LFC biodigesters on the Margaritaville at Sea Island to improve waste management and sustainability efforts on the cruise ship.

Margaritaville at Sea Islander, which just arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 2 following an extensive dry dock renovation, has revealed it has installed multiple LFC biodigesters from Power Knot Ocean as part of its sustainability efforts.

On average, cruise ships generate around 7.5 pounds of food waste per passenger per day. With Margaritaville at Sea Islander accommodating 2,680 passengers along with 620 crew members, this means more than 24,000 pounds of food waste can be produced daily. By using biodigesters, the ship aims to reduce its food waste.

Margaritaville at Sea Islander on Way to Florida
Margaritaville at Sea Islander on Way to Florida (Photo Credit: Margaritaville at Sea)

“The deployment of the LFC biodigesters aboard the Margaritaville at Sea Islander marks a significant step forward in our mission to protect the oceans,” said Iain Milnes, president of Power Knot, based in Freemont, California. 

“By converting food waste into water through natural aerobic digestion, our biodigesters drastically reduce the volume of waste that would otherwise end up in landfills or be disposed at sea,” he continued.

Cruise ships typically manage food waste through incineration, pulping and maceration, and compacting. However, incineration is cited as contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and requires significant energy that reduces overall efficiency, and compacting places the waste in landfills after being offloaded at port facilities.

Pulping releases sludge into the sea, which maritime regulations allow if food waste is finely ground and discharged a specific distance from land. Despite it being legal under these conditions, the practice receives much backlash from environmental supporters who worry about the potential impact of the waste on marine ecosystems.

For these reasons, biodigesters are considered the best method due to the efficiency and environmental benefits. These systems use natural aerobic digestion to convert food waste into water, carbon dioxide, and a small amount of residue.

Read Also: What Do Cruise Ships Do with Sewage and Waste?

The water produced is safe to discharge into the ocean and can also be repurposed for other non-potable uses, such as flushing toilets, supplying air conditioning systems, and cleaning surfaces and equipment.

Added Milnes, “This not only helps in lowering operational costs but also ensures that cruise ships like the Margaritaville at Sea Islander can operate more sustainably, preserving the ocean for future generations.”

The biodigesters can handle over 13,000 pounds (6,200 kilograms) of food waste per day and are strategically placed in key areas of the ship, including the galley and garbage rooms, to streamline food waste processing.

Power Knot’s biodigesters are also utilized by Carnival Corporation’s cruise lines, including Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess. The newest and largest ship in its fleet, Sun Princess integrated 26 LFC biodigesters when it launched in February 2024. Carnival Corporation aims to reduce its food waste production by 40% by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

After a Tropical Makeover, the Ship is Tampa Bound

Margaritaville at Sea Islander, which left Belfast’s Harland & Wolff shipyard on May 19 and has been crossing the Atlantic, arrived in Fort Lauderdale on June 2 with much fanfare. Boasting a refreshed look with tropical theming, new hull artwork, and various themed spaces for guests, it is next journeying to Port Tampa Bay, where it will homeport.

Nearly 900 international team members have joined the ship in Port Everglades for its final preparations and familiarizing with the ship’s layout. Once the ship arrives in Tampa on June 14, it will be welcomed with a special debut and naming ceremony.

The ship’s inaugural sail with guests on June 14 will venture into the Western Caribbean with itineraries to destinations like Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico, and Key West, Florida. In 2025, longer 6- and 7-night sailings will include Belize, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman.

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