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S.S. Legacy is 'green ship,' trying to reduce footprint on nature's beauty

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ABOARD THE S.S. LEGACY – Two aluminum water bottles are lined up on the desk in my cabin. Cloth napkins on the dining table take the place of paper. No Styrofoam or plastic cups are used on this vessel. Daily menus are printed on small pieces of paper, as are daily itineraries so that paper use is minimized. Recycling efforts are everywhere.

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“We take our commitment to conserve and protect the environment very seriously,” said Patrick Rice, hotel manager for the S.S. Legacy. “We do everything we can to be ‘green.’”

On my weeklong cruise along the Columbia and Snake rivers, I am noticing many of the efforts made by Un-Cruise Adventures cruise line. My itinerary and all preparations for the trip, in fact, were made electronically. Cutting back on the use of paper is an ongoing goal.

The tiny menus work just as well as huge ones. And the small piece of paper with the next day’s itinerary that is placed on my bed at turn down each night is all I need to keep up with daily activities.

As for cleaning – which the ship’s crew seems to do constantly to keep everything looking lovely – the ship uses “green” cleaning supplies. “It is all-organic, no chemicals,” Rice said. “We use Simple Green on our deck.”

Eco-friendly toiletries and amenities are provided for passengers. Instead of bars of soap and bottles of shampoo and body wash, the S.S. Legacy has soap, shampoo and conditioner dispensers in the shower and by the bathroom sink. Those cute little bottles that many hotels supply are nice but they do seem a waste of plastic, as do bars of soap that are often opened, used a few times and then left for the housekeeper to discard when the guest checks out.

The ship also encourages less frequent washing of linens, which I always support when a hotel or motel offers the choice. I don’t wash my bedcovers at home every day, nor do I wash my bath towels after one use so I see no need to have it done when I am staying in a hotel, motel, ship or other accommodations.

Cruising some of the world’s most fragile and pristine ecosystems, the S.S. Legacy believes it is a privilege to explore the world’s natural wonders and strives to leave a positive impact on the people and communities they visit, Rice said.

Passengers on large ships often don’t even get to step foot off their ships. With several thousand passengers on the big cruise liners, such a huge amount of people could be harmful to the fragile environment and the small communities along the way. In contrast, the S.S. Legacy has 33 passengers on our cruise. And we will leave the ship every day except one, walking ashore to visit museums and other attractions.

As members of Sustainable Travel International, Un-Cruise Adventures abides by “responsible actions,” Rice said. Actions practiced by Un-Cruise Adventures include:

- Purchase local food and supplies

- Partner with local people for cultural tours/presentations

- Follow “Leave No Trace” practices

- Purchase supplies with less packaging to reduce waste

- Recycle

- Test new systems to reduce engine emissions, increase fuel efficiency

- Eco-friendly bath amenities on board in refillable containers.

- Reusable water bottles in each cabin for guest use; no bottled water sold on board

- Donate to local organizations in areas where the ships operate

- Meet or exceed waste water treatment requirements.

“Our goal,” Rice said, “is to leave any place that we visit better than we found it.”

For more information: Contact Un-Cruise Adventures at (888) 862-8881 or visit www.Un-Cruise.com

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