As Harmony of the Seas sets sail from Southampton docks on Sunday she will leave behind a trail of pollution – a toxic problem that is growing as the cruise industry and its ships get ever bigger
Super-sized cruise-liners offer their owners significant economies of scale, which helps to bring down unit costs and prices, making cruising affordable to the masses. However, it comes with a social cost that is not reflected in the market price. Cruise ships emit very large levels of toxins that adversely effect the atmosphere, in particular where they dock. In addition to the noise and air pollution generated by the liner itself, local residents can also expect to see increased congestion as passengers come and go. Clearly some benefit from increased trade thanks to the spending of holidaymakers, but does this increased income cover the additional external costs?