River cruises paint inland waterways green

River cruise lines are leading the way in greening the world’s inland waterways.

Over the past ten years, river cruising has pioneered sustainability goals. Companies are now diving even deeper to continue to initiate ways to reduce environmental impact. Here are some of their initiatives.

Go green

Along with a goal to launch the first all-electric river cruise ship by 2027, Avalon Waterways’ current ‘green’ plan also promises more local food production and sustainable shore excursions, partners with more destinations to generate sustainable energy at dockside and to reduce paper waste to 1% by the end of 2023.

Since introducing its Active & Discovery cruises in 2017, the company has expanded this concept to meet consumer demand for activities that leverage and help support local communities.

In partnership with its sister company, Globus, Avalon is committed to conserving and protecting people, places and the planet through Project Lighthouse. This initiative supports around fifty non-profit organizations such as Trees4Travel where Avalon offsets the carbon footprint of each guest by donating tens of thousands of trees each year and The Great Ocean Clean-up dedicated to the elimination of plastics from the oceans before they enter the waterways.

In design

Celebrating 20 years in business and 26 ships later, APT’s ship supplier Amawaterways uses thoughtful design like LED lights, insulated windows that reduce energy requirements for heating and cooling, electric locks to be connected to the port’s power supply in place of generators, solar heating systems and sewage treatment plants.

Unveiled in 2019, the revolutionary AmaMagna features a 10-motor configuration designed to reduce overall fuel consumption by up to 20% and minimize food miles. There is an herb garden on the terrace. The implementation of Culinary Action Stations in 2021 with varied appetizer plates for two people has also helped reduce food waste.

Through a partnership with Quietvox, personal audio devices packaged in biodegradable rice paper bags and equipped with rechargeable batteries are given to guests for shore activities.


Family-owned and operated for more than 90 years, APT has always stood for social integrity and strives to provide its customers with exceptional travel while providing meaningful connections and strategic philanthropic investment within the communities we they visit.

Launched in 2019, the OneTomorrow program is an initiative of APT Travel Group (ATG) where guest donations can be made to a selection of carefully researched charities. Projects include Living Water Myanmar aiming to provide schools and villages in Myanmar’s dry zone with access to clean drinking water and the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation helping to give Vietnamese children suffering from poverty, disability, human trafficking humans, etc. a better future. And for every guest dollar donated, APT matches it, subsequently doubling the impact.

walk right

In 2020, The Travel Corporation established How we Tread Right – a five-year sustainability strategy for all of its brands. In less than two years, Uniworld has already made significant progress in the fight against food waste. With a target of 50% reduction across the entire fleet by 2015, by working with Leanpath, a food management system, Uniworld was able to reduce food waste by 15% in the first three months.

The cruise line has also increased its use of local and organic produce defining “local” as product from within 50 to 80 kilometers of shore along the itinerary of the itinerary.

Uniworld also aims to include at least one meaningful local experience on 50% of its itineraries by 2025 through its Make Travel Matter program, designed to give back to local communities, wildlife and the earth. An example of experience is a visit to the Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative in Jordan, where women create and sell exquisite traditional handcrafted paper bowls. Another is in India where customers can get a glimpse of the humble work of Calcutta Rescue providing free services to people in need.

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