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Carnival's Brand Ambassador Pens Open Letter to Guests About Recent Changes & Environmental Efforts

Carnival is a force to be reckoned with in the cruise industry, with many passionate fans.  Like any brand with a loyal following, changes can cause waves - sometimes because people don't like the changes, other times because people fear what else is changing next.  Today, Carnival Cruises' Senior Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador John Heald published a letter about a number of recent changes, explaining the importance the company places on the environment.  The full letter can be read below, and if you're not a fan of the idea of "edible drinking straws", check out this popular alternative.

John Heald's Letter on Recent Carnival Changes

An Update to Carnival Cruise Line Guests

Every year we sail millions of guests who love the joy of cruising and the beauty and calm of the sea. The ocean is a cherished resource that we must all respect and one we are committed to preserving, protecting and promoting for future generations to enjoy.

Sustainability and environmental responsibility are issues more and more companies are addressing. Along with our sister brands that operate under the Carnival Corporation umbrella, we are making a concerted effort to enhance our sustainability practices so we can achieve our goal of being the environmental leaders you expect us to be. In this effort, we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in new technology, equipment and training to propel our environmental stewardship forward. We have made tremendous progress in reducing emissions, fuel consumption, water and energy usage, and many other metrics by which we measure our improvements.

As leaders in the cruise industry, we are committed to doing more, being ever vigilant, and moving faster with our plans. Over the next few months, you may notice changes to some of our product offerings as we move to reduce single use plastics and eliminate certain other items that are difficult to recycle or separate from food waste. It's important for you to know that these changes are focused on our being better environmental stewards — not cutting costs — as many of these changes actually increase our cost and the manpower required to execute them.

Some of these changes are underway, but many more will be coming by the end of this year, including:

  • Eliminating most individual servings of packaged items like foil-wrapped butter pats, condiments, salad dressing, cereal boxes and sugar (but excluding artificial sweeteners);
  • Eliminating various decorative items used in food/beverage service, such as steak temperature markers, toothpicks, umbrellas, stir sticks and olive picks;
  • Eliminating the distribution of all drinking straws, with the exception of frozen drinks, which will be served with an edible straw; wooden coffee stirrers will be replaced with stainless stirrers which can be sanitized and mused;
  • All beverages will be served in glass or reusable plastic tumblers; all to-go hot beverages will be served in paper cups with paper lids;
  • Shampoo and body wash will be distributed in pumps in all staterooms, suites and spa facilities;
  • Plastic water bottles are currently recycled, but we are exploring various alternatives that could replace plastic water bottles in the future.

We are committed to doing our part to implement best practices and new technologies to reduce our environmental footprint. And, along with the support of our terrific crew and guests working together, we will do our part to protect the oceans we enjoy and the air that we breathe. We ask that you embrace these changes in the spirit in which they are being made and understand how these changes may limit how our team responds to certain requests. The one thing we are not changing is our commitment to providing you with a memorable and fun vacation. And together, with your support, we will continue our progress as outstanding environmental stewards.

You can see the original copy, on pretty Carnival letterhead, by clicking on the image below:

Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald's Letter on Recent Changes
Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald's Letter on Recent Changes

Billy's Take

As mentioned at the top, pretty much any change can be met with resistance.  That said, we think that for the most part, these changes will be quickly adapted to and not result in any significant change to guest satisfaction.  The exception may be the edible straws as, well, they are a bit odd - but there are other options.  I think the tone in the letter is a good one, it seems a minimally controversial way of framing these changes so it's understood they're for the greater good.  I should also mention that Heald welcomes comments about these changes on his Facebook post.  Still, some will stand firm that these changes are somehow all in the name of saving money (and certainly Carnival is a business first), despite my strong suspicion that many of these changes, overall, don't move the needle one way or another for a company with $3.2 billion in revenue in 2018.  We'll see if other cruise lines put out similar summaries or if they rely on guests to take changes in stride without this direct framing.