Everybody knows you can get too much of a good thing, but that rule doesn't apply to every good thing. For some good things, the rule ought to be, "More is better, period."

The use of shoreside electricity to power cruise ships in port -- called cold ironing in the maritime world -- appears to be just such a good thing. Human history teaches that just about anything can be botched, but if cold ironing is done right, it seems to us that it ought to be done everywhere and always.

Of course, this comes at a cost, but the net benefits are obvious and immediate in terms of reduced fuel consumption and noise, plus the biggest payoff: zero emissions from the ship when it's in port.

The U.S. Navy has been doing it for years, but it's still a relatively new development for commercial shipping and passenger cruising.

Princess Cruises introduced the technology to the cruise industry in Juneau in 2001. Seattle and Vancouver followed in 2005 and 2009. The Port of San Francisco powered up this year.

Los Angeles, which has had the capability for some cargo ships since 2004, will presumably be next.

This is progress, but four or five ports over a 10-year period is slow progress.

Even considering the complications of ensuring compatibility, getting the financing and retrofitting older ships, we believe the ports and the cruise lines ought to pick up the pace.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI