The environmental group Friends of the Earth recently released their report on cruise ship companies regarding the environment. The report graded ten cruise ship lines, including Carnival, Disney, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.
Marcie Keever, who led the report, stated: “Typically, cruise ship passengers are attracted to cruise vacations with pictures of pristine waters and promises of unspoiled scenery and abundant wildlife, but these passengers are never told that their vacations could leave a dirty mark on the places they visit.”
Friends of the Earth graded the cruise lines on three different categories. These categories included: sewage treatment, water quality compliance and air pollution reduction. The group also gave the lines passing and failing grades in terms of customer ability to access company environmental information.
None of the cruise lines received a grade of an “A,” however Holland America received the highest grade of a “B.” The next best grade was “B-,” which was given to Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises. Carnival Cruise Lines received a “D-,” however it was not the lowest grade. Disney and Royal Caribbean both received grades of “F.”
Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Cunard Cruise Line both received grades of a “C-.” Silversea Cruises received a “D-“ and Celebrity Cruises received a “D+.” The complete breakdown can be viewed here.
While most cruise lines scored about average in terms of water quality compliance, the other two categories had major failures. Both Carnival and Disney failed the sewage treatment category and nearly all cruise lines failed in terms of air pollution reduction.
Princess Cruises received a grade of an “A-” for air pollution reduction, in large part due to the millions of dollars they have dedicated to the task of emissions reduction. $4.7 million was invested in a port in Juneau and another $1.7 million was invested in Seattle. The investments enable the ships to plug into power on land rather than running their ships for power generation. Fuel burnt in port by cruise ships is one to two thousand times more polluting than diesel fuel.
Part of the concern with cruise ships is the location of their ports. Florida has more lenient laws while having three major ports for cruise ships (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral). California and Alaska has much more strict regulations. The port in Los Angeles, California will have land-based power for their ships soon in hopes of decreasing emissions further.