Cruise Ship Environmental Report Card Results "Aren't Pretty"

by Liz Behler 
Posted May 20th 2010 01:09 PMUpdated May 20th 2010 01:32 PM


Friends of the Earth, an environmental group based in San Francisco, released its second annual "Cruise Ship Environmental Report Card" on Wednesday, along with a statement that the results of the review "aren't pretty."

The report covered 11 major cruise lines and 113 ships and evaluated the lines on sewage treatment, air pollution reduction, water quality compliance and accessibility of environmental information.

"For the second year in a row, we've found that cruise lines are doing less than they can to limit the environmental impacts of their ships," Marcie Keever, director of Friends of the Earth's Clean Vessels campaign said in a statement.

Crystal Cruises, which did not appear in last years report, ranked the lowest with an F, due to the absence of advanced sewage treatment systems on their ships and the inability to utilize shoreside power via plug-ins at equipped ports.

Norwegian and Holland America both topped the rankings with a B-, a step down for Holland America, which scored a solid B in the 2009 rankings.

Disney Cruise Line was awarded a C-, garnering the title of "Most Improved". Last year, Disney sat in last place with an F ranking, but this year was applauded for its recent installation of advanced sewage treatment systems.

The report has its critics. The Cruise Lines International Association released a statement calling the Friends of the Earth "a campaign fundraising group" and that the criteria for the survey were "arbitrary and flawed." The statement continues on to say that its members "meet and exceed" environmental standards, accusing the group of misstating facts "to advance its own agenda."

Keever told USA Today on May 20th that her group tried to involve CLIA, as well as the individual lines, in the study, but only Disney and Holland America responded.

"We understand that cruise ships and cruise vacations aren't going anywhere and it can be a reasonably priced vacation especially for families, and you can choose all sorts of things to do on your cruise," Keener told USA Today. "But for people concerned about the environment this (report) gives people an opportunity to make a choice about what ship or line they can take. You can't assume all ships are fine."

To see the full rankings and their explanations, visit Friends of the Earth's website.
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All these cruise lines are world famous and need to step up to live up to expectations. But I wonder hoe these cruise lines are not satisfying environmental requirements which is so essential.

May 28 2010 at 2:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Isn't Crystal Cruises the very same company that had one of their ships BANNED FOR LIFE for polluting the Monterey Bay?

May 23 2010 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nothing happens when I vote a post up or down. And the first post I made never showed up, just my comment about the number of comments being so low.

Something is not working right here.

May 23 2010 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We have been on over 20 cruises. The worse cruise we were on was great. You get out of life and cruises what you put in to it. I do rank Celebrity and Princess the best, with Carnival close behind. We just got off NCL's Pride of Hawaii, The only American Flagged ship.Our next cruise will be in Dec.on the Carnival Fascination. Our 2nd cruise on Fascination, and 11th cruise on Carnival. We can't wait. PS We are 73 Years young.

May 21 2010 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Every time I come back to this site it lists only 60 remarks.

I know there are more than that. Where are they?

May 21 2010 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The worst cruise I ever went on took place on the Queen of Bermuda. Disgustingly dirty, even the fabric seating was torn in the dining area. And while we were out at sea, the morons running the ship were using a torch in high wind, which could have caused a fire. It was one repulsive little garbage scow. After that, I swore I'd never take another cruise, and I havent.

May 21 2010 at 8:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The following was posted from Crystal Cruises on their web site earlier today.

May 21, 2010
Setting the Record Straight
We feel compelled to set the record straight. Some of you may have read a recent environmental “report card” on the cruise industry from an organization called Friends of the Earth based in San Francisco.

We are very disturbed at FOE’s questionable criteria and selective research to rate cruise ships.

Crystal Cruises has implemented many initiatives that focus on waste streams, such as energy conservation, water filtration and waste reduction. In keeping with our high standards in everything we do, Crystal Cruises’ policy on sewage discharge exceeds international regulations. With our Environmental Management System, Crystal has achieved certification to the ISO 14001 standard, which is only awarded to those companies that meet a comprehensive and stringent set of criteria. In fact, Crystal was recertified this past year following an extensive audit. We are proud to be internationally recognized for our “Crystal Clean” initiatives. In 2009, the Ports of Stockholm presented Crystal Symphony with the Environmental Buoy Diploma for the third time, in recognition of our waste management efforts in the region, and Crystal Cruises was awarded the “Venice Blue Flag” by the port of Venice for our commitment to reducing emissions and safeguarding the city’s environment.

As a testament to our continued environmental efforts, when Crystal Cruises last home-ported in San Francisco in 2005 in connection with our series of cruises to Alaska, the Port of San Francisco’s Environmental Advisory Committee presented Crystal with an environmental award for exceeding existing environmental regulations and industry standards in her reduction of air and water pollution while operating in San Francisco Bay. Their decision was based on our ship’s clean fuel strategies while in port, engine emission reduction, progressive wastewater management practices and dedicated recycling and solid waste disposal programs.

We are also disturbed that many media outlets have published FOE’s report without doing their homework. A USA Today reader commented back to us: “Kudos on being ISO 14001 certified. As a member of ASQ and a Certified Auditor, I know this is not an easy achievement.”

Again, the criteria used to rate the ships is, in our opinion, is, at best, flawed. Based on installation alone, the evaluation of certain equipment is incomplete. What is the training of the staff to use the equipment? Are there viable alternatives to that equipment? Example: Is it better to have five garbage cans that staffers don’t use, or three garbage cans diligently managed by a well-trained, environmentally-conscious crew?

A thorough evaluation would consider all waste streams and the effort to address all of these. We encourage everyone to do their own due diligence before taking such inaccurate and incomplete information at face value.

May 21 2010 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

GEEEEZZZ... You wanna pick on the Crusie companies when BP Is dumping Ton's of OIL in the ocean every min. I don't think all the cruise line's in the world could compare to that!!! GET REAL!! They won't let them drill in a epmty field in Alaska but we can totally screw up the ocean. Sounds fair. Go hug a blade of grass in Alaska and forget about the Ocean and Coral Reefs. I'm not a Bush fan but CAN you imagine the screaming we would be hearing!!?? Foget the politics and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE SPILL!! NO wait let's gripe about Coal. Let's talk about what were putting in the air not the Ocean!! While Al get's on his private plane. WOW.....

May 21 2010 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just for the record,,,,A friend and I went to Bermuda out of Bayonne NJ last Sept. Royal Carribean - Explorer of the Seas ship. It was immaculate and everyone was extremely helpful and very knowledgeable.
And the free style dining is the best if you want to eat when your hungry,,,not when they have a seating time. Although I am not a fan of cruises,,,,I would definitely go again if the price was right for my pocketbook. Don't let one bad experience ruin your outlook onlife.

May 21 2010 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lawrence fishberg


May 21 2010 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply