If you choose to cruise pick a greener cruise!
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It’s that time of year — as temperatures drop, people start daydreaming about warm weather, and the lucky ones start scheduling their tropical getaways. If you, or anyone you know, are planning a cruise vacation, Friends of the Earth has a great tool for choosing a greener cruise. Friends of the Earth’s 2012 Cruise Ship Report Card ranks 15 major cruise lines and 148 cruise ships for their air and water pollution footprint. The report card allows potential passengers to search by destination, by ship or simply identify the ships with the highest overall grades.
This year we handed out our first ‘A’ grade. Disney Cruise Line’s overall grade of ‘A-’ puts it in the “most improved” category again this year — this time leading the competition at the top of the report card. Disney joins five other lines that managed to improve their report card grades in the past two years.
Unfortunately, the biggest takeaway from this year’s report card is that many cruise lines continue to make halfhearted efforts to reduce their air and water pollution impacts. So while people continue to take cruise voyages, the destinations and communities that host cruise ships keep suffering.
Carnival Cruise Lines, a company with the largest fleet of cruise ships in the world with 24 vessels, and whose parent company, Carnival Corporation, also owns six other cruise lines on the report card, actually improved from an ‘F’ in 2010 to a ’D+’ this year. However, Carnival’s grade improved due to the good behavior of the one ship it operates in Alaska and its installation of shorepower on two of its ships. Imagine the air and water pollution reductions possible if Carnival implemented these changes across its entire fleet.
Though six cruise lines improved their rankings from 2010 and no lines lost ground, air pollution reduction remains an enormous oversight in the cruise industry. Ten of the 15 lines reviewed received an ‘F’ in this category. Of those six, only Disney and Princess Cruises had any significant improvement.
In addition, many cruise lines continue to refuse to make the necessary upgrades that would protect the ecosystems they travel through and, in fact, actively work to oppose stronger shipping regulations that would protect public health and the environment — like the North American Emission Control Area.
The cruise industry will only shape up if cruise passengers insist on cleaner ships. So please, take a look at our Cruise Ship Report Card to choose the greenest cruise vacation possible.
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Photo credit: © Sean Smith