Cunard Cruise Line - Final Grade: "F"

Cunard Cruise Line was originally founded in 1840. An American-owned, British-operated shipping company, Cunard is headquartered in California, and is a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., which controls almost 50 percent of the worldwide cruise ship market. Cunard’s small fleet of three ships—the Queen Mary 2, the Queen Victoria, and the Queen Elizabeth—have 3,983, 3,042 and 3,552 passenger and crew carrying capacities, respectively.

All three of Cunard’s cruise ships have installed advanced sewage treatment systems, resulting in a grade of C for the company’s 60 percent sewage treatment score. Additionally, the Queen Mary 2 is the only Cunard ship plug-in capable and docks at ports with shore power, giving the cruise line an F in this category. The Queen Elizabeth traveled to Alaska in 2019 and did not receive any citations for operations in Alaskan waters. Since all three Cunard ships have scrubbers installed it earns an F for water quality compliance since scrubber use merely converts air pollution into toxic water pollution.

Cunard was also one of the cruise lines that responded to our inquiries about its environmental practices with specifics, awarding them an A for transparency.

Carnival Corp. and its subsidiaries have been on criminal probation for the last four years as part of a $40 million fine and plea agreement for illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean and obstruction of justice for hiding it from regulators. During its probation, Carnival companies have been violating the terms of the criminal plea agreement by dumping wastewater, oil and plastic into the ocean and polluting our air in excess of federal and state regulations.

Carnival Corp. companies have all received an overall grade of F on this year’s report card due to their ongoing criminal behavior.

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Cunard Cruise Line - Cruise Ship Fleet

Ship Name Cruise Line Total Persons on Board Destinations Sewage Treatment

Sewage Treatment

Has the cruise line installed the most advanced sewage and wastewater treatment systems available instead of dumping minimally treated sewage directly into the water? In determining a cruise line’s Sewage Treatment grade, we compared the number of cruise ships in the cruise line that have installed advanced sewage treatment systems against the total number of ships in the cruise line. Ships with AWTS were downgraded in 2020 since no companies publicly report on the performance of those advanced systems.

Air Pollution Reduction

Air Pollution Reduction

Has the cruise line installed shorepower or adopted cleaner fuel worldwide? In determining the Air Pollution Reduction grade for each ship in a cruise line, ships that dock at a port and plug in to available shoreside power hookups were graded. In addition, ships were given credit if they utilize low sulfur fuels continuously worldwide at levels lower than required by international law. Use of scrubbers is not considered since the scrubbers in use by the cruise industry simply convert air pollution emissions into water pollution through their scrubber wastewater discharges.

Water Quality Compliance

Water Quality Compliance

To what degree did cruise ships violate water pollution standards designed to better protect the Alaskan coast? In determining the Water Quality Compliance grade for cruise ships, we used notices of violation issued for individual cruise ships to each cruise line by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation from 2010 to 2019. In addition, we downgraded ships for their use of scrubbers since scrubbers convert air pollution emissions into water pollution.

Final Ship Grade
Curved Grading Scale
A 100-85 Excellent
B 84-70 Satisfactory
C 69-50 Needs Work
D 49-25 Poor
F 24-0 Unacceptable
N/A Not Graded No Discharge in Alaskan Waters or Scrubber Use

**For the 2021 Cruise Ship Report Card, we graded 18 cruise lines and 202 cruise ships of those 18 lines operating around the world. All cruise ships from each cruise line were included in this report card. Friends of the Earth relied on data gathered from the internet, government sources, the cruise line industry, and other public sources in order to determine the grades assigned to the cruise lines. Friends of the Earth did not independently verify that the technology graded in the report card was installed on the individual cruise ships.

Queen Victoria Cunard Cruise Line 3042 Asia, Africa, Australia, Central America, Europe, Hawaii, Mediterranean, Mexico, Middle East, New Zealand, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, U.S. West Coast, New York 05 00 00 00
Queen Mary 2 Cunard Cruise Line 3983 Africa, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, New York 05 07 00 03
Queen Elizabeth Cunard Cruise Line 3552 Asia, Alaska, Australia, Central America, Mediterranean, New Zealand, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, U.S. West Coast 05 00 04 02

Grading Methodology For The 2021 Cruise Ship Report Card

Friends of the Earth’s Cruise Ship Report Card ranks 18 major cruise lines and 202 cruise ships — AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean Int’l, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, and Virgin Voyages — according to four environmental criteria: Sewage Treatment, Air Pollution Reduction, Water Quality Compliance and Transparency.

    • Sewage Treatment
      To determine a cruise line’s Sewage Treatment grade, we compared the number of cruise ships in the cruise line that have installed advanced sewage treatment systems (AWTS) against the total number of ships in the cruise line. Ships with AWTS were downgraded in 2021 because no companies publicly report on the performance of those advanced systems.
    • Air Pollution Reduction
      To determine the Air Pollution Reduction grade for each ship in a cruise line, ships that dock at a port and plug in to available shoreside power hookups were graded. In addition, ships were given credit if they utilize low sulfur fuels continuously worldwide at levels lower than required by international law. Use of scrubbers is not considered since the significant majority of scrubbers in use by the cruise industry simply convert air pollution emissions into water pollution through their scrubber wastewater discharges.
    • Water Quality Compliance
      To determine the Water Quality Compliance grade for ships operating in Alaska, we used notices of violation issued for individual cruise ships to each cruise line by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation from 2010 to 2019. We also failed ships for their scrubber use since scrubbers convert air pollution emissions into water pollution.
    • Transparency
      To determine the Transparency grade for each cruise line we graded each cruise line based on whether it responded to our 2021 requests for information regarding their environmental practices.
    • Criminal Violations
      All Carnival Corporation companies committed criminal environmental violations between 2017 and 2021.


Grades In Comparison: Report Cards From Previous Years

 

**For the 2021 Cruise Ship Report Card, we graded 18 cruise lines and 202 cruise ships of those 18 lines operating around the world. All cruise ships from each cruise line were included in this report card. Friends of the Earth relied on data gathered from the internet, government sources, the cruise line industry, and other public sources in order to determine the grades assigned to the cruise lines. Friends of the Earth did not independently verify that the technology graded in the report card was installed on the individual cruise ships.

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