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Cunard Cruise Line - Final Grade: "C"

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 3,873, 2,978 and 3,086 passenger and crew carrying capacities, respectively.

All three of Cunard’s cruise ships have installed advanced sewage treatment systems, resulting in a grade of A for the company’s 100 percent sewage treatment score. Because of Carnival Corporation’s initiative to install scrubber technology, all three Cunard ships have scrubbers installed. Additionally, the Queen Mary 2 is plug-in capable and docks at ports with shore power. After receiving an F for air pollution reduction in 2014, Cunard now has a score of B-. No Cunard ships traveled to Alaska between 2010 and 2013. 

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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 on its ships 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.

Air Pollution Reduction

Air Pollution Reduction

Has the cruise line installed scrubbers or were capable of plugging into shoreside power. Cruise ships that installed both technologies and docked in ports with shore power received an A, while ships that only installed scrubbers or only installed shore power capability but did not dock at ports with shoreside power were given a C. In addition, ships were given credit if they only utilize low sulfur fuels continuously at levels lower than required by international and U.S. law.

Water Quality Compliance

Water Quality Compliance

To what degree cruise ships violated water pollution standards designed to better protect the Alaskan coast. In determining the Water Quality Compliance grade for cruise ships operating in Alaska, we used the notices of violation issued to each cruise line by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation from 2010 to 2014 for individual cruise ships.

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

**For the 2016 Cruise Ship Report Card, we graded 17 cruise lines and the 171 cruise ships of those 17 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 2978 Central America, Europe, Hawaii, Mediterranean, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Arctic, U.S. East Coast, U.S. West Coast, Africa, Mexico 11 05 N/A 09
Queen Mary 2 Cunard Cruise Line 3873 Africa, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, India, Mediterranean, U.S. East Coast, Asia, Arctic, Middle East, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, South Pacific 11 11 N/A 11
Queen Elizabeth Cunard Cruise Line 3086 Caribbean, Central America, Europe, U.S. East Coast, Asia, Australia, Hawaii, Mediterranean, Middle East, New Zealand, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa 11 05 N/A 09

Grading methodology for the 2016 Cruise Ship Report Card

Friends of the Earth’s Cruise Ship Report Card ranks 17 major cruise lines and 171 cruise ships -- Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Fathom, 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 and Silversea Cruises -- according to four environmental criteria: Sewage Treatment, Air Pollution Reduction, Water Quality Compliance and Transparency.

  • 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 against the total number of ships in the cruise line.
  • To determine the Air Pollution Reduction grade for each ship in a cruise line, we graded ships on whether they had installed scrubbers or were capable of plugging into shoreside power. Cruise ships that installed both technologies and docked in ports with shore power received an A, while ships that only installed scrubbers or only installed shore power capability but did not dock at ports with shoreside power were given a C. In addition, ships were given credit if they only utilize low sulfur fuels continuously at levels lower than required by international and U.S. law.
  • 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 2014. Ships were given an ‘N/A’ if they traveled to Alaska but avoided Alaska’s strong water quality standards by discharging outside of those protected waters.
  • To determine the Transparency grade for each cruise line we graded each line based on whether it responded to our 2015 requests for information regarding their environmental practices.
  • The grades for each of the four criteria were averaged to calculate the Final Grade for each cruise line.