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Royal Caribbean Int’l - Final Grade: "D"

Royal Caribbean International (Royal Caribbean) was founded in 1997. A Norwegian/American company with headquarters in Florida, Royal Caribbean is a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (RCCL). Royal Caribbean’s fleet totals 26 cruise ships, including the largest cruise ship ever built, the Harmony of the Seas. Harmony accommodates 6,780 passengers and 2,100 crew members, which tops the capacities of the world’s previous record-holders, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, by approximately 780 people. Over half of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships were built in the last decade, and 14 ships have carrying capacities of more than 5,000 passengers and crew. 

In 2004, Royal Caribbean made a public commitment through its parent company RCCL to install advanced sewage treatment systems on all of its cruise ships by 2008. Of Royal Caribbean’s 26 cruise ships, 25 have installed advanced sewage treatment systems, resulting in a grade of A for the company’s sewage treatment score. None of Royal Caribbean’s ships that dock at a port with shoreside power are plug-in capable; however, four of Royal’s ships burn fuel worldwide with a sulfur content that is lower than what is required internationally or in Emission Control Areas earning the company an F for air pollution reduction. While Royal Caribbean operated four ships in Alaska from 2010 to 2018, it chose to discharge sewage from those ships outside of Alaskan waters, thereby avoiding Alaska’s strong water quality standards, giving it an ‘N/A’ for water quality compliance in Alaska.

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Royal Caribbean Int’l - 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 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 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 2018 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 2019 Cruise Ship Report Card, we graded 16 cruise lines and the 185 cruise ships of those 16 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.

Empress of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 2528 Caribbean, Mexico, U.S. East Coast 11 00 N/A 04
Oasis of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 8457 Caribbean, U.S. East Coast 11 00 N/A 04
Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 5214 Asia, East Asia 11 00 N/A 04
Liberty of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6320 Caribbean, Central America, Mexico 11 00 N/A 04
Grandeur of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3206 Caribbean, U.S. East Coast 11 00 N/A 04
Symphony of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3361 Arctic, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Mexico 11 00 N/A 04
Adventure of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 4294 Caribbean 11 00 N/A 04
Voyager of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 5118 Asia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Southeast Asia 11 00 N/A 04
Allure of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 8980 Caribbean, Mexico, U.S. East Coast 11 00 N/A 04
Jewel of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 2573 Caribbean 11 09 N/A 11
Explorer of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 4294 Alaska, New Zealand, South Pacific, U.S. West Coast 11 00 N/A 04
Freedom of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 5875 Caribbean 11 00 N/A 04
Vision of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3208 Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East 11 00 N/A 04
Brilliance of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3360 Canada, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexico, U.S. East Coast 11 09 N/A 11
Enchantment of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3316 Caribbean, U.S. East Coast 11 00 N/A 04
Serenade of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 8764 Caribbean, Mediterranean 11 09 N/A 11
Anthem of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6435 Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Mediterranean, U.S. East Coast 11 00 N/A 04
Spectrum of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6370 Asia, East Asia, Europe, South Pacific, Southeast Asia 11 00 N/A 04
Majesty of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3577 Caribbean, Mexico, U.S. East Coast 00 00 N/A 00
Radiance of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3404 Hawaii, New Zealand, South Pacific 11 09 N/A 11
Independence of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 5730 Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexico 11 00 N/A 04
Ovation of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6119 Asia, East Asia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Southeast Asia 11 05 N/A 04
Quantum of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6119 Asia, India, Middle East, Southeast Asia 11 00 N/A 04
Rhapsody of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3196 Africa, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Mediterranean, Mexico, U.S. East Coast 11 00 N/A 04
Harmony of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 9080 Caribbean 11 00 N/A 04

Grading Methodology For The 2019 Cruise Ship Report Card

Friends of the Earth’s Cruise Ship Report Card ranks 16 major cruise lines and 185 cruise ships — 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 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, ships that dock at a port and plug in to available shoreside power hookups were graded. 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. Use of scrubbers was no longer 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.

. 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 2018. 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 or if they didn’t travel to Alaska at all.

. To determine the Transparency grade for each cruise line we graded each line based on whether it responded to our 2019 requests for information regarding their environmental practices.

. All seven Carnival Corp. companies graded on the report card committed criminal environmental violations in 2017 and 2018 while on federal criminal probation in the US for violations dating back to 2005.

. The grades for each of the four criteria were averaged to calculate the Final Grade for each cruise line. Carnival Corp. companies have all received an overall F grade on this year’s report card due to their ongoing criminal behavior from every line under the Carnival brand while on federal probation in the US.

Grades In Comparison: Report Cards From Previous Years 

 

**For the 2019 Cruise Ship Report Card, we graded 16 cruise lines and the 185 cruise ships of those 16 lines operating around the world. All ocean-going cruise ships over 100 passengers and crew 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.