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 Group (RCG). Royal Caribbean’s fleet totals 25 cruise ships, including the largest cruise ship ever built the Symphony of the Seas. Symphony joins Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas as the largest cruise ships on the planet – all accommodate more than 8,800 passengers and crew. Over half of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships were built in the last decade, and 16 ships have carrying capacities of more than 5,000 passengers and crew. 

In 2004, Royal Caribbean made a public commitment through its parent company RCG to install advanced sewage treatment systems on all of its cruise ships by 2008. Of Royal Caribbean’s 25 cruise ships, all 25 have installed advanced sewage treatment systems, resulting in a grade of C for the company’s 60 percent sewage treatment score. Two of Royal Caribbean’s ships are plug-in capable, but only one docks at ports with shorepower, earning the company an F for air pollution reduction. Royal Caribbean operated four ships in Alaska from 2010 to 2018 and it chose to discharge sewage from those ships outside of Alaskan waters, thereby avoiding Alaska’s strong water quality standards. In 2019, Royal sent two ships to Alaska, and the Radiance of the Seas discharged illegally into Alaskan waters. Twenty-two of Royal’s 25 ships have scrubbers installed earning Royal an F for water quality compliance since scrubber use merely converts air pollution into toxic water pollution.

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

« Back to the cruise report card

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 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.

Enchantment of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3582 Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, New England, U.S. East Coast, Florida 05 00 00 00
Liberty of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6320 Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Florida, Texas 05 00 00 00
Symphony of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 8880 Caribbean, Mexico, Florida 05 00 00 00
Ovation of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6405 Alaska, Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand, South Pacific, U.S. West Coast 05 00 04 02
Radiance of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3360 Alaska, Australia, Caribbean, Central America, Hawaii, New Zealand, South Pacific, U.S. West Coast 05 00 00 00
Odyssey of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 7048 Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexico, Florida 05 00 00 00
Grandeur of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3200 Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Florida, Texas 05 00 00 00
Adventure of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 4992 Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, New England, Florida, Texas 05 00 00 00
Spectrum of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 7173 Asia, Southeast Asia 05 00 00 00
Anthem of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6405 Caribbean, Europe, Mediterranean, U.S. East Coast 05 00 00 00
Freedom of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6000 05 07 00 03
Navigator of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 5200 05 00 00 00
Independence of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6000 Caribbean, Florida 05 00 00 00
Voyager of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 5200 Asia, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, New England, Southeast Asia 05 00 01
Allure of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 8980 Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexico, Florida, Texas 05 00 00 00
Explorer of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 5475 Caribbean, Mexico, Florida, Texas 05 00 00 00
Jewel of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3554 Caribbean, Europe, Mediterranean, Mexico, Florida 05 00 00 00
Harmony of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 8887 Caribbean, Mediterranean, Florida 05 00 00 00
Oasis of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 8880 Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, New England, Florida 05 00 00 00
Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 5200 Caribbean, Mexico, Florida 05 00 00 00
Serenade of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3324 05 00 00 00
Rhapsody of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3181 Caribbean, Europe, Mediterranean, Mexico, Florida 05 00 01
Vision of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3256 Caribbean, Central America, Mediterranean, Florida 05 00 01
Quantum of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 6405 Alaska, Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand, South Pacific 05 07 00 03
Brilliance of the Seas Royal Caribbean Int'l 3402 Caribbean, Europe, Mediterranean, Mexico, Florida 05 00 00 00

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.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap