Major Cruise Lines Again Receive Fs On Health

Major Cruise Lines Again Receive Fs On Human, Environmental Health

Friends of the Earth Calls Out Cruise Industry Failures in Cruise Ship Report Card

WASHINGTON D.C.– Friends of the Earth released its 2021 Cruise Ship Report Card today, an annual assessment that ranks environmental and human health impacts of major cruise lines. Out of 202 ships from 18 cruise lines, Carnival Corporation lines scored the lowest for the third year in a row with an overall F rating. Disney received a B- and Royal Caribbean a D+.

During the brief 2020 cruise season close to 4,000 cases were reported of cruise passengers contracting COVID-19, including more than 150 deaths.  Science has shown that cruising remains the most harmful mode of travel to both the environmental and human health. In June 2021 the CDC deemed cruise ships a Level 3 (high) risk for contracting COVID-19 for non-vaccinated passengers and the ships that have already resumed sailing are seeing positive COVID-19 cases onboard.

Marcie Keever, Oceans and Vessels Program Director with Friends of the Earth issued the following statement:

Over the past year the cruise industry has done next to nothing to curb its environmental pollution, and is restarting operations without sufficient human health and environmental protections in place. This is unsurprising coming from an industry that consistently chooses the cheapest path to profits at the expense of human, ocean and community health.

What we are seeing from the cruise industry today is the result of decades of inaction by our elected officials and government agencies. Until the Biden administration provides strict oversight this industry will continue to violate human health and environmental standards, polluting our oceans and our communities.

One of the report card’s key measurements for the environmental impact of cruise ships is exhaust gas scrubber wastewater discharge, a massive form of ocean pollution. Scrubbers generate a toxic cocktail of petroleum byproducts that is largely untreated. This wastewater discharge is the result of the cruise industry’s refusal to purchase cleaner, more expensive fuel. Instead, the cruise industry chose to install smokestack scrubbers to comply with global cleaner fuel requirements. The ICCT estimates that in one year ships worldwide will emit at least 10 gigatons of scrubber wastewater and the cruise industry contributes approximately 15% of those emissions.

To see report cards from past years and to learn more about the effects of cruise ship pollution on our marine and coastal environments, visit

Communications Contact: Kerry Skiff, (202) 222-0723, [email protected]

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