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Cruise Ships

We advocate for laws and regulations to stop cruise ships from dumping waste into our oceans, polluting our beaches, contaminating our coral reefs, and destroying our valuable marine ecology.

Cruise ships the size of small cities ply the waters off our coasts, producing and then dumping large amounts of sewage and other wastes into our oceans, polluting our beaches, contaminating our coral reefs, and destroying our valuable marine ecology. Some of that waste is treated prior to dumping; other waste is dumped directly to the ocean without a second thought.

A large cruise ship, the largest of which can carry over 7,000 passengers and crew, on a one week voyage is estimated to generate 210,000 gallons (or 10 backyard swimming pools) of human sewage and 1 million gallons (40 more swimming pools) of graywater (water from sinks, baths, showers, laundry and galleys). Cruise ships also generate large volumes of oily bilge water, sewage sludge, garbage and hazardous wastes. In addition, these luxury liners, which allow passengers a rare glimpse of some of the most sensitive environments on the planet, spew a range of pollutants into the air that can lead to serious public health problems and contribute to global warming.

The rapidly expanding size and number of cruise ships in U.S. waters has triggered a national cruise ship pollution crisis. Environmental laws have not kept pace with growth of the industry. Cruise lines travel the most pristine waters of America, dumping all the way. New laws and standards are urgently needed.


Latest News See All
Princess Cruise Lines pleads guilty to dumping oil, covering its tracks

Deliberate pollution is completely unacceptable and we continue to call on the cruise industry to be transparent and clean up its act. 

Disney Cruise Line regains A grade for pollution transparency

Disney Cruise Lines was the sole cruise line this year to earn an “A” for transparency by responding to information requests. Every other line, like the year before, refused to confirm its current environmental technologies, resulting in failing grades for transparency.

100,000 activists ask Carnival Cruise Lines to fix sewage problem

"It's time for cruise lines, particularly Carnival, to stop using our oceans as a toilet," said Marcie Keever, Oceans and Vessels program director for Friends of the Earth.

Latest Blog Posts See All
Cruise industry eyes Cuba
Cruise industry eyes Cuba

The Obama administration’s plans to normalize relations with Cuba and the introduction of legislation to relax travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba have launched a tourism frenzy -- and the cruise industry is first in line.

The tides havent turned the cruise ship industry at it again
The tides havent turned the cruise ship industry at it again

It’s not enough that the cruise ship industry happens to be one of the largest ocean polluters, but Carnival Cruise Lines avoids most taxes due to a loophole in the tax code, reports David Leonhardt at the New York Times. Carnival only pays taxes equal to 1.1 percent of its…

Behind industry cruise lines
Behind industry cruise lines

Every year, thousands of cruise ships criss-cross the globe, burning highly toxic fuel, producing asthma-causing emissions and dumping sewage directly into the ocean. Most cruise lines only meet federal pollution standards that are decades out of date.

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