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Cruise Lines Sewage Report Cards

Friends of the Earth recently released their 2012 Cruise Ship Report Card, which evaluates major ship lines on their pollution levels.

The report covers 15 major cruise lines, including the Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International, as well as 148 of their collective cruise ships.

All were graded in the areas of Sewage Treatment, Air Pollution Reduction, and Water Quality Compliance.

The report also recorded any changes, improvements or decline, of those graded in 2010.

For a ship to be considered efficient in sewage treatment, it had to possess the most advanced system of sewage and water treatment. Ensuring that waste isn’t simply dumped into the ocean untreated. Thus, cruise lines were compared in this area by the number of ships within their line to have such systems installed.

This is a critical factor in decreasing the level of damage caused by a ship, as everything from human waste, to water from laundry and pools (containing hazardous chemicals, no doubt), to the water used in medicine facilities, all end up in the ocean. Without advanced sewage and water treatment systems, they do so unfiltered. This sewage can result in excess algae growth as well as dangerous levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, causing marine life to suffocate in the process. Because just one 3,000-passenger ship creates an estimated 210,000 gallons of sewage each week, the efforts of each ship counts.

To rank high in Air Pollution Reduction a ship must have been retrofitted to allow the installation of “plug-in” technology. This enables the use of shore side electrical grids. To have access to these grids, a ship must dock at ports with power hookups. Those that don’t dock at such ports were excluded from grading in this area.

When testing Water Quality Compliance, ships were rated by the degree of which they violated the 2010 Water Pollution Act, created to protect the Alaskan coast.

With all successes and failures charted, the cruise lines and their ships were given a final grade. But let us skip the drum roll and get to the results.

Disney Cruise Line appears to have made the honor roll with an A-, its more victorious ships, Disney Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy, receiving an A and two B+ respectively. While its weaker point, the Disney Magic ship, earned an overall grade of C-.

Hitting the foot of the bill were Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, and P&O Cruises. All received an overall F ranking, of which Costa and Crystal bore straight F’s in all areas graded. Garnering good B worthy efforts were Princess Cruises, Holland American Line, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Placeing the remainng candidates into the less satisfactory D and C populations.

If you still plan to board one of these behemoth vessels, consult the official report beforehand so you can get a clear view of the greener options available.

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