WASHINGTON – Friends of the Earth released the 2020 edition of its Cruise Ship Report Card, documenting the environmental footprint of the cruise industry and grading 18 cruise lines and their 193 ships. All Carnival Corporation cruise lines received Fs again this year, Royal Caribbean received a D, Norwegian Cruise Line a D-, and Disney Cruise Line a B- grade.
The cruise industry is gearing up to restart as early as October, but many cruise lines remain unequipped to handle COVID outbreaks onboard. Even before the coronavirus, over 130,000 cruise passengers caught the norovirus between 2008 and 2014. Cruising remains the most harmful form of travel to the environment and human health.
The report card details the environmental failings of cruise lines, including grades for Air Pollution Reduction, Water Quality Compliance, and Sewage Treatment, which have been targeted for their environmentally destructive behavior for years by Friends of the Earth and other groups. Over the last three years, Carnival Corporation has been on criminal probation in the U.S. for illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean and obstruction of justice for hiding it from regulators.
“The cruise industry once again displayed its notorious negligence by failing to shut down as the global COVID-19 pandemic arose, helping spread coronavirus throughout the world,” said Marcie Keever, Oceans and Vessels Program Director for Friends of the Earth. “As long as the cruise industry refuses to implement changes needed to protect its passengers, our environment, and local communities, the industry should not restart cruising.”
“Both COVID-19 and climate change are going to get worse unless Carnival Corporation and the rest of the cruise sector starts acting responsibly, putting the protection of people and communities first,” said Gary Cook, Global Climate Campaigns Director at Stand.earth. “Unless cruise giants move away from dirty fuels and stop their dumping, we need a return to cruising like California and the West Coast need more kindling.”