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Friends of the Earth questions environmental impact of cruise tourism

Friends of the Earth questions environmental impact of cruise tourism

Friends of the Earth has released the 2019 edition of its cruise ship report card, documenting the environmental footprint of the cruise industry and grading 16 cruise lines and their 185 ships.

The report card, last released in 2016, shows an ongoing lack of initiative by most cruise companies to reduce their air and water pollution impact on travel destinations and local peoples.

All seven cruise companies under the Carnival Corporation brand received an ‘F’ grade for what Friends of the Earth brands “blatant illegal pollution”.

Over the last two and a half years, Carnival Corporation has been on criminal probation in the United States for illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean and obstruction of justice for hiding it from regulators.

Despite being on probation, each of the company’s cruise lines continued to commit hundreds of environmental crimes, including dumping wastewater and plastic into the ocean and polluting our air in excess of federal and state rules, argues Friends of the Earth.


“Carnival Corporation’s despicable behaviour shows that we cannot take this polluting industry’s claims of environmental responsibility at face value,” said Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels program director for Friends of the Earth.

“This entire industry must be investigated, and held accountable for its destructive behaviour.

“Carnival Corporation should be forced to spend some of their massive profits to clean up the communities they have dumped on.

“This egregious case of wrongdoing shows just how critically we need federal agency and congressional oversight of cruise industry pollution practices.”

However, Carnival Corporation cast doubt on the validity of the charge.

Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer, Carnival Corporation, said: “This is simply a fundraising tool, not a valid research study, since the report card lacks the appropriate level of research or scientific rigor and the categories are completely random.

“They don’t have the appropriate facts to back their grading system and they created a completely arbitrary grade for transparency to reflect poorly on the cruise industry because no cruise line was willing to work with them.

“This report is inaccurate and misleading.”

Frizzell added: “We are the first cruise company to roll out new liquid natural gas technology to power our ships, plus we have shore power systems on nearly half our fleet and the latest advanced wastewater technology on more than half of our fleet.

“We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to install environmentally friendly technology.”

He also pointed out the Friends of the Earth study included Fathom, a line Carnival has not operated for two years, while ignoring AIDA, a line Carnival views as one of its most environmentally sensitive.