ANCHORAGE, Alaska - An environmental group released its report card Wednesday on how well cruise ship companies operating in American waters are doing to reduce pollution, and not one received an overall grade of A.
Friends of the Earth graded 10 major cruise ship lines, including some of the biggest names in the business, such as Carnival Cruise Lines. Carnival received a D-.
The highest grade (B) went to Holland America Line. Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises scored relatively well, each getting a B-.
The lowest grades - F's - went to Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International. Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises also scored poorly.
"Typically, cruise ship passengers are attracted to cruise vacations with pictures of pristine waters and promises of unspoiled scenery and abundant wildlife, but these passengers are never told that their vacations could leave a dirty mark on the places they visit," said Marcie Keever, who spearheaded the Cruise Ship Environmental Report Card.
Cruise Lines International Association, a group representing 24 cruise lines, castigated the report, calling it arbitrary, flawed and ignoring "the fact that our cruise lines comply with and in most cases exceed all applicable environmental regulations."
Friends of the Earth graded the cruise lines on three categories: sewage treatment, air pollution reduction and water quality compliance in Alaska waters.
The group said Florida, which has the top three cruise ship departure ports - Miami, Port Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale - also has some of the least stringent laws preventing cruise ship pollution. Alaska and California have taken the strongest stance nationally against cruise ship pollution, the group said.
Keever said some of the cruise lines have been working to make its ships less polluting, especially in the area of sewage treatment. Holland America, Norwegian, Cunard and Celebrity received high marks for having advanced sewage treatment aboard their ships.
Carnival and Disney received F's for sewage treatment.
Disney, with two ships and two under construction, could score better on sewage treatment next year because it has promised to make upgrades on all its ships, Keever said. The company announced last week that it would begin offering tours in Alaska for the first time starting next year.
The 10 cruise lines received low grades for reducing air pollution. Seven out of the 10 cruise lines received F's. Only Princess received a high grade.
Princess has spent millions to reduce emissions from its cruise ships, Keever said.
The final grades
Regent Seven Seas:C-