Crystal Cruises - Final Grade: "F"

Crystal Cruises is a subsidiary of a Japanese shipping company founded in 1998 with its headquarters in California. Crystal operates three cruise ships worldwide: the Crystal Esprit, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. The Serenity and Symphony are designed to carry between 1,500 and 1,700 passengers and crew but the Esprit, which launched in December of 2015, only accommodates 153 passenger and crew. Crystal ships were banned from entering the Port of Monterey, California for 15 years after one of its former ships, the Crystal Harmony, discharged untreated graywater, treated sewage and oily bilge into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in 2003. These discharges were made despite the company’s promise not to discharge any wastewater into the Bay. In August 2016, the Crystal Serenity will take a month-long cruise in the Arctic through the Northwest Passage. While not the first passenger ship to make the journey, it will be the largest. Crystal has committed to burn cleaner fuel in its engines while on the voyage and it will be escorted by an ice breaking support ship.

Currently, none of Crystal’s cruise ships have installed advanced sewage treatment systems, resulting in a grade of F for the company’s zero percent sewage treatment score. Moreover, none of Crystal’s ships are equipped with scrubbers or plug-in capability, again earning the company an F in air pollution reduction category. While both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Esprit traveled to Alaska between 2010 to 2014 the ships did not discharge sewage in Alaskan waters, thereby avoiding Alaska’s strong water quality standards and giving Crystal Cruises an ‘N/A’ for water quality compliance in Alaska

Crystal Cruises - Cruise Ship Fleet

Ship Name Total Persons on Board Destinations Sewage Treatment Air Pollution Reduction Water Quality Compliance Final Ship Grade
Crystal Serenity 1725 Africa, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mediterranean, South America, South Pacific, Asia, Arctic, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, U.S. East Coast, U.S. West Coast, Alaska, Antarctic, India, Middle East F F N/A F
Crystal Symphony 1488 Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Hawaii, Mediterranean, Mexico, New Zealand, South America, South Pacific, U.S. West Coast, Asia, Arctic, India, Southeast Asia, U.S. East Coast, Africa, Alaska, Middle East F F N/A F
Crystal Esprit 153 Mediterranean, Middle East F F N/A F

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Grading methodology for the 2016 Cruise Ship Report Card

Friends of the Earth’s Cruise Ship Report Card ranks 17 major cruise lines and 171 cruise ships -- Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Fathom, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean Int’l, Seabourn Cruise Line and Silversea Cruises -- according to four environmental criteria: Sewage Treatment, Air Pollution Reduction, Water Quality Compliance and Transparency.

  • To determine a cruise line’s Sewage Treatment grade, we compared the number of cruise ships in the cruise line that have installed advanced sewage treatment systems against the total number of ships in the cruise line.
  • To determine the Air Pollution Reduction grade for each ship in a cruise line, we graded ships on whether they had installed scrubbers or were capable of plugging into shoreside power. Cruise ships that installed both technologies and docked in ports with shore power received an A, while ships that only installed scrubbers or only installed shore power capability but did not dock at ports with shoreside power were given a C. In addition, ships were given credit if they only utilize low sulfur fuels continuously at levels lower than required by international and U.S. law.
  • To determine the Water Quality Compliance grade for ships operating in Alaska, we used notices of violation issued for individual cruise ships to each cruise line by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation from 2010 to 2014. Ships were given an ‘N/A’ if they traveled to Alaska but avoided Alaska’s strong water quality standards by discharging outside of those protected waters.
  • To determine the Transparency grade for each cruise line we graded each line based on whether it responded to our 2015 requests for information regarding their environmental practices.
  • The grades for each of the four criteria were averaged to calculate the Final Grade for each cruise line.