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 two cruise ships worldwide -- the Crystal Serenity and the Crystal Symphony -- which are designed to carry between 1,500 and 1,700 passengers 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.

Currently, neither of Crystal’s two cruise ships has installed an advanced sewage treatment system, resulting in a grade of F for the company’s 0 percent sewage treatment score. In determining the air pollution reduction grade for each cruise line, only ships that dock at a port that currently has shoreside power facilities (thereby avoiding burning dirty fuel in port) were considered. In total, none of Crystal’s ships that dock at a port with shoreside power are plug-in capable, giving the company an F in this category. While both Crystal ships traveled to Alaska from 2010 to 2013, it chose to discharge sewage from those ships outside of Alaskan waters, thereby avoiding Alaska’s strong water quality standards, giving it 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, Central America, Arctic, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, U.S. East Coast, U.S. West Coast F F N/A F
Crystal Symphony 1467 Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Hawaii, Mediterranean, Mexico, New Zealand, South America, South Pacific, U.S. West Coast, Asia, Antarctic, Arctic, India, Southeast Asia, U.S. East Coast F F N/A F

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Grading methodology for the 2013 Cruise Ship Report Card

Friends of the Earth’s Cruise Ship Report Card ranks 15 major cruise lines and 148 cruise ships -- Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, 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 three environmental criteria: Sewage Treatment, Air Pollution Reduction, and Water Quality Compliance.

  • 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, only ships that dock at a port and plug in to available shoreside power hookups were graded.
  • To determine the Water Quality Compliance grade for ships operating in Alaska, we used 2010 notices of violation issued for individual cruise ships to each cruise line by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. 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.
  • The grades for each of the criteria were averaged to calculate the Final Grade for each cruise line.