Cruise Ship Environmental Report Card Results "Aren't Pretty"

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Friends of the Earth, an environmental group based in San Francisco, released its second annual "Cruise Ship Environmental Report Card" on Wednesday, along with a statement that the results of the review "aren't pretty."

The report covered 11 major cruise lines and 113 ships and evaluated the lines on sewage treatment, air pollution reduction, water quality compliance and accessibility of environmental information.

"For the second year in a row, we've found that cruise lines are doing less than they can to limit the environmental impacts of their ships," Marcie Keever, director of Friends of the Earth's Clean Vessels campaign said in a statement.

Crystal Cruises, which did not appear in last years report, ranked the lowest with an F, due to the absence of advanced sewage treatment systems on their ships and the inability to utilize shoreside power via plug-ins at equipped ports.

Norwegian and Holland America both topped the rankings with a B-, a step down for Holland America, which scored a solid B in the 2009 rankings.

Disney Cruise Line was awarded a C-, garnering the title of "Most Improved". Last year, Disney sat in last place with an F ranking, but this year was applauded for its recent installation of advanced sewage treatment systems.

The report has its critics. The Cruise Lines International Association released a statement calling the Friends of the Earth "a campaign fundraising group" and that the criteria for the survey were "arbitrary and flawed." The statement continues on to say that its members "meet and exceed" environmental standards, accusing the group of misstating facts "to advance its own agenda."

Keever told USA Today on May 20th that her group tried to involve CLIA, as well as the individual lines, in the study, but only Disney and Holland America responded.

"We understand that cruise ships and cruise vacations aren't going anywhere and it can be a reasonably priced vacation especially for families, and you can choose all sorts of things to do on your cruise," Keener told USA Today. "But for people concerned about the environment this (report) gives people an opportunity to make a choice about what ship or line they can take. You can't assume all ships are fine."

To see the full rankings and their explanations, visit Friends of the Earth's website.
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