Carnival's Princess unit to pay record $40 mln for dumping oil, US says

WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Carnival Corp's Princess Cruise Lines will plead guilty to seven felony charges of polluting the seas and trying to cover it up, and pay a record $40 million criminal penalty, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

The charges against Carnival's Santa Clarita, California-based unit stem from "illegal dumping of oil contaminated waste from the Caribbean Princess cruise ship" tied to stops at ports in nine U.S. states and two territories, the department said in a statement.

The Caribbean Princess had been making illegal discharges since 2005 using bypass equipment - including a so-called "magic pipe" - to circumvent pollution-prevention equipment that separates oil and monitors oil levels in the ship's water, the department said.

U.S. investigators began to probe the ship's actions after a whistle-blower engineer reported an illegal dump off the coast of England in August 2013. Two other top ship engineers then ordered a cover-up, called on subordinates to lie and sought to remove the pipe.

"This is a company that knew better and should have done better," Assistant Attorney General John Cruden said in the statement. "Hopefully the outcome of this case has the potential not just to chart a new course for this company, but for other companies as well."

The ports linked to the charges were in Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, the department said.

Related: If you want an alternative to Carnival, check out some fancy cruise line options

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Most luxurious cruise lines

Silversea Cruises: Silver Cloud

This is the ship that Team USA basketball is renting out for Rio 2016. It is has a card room, spa, casino, beauty salon, fitness centre, cigar and cognac corner and a panorama lounge.

Photo: Silver Cloud

Silversea Cruises: Silver Cloud

This is the ship that Team USA basketball is renting out for Rio 2016. It is has a card room, spa, casino, beauty salon, fitness centre, cigar and cognac corner and a panorama lounge.

Photo: Silver Cloud

Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Explorer

There are four cruise ships in Regent Seven Sea’s fleet and each is more glamorous than the next. Billed as the most luxurious ever, the Seven Seas Explorer had its maiden voyage on July 20th, 2016. The Regent Suite is 3,026 square feet and includes a 1,417 square foot wrap around balcony, in-suite spa, personal butler and more. But it won’t come cheap. A 10 night cruise this September around the Mediterranean costs $46,199 per person.

Photo: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Cunard: Queen Mary 2

Travel + Leisure recently named the Queen Mary 2 the World’s best mega-ship cruise line. The 2,592-passenger ship contains the world’s only planetarium at sea. 

The Queens Grill is the largest suite you can stay in aboard the ship. It comes with a personal butler, exclusive lounge access and restaurant. Seven nights aboard the Queen Mary 2 in September in the Mediterranean is $4,498 per person for a Queens Suite, the smallest of the Queens Grill suites.

Photo: Getty

Cunard: Queen Mary 2

Travel + Leisure recently named the Queen Mary 2 the World’s best mega-ship cruise line. The 2,592-passenger ship contains the world’s only planetarium at sea. 

Photo: Getty

Cunard: Queen Mary 2

The ship underwent a $100 million renovation of the ship and showed off the results in July 2016.

Photo: Getty

Cunard: Queen Mary 2

Travel + Leisure recently named the Queen Mary 2 the World’s best mega-ship cruise line. The 2,592-passenger ship contains the world’s only planetarium at sea. 

Photo: Getty

Seabourn Cruise Line: Soujourn

Photo: Getty

Seabourn Cruise Line

Voted Conde Nast’s No. 1 small ship cruise line, the Seabourn is a luxurious three-yacht fleet (with two more to come!). The Seabourn Quest has received the most accolades. It caps at 450 passengers and treats its passengers to crystal chandeliers, luxury brand soaps, a marina with sailing, kayaking and banana boating right from the ship, and more.

Photo: Seabourn Cruise Line

Seabourn Cruise Line

You can stay in this Penthouse Spa Suite aboard the Seabourn Sojourn for a 110-day trip exploring the Americas, Africa and Asia starting January 2017. This particular suite is 538 square feet and costs $102,499 per person.

Photo: Seabourn Cruise Line

Seabourn Cruise Line: Soujourn

Photo: Getty

Seabourn Cruise Line: Soujourn

Photo: Getty

Seabourn Cruise Line: Soujourn

Photo: Getty

Seabourn Cruise Line: Soujourn

Photo: Getty

Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises is consistently ranked first in luxury cruise lines, including by U.S. News and World Report. There is the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.

Photo: Getty

Crystal Cruises: Crystal Serenity 

A 11 day trip around the Mediterranean goes up to $28,615 for a Crystal Penthouse with Verandah, which is 982 square feet.

Photo: Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises: Crystal Serenity 

The Crystal Serenity consistently ranks first in the Conde Nast Traveler Reader's Choice 'Midsize Cruise Line.' And it is no wonder with its filmmaking classes from University of South California's School of Cinematic Arts and clinics from golf pros on the ship's driving range.

Photo: Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises: Crystal Serenity 

A 11 day trip around the Mediterranean goes up to $28,615 for a Crystal Penthouse with Verandah, which is 982 square feet.

Photo: Crystal Cruises

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