SAN FRANCISCO—An annual report card <>  grading cruise lines on their environmental impacts was released last week by Friends of the Earth, and the results aren’t pretty.

Many cruise ships continue to generate far more air and water pollution than is necessary, Friends of the Earth found, endangering the very places that many vacationers take cruise ships to see.

“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,” said Marcie Keever, Clean Vessels Campaign director at Friends of the Earth. “From ending the use of dirty fuel that pollutes the air to stopping the disgusting practice of dumping sewage and other waste into the sea, it’s time for the cruise industry to clean up its act. The unfortunate reality is that, at present, many cruises harm marine ecosystems and the health of people who live near ports of call.”

This year’s “Cruise Ship Environmental Report Card” is the second one released by Friends of the Earth; the first was issued in 2009. Disney was the most improved cruise line, due largely to the recent installation of advanced wastewater treatment systems on its cruise ships. Princess lost ground because of its numerous recent violations of Alaska’s strong water pollution laws.  Crystal Cruises, a newly graded line for 2010, received an “F” due to poor air and water practices.

“Each of these cruise lines has the power to improve its grade by adopting cleaner practices,” Keever said. “In the meantime, if vacationers want to travel on the cleanest cruise lines and ships, they can consult our report card to help make their decisions.”

All cruise lines’ and ships’ grades, along with information about the grading methodology and what can be done to make cruise lines better environmental stewards, can be found at

Members of the public who wish to see stronger limits placed on cruise ships that are allowed to dump near our coasts can also urge their representatives in Congress to support the Clean Cruise Ship Act (H.R. 3888/S. 1820).