Addressing climate change head on

We are still in

The health of our planet is dependent upon the health of our oceans. Climate change continues to wreak havoc on ocean habitats. Moving the needle on climate change can’t be done by one company alone. In 2017, we took a step to drive collective action on climate change by joining We Are Still In, a coalition of companies, cities, states and universities who reaffirmed their commitment to uphold the 2016 Paris Agreement. By working together, and through encouraging and mentoring industry peers, we look forward to setting, achieving and surpassing our emissions reduction targets and putting our oceans and our planet in a position to thrive for years to come.

Seastainability at RCL

Cruise ships are cleaner than ever before and improving with each new class of ships. At Royal Caribbean, reducing energy consumption and emission of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants is a critical part of our environmental stewardship strategy. Our approach includes initiatives in both the marine and hotel operations of our business.

Marine initiatives include innovative programs

such as advanced emissions purification systems, which remove approximately 98% of sulfur dioxide emissions, air lubrication systems; and, soon, the use of liquid natural gas.

Hotel energy reduction initiatives include

programs such as the use of energy-efficient equipment in galleys, replacement of incandescent bulbs with fluorescent and LED lighting, and the introduction of fuel cells.

Our 2020 target with World Wildlife Fund was to reduce our emissions by 35%. We surpassed that goal in 2018 when we achieved a 37% reduction.

Seastainability on our ships

Click on each hot spot to see how RCL is improving its ships.

Blankets of bubbles
decrease friction between hull and water to offer net
fuel savings
up to 4%.
70% of ships
are outfitted with
Advanced Emissions Purification Systems.
Over 25 years ago we committed to
Save the Waves,
a company-wide philosophy anchored in our drive for continuous improvement that embodies our sustainability efforts.

Goals based on science

One of the main contributors to our carbon footprint is propulsion. It’s about 60 percent of the energy we consume. Guided by our partner World Wildlife Fund (WWF) we set our 2020 goal to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent and this year achieved a 37 percent reduction.

But before we could set that target, we had to do something never before done in the cruise industry – establish a public methodology for reducing emissions. The method measures the number of guests and the distance we carry them to calculate carbon emissions, rather than the number of guest and days sailed as was traditionally done.

Reducing our carbon footprint is embedded in our operations, from small tasks like swapping incandescent bulbs with LED ones to complex ones like our Advanced Emission Purification Systems, we continue to explore traditional and creative ways to reduce our operational needs.

Designing for a more efficient future

Cruise ships may come with a long operating life, but to achieve that there are years of intense brainstorming, design, and construction by a small army of people. This extended lifespan presents both a challenge and an opportunity for us. The problem is retrofitting for innovations developed after a ship is in operation. The opportunity is offering our team the ability to look far into the future. Our next class of ships, set to debut in 2020, will be primarily powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fuel cells. As the technology becomes smaller and more efficient, the possibility increases of using fuel cells in a significant way to power the ship’s hotel functions, increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions.

Emissions abatement technology

In addition to focusing on energy reduction and efficiencies, we believe that it is essential to evaluate and invest in alternative abatement technologies for fossil fuel exhaust emission. Since 2014 we have invested in Advanced Emission Purifications (AEP) systems across our fleet. These systems help us improve air quality. Their multi-stream exhaust gas cleaning systems are designed to treat exhaust gases created by the ship’s generators. They spray exhaust with a fine water mist within the ships funnel/stacks. As the water mist combines with the sulfur dioxide in the exhaust, it causes a chemical reaction and removes the sulfur while producing a clean white plume. Currently 70 percent of RCL ships are outfitted with AEP systems — all of which are closed-loop systems.

As a result, AEPs remove approximately 98% of sulfur dioxides, 40-60% of total particulate matter and up to 12% of nitrogen oxides.