Top Green Cruise Lines

At first glance, cruise lines might not seem like the most environmentally conscious business in the world. It’s true, cruise lines use a LOT of fossil fuels, and there probably isn’t a way around that. After all, cruise ships are huge, and it takes a lot of fuel to keep vessels like that moving. The good news is that most major cruise lines are aware of their environmental impact, and they’re making pretty substantial strides to improve that footprint. Here are some of the top “green” cruise lines on the planet.


Carnival really sets the bar in terms of recycling. It offloads most of the materials used on board (glass, plastic, aluminum, cooking oil, motor oil, etc.) for recycling or incineration. Some of this processing takes place on board, as well. On a larger level, when the ships are in port they turn off their engines and use electricity from the docks. All of the employees on board a Carnival Cruise ship undergo extensive training regarding waste management, and each ship employs an environmental officer.

Costa Cruises

Costa is a European entity, and it manages the Sustainable Cruise project, whose goal is to recycle or reuse waste on cruise ships. The project has invested in state-of-the-art equipment to handle every bit of the waste generated on board ships, from solid waste to glass and batteries. Costa ships also compost any food waste their ships generate. Costa also has dedicated environmental officers on board, as well as highly trained and conscious crew members.

Crystal Cruises

Crystal ships sort and incinerate some materials on board, and anything that can’t be processed on the ship is offloaded on shore where it’s recycled or disposed of appropriately. The business model helps, too, as many of the supplies are purchased in bulk to minimize the waste that comes with the packaging. The showers in cabins have low-flow fixtures and energy-efficient lighting. All crew members receive environmental training and can join additional learning programs.

Cunard Line

Waste is compacted on board Cunard Line ships and incinerated. In fact, the incinerator on board the Queen Mary 2 is four decks high!  Crew members receive extensive training, and even the passengers are put through a recycling and waste management tutorial.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney ships recycle 100 percent of the cooking oil it generates on board, and many of that is used to create biodiesel fuel. Disney also employs efforts to reduce energy and water usage on board its ships. As with the other cruise lines discussed, Disney ships employ environmental officers, and the crews undergo extensive training.