Before sailings resume, the cruise industry must regain the public’s trust. Here’s how.

Cruise ships must stop polluting our air and the climate, quit dumping waste into the oceans, and prioritize the health of crewmembers, passengers, and port communities.

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Activists protest Carnival Corporation’s pollution impacts at the company’s Holland America cruise terminal in September 2018 in Seattle, Washington, with a floating polar bear sculpture and sign that reads “Carnival’s pollution: Bad news for polar bears.” Credit: Bernhard Uhl for

Now, a growing chorus of people, from residents living in port communities to former cruise workers and environmental advocates, are leading the charge to ensure cruise companies change their reckless behavior, once and for all.

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Exhaust from Carnival Cruise Line’s cruise ship the Carnival Legend is seen billowing into the air in May 2017 at the cruise terminal dock in Seattle, Washington. Cruise ships have long relied on ultra-dirty heavy fuel oil to support the massive energy demands required to power these floating cities. Credit:

Profits over people and the environment

Despite traveling to some of the most sensitive ecosystems in the world, cruise ships also have long operated with utter disregard for the people and places they visit.

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Wanda Culp of the Huna Tlingit tribe in Alaska speaks at a press conference in February 2020 outside the National Park Service regional office in Anchorage, Alaska. Activists delivered a petition signed by 46,000 people asking the National Park Service to suspend cruise ship permits in Glacier Bay National Park — the ancestral lands of the Huna Tlingit — after Carnival Corporation’s Holland America cruise line was caught illegally dumping there in 2018. Credit:

Transformational change

If it wants to exist in our post-pandemic world, the cruise industry must undergo transformational change.

We challenge corporations and governments to treat people and the environment with respect, because our lives depend on it.

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