• Crystal Cruises is dedicated to preserving the marine environment and oceans upon which our ships sail. The environmental standards that apply to our industry are stringent and comprehensive. Through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United States and other maritime nations have developed consistent and uniform international standards that apply to all vessels engaged in international commerce. These standards include: The International Convention for the Safety and Life at Sea (SOLAS), the International Marine Pollution Convention (MARPOL) and the International Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). We are also obliged to follow all applicable laws and regulations in each country our ships visit. This especially applies to handling of garbage and hazardous wastes that are landed ashore for disposal. In addition, Crystal Cruises is a member of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which has established its own guidelines that exceed the international IMO requirements which members have agreed to follow.
  • Sewage, or "blackwater" as we refer to it aboard ships, flows to a collection tank and is then pumped into Marine Sanitation Devices (MSD) where it is treated. The Marine Sanitation Devices are certified in accordance with U.S. regulations. This biological sewage treatment system is very similar in operation to the municipal wastewater treatment plants in many U.S. cities. 

    The waste is processed in the MSD to reduce the solids and disinfect the effluent. This treated blackwater is either retained in storage tanks for disposal ashore or discharged overboard according to the very strict guidelines below. 

    In terms of discharge, Crystal strives to exceed environmental regulations. The municipal wastewater treatment plants of many cities discharge into coastal waters. By national and international regulations, ships cannot discharge treated effluent within three miles of the coast. The cruise industry's standard is to not discharge within four miles from shore. Crystal Cruises, however, has adopted a policy that we will not discharge less than 12 miles from shore. Crystal applies the same 12-mile discharge policy to graywater, which is water collected separately from sinks, showers, tubs and similar sources.
  • Ballast Water 

    Ballast water is seawater that has been taken on by the ships to maintain proper stability, and is stored in ballast tanks. Crystal Cruises observes local, national and international regulations regarding the reporting and discharge of ballast water. Appropriate exchange of ballast water is conducted on the high seas more than 200 miles from land when necessary to prevent organisms and bacteria from traveling from beyond their native range and harming local marine ecosystems. 

    Bilge and Oily Water Residue 

    Following guidelines set forth by international regulation, Crystal Cruises has installed sophisticated oil-water separation equipment to comply with the discharge requirements for bilge water both in port and at sea. Bilge and oily water is retained and processed by the oily water separator to remove any oil. The oily waste is retained and discharged to a reception facility ashore for proper disposal. Automated monitoring of the oil/water separators and supporting equipment ensures that the processed bilge water discharged has less than 15 parts per million of oil, the maximum allowed in the water discharged at sea. Crystal's policy is to not discharge the processed bilge water less than 12 miles from land. The ships' crews are trained on the proper response and handling of deck and water spills of fuel, lube oil and oily wastes. 

    Solid Waste Management 

    Crystal Cruises maintains a strict policy of "Nothing Overboard" and recognizes the importance of having strategies in place to reduce and manage onboard waste. Onshore recycling with approved vendors of all non-biodegradable substances such as glass, aluminum, steel cans and plastics is used whenever possible. In addition, Crystal ensures that hazardous materials are disposed of by reputable onshore disposal companies. Solid waste such as food products and cardboard is burned onboard to the extent possible by incineration. Food waste that cannot be incinerated is discharged shoreside.
  • Hazardous waste includes photo processing and x-ray fluids, dry cleaning residue, print shop chemicals, and paints, solvents and thinner wastes. This material is disposed of ashore in accordance with national and international laws and regulations. Extensive care and training have also been implemented to eliminate the disposal of chemical wastes in wastewater streams.
  • Among other practices, Crystal has reduced the use of plastics, increased recycling and improved fuel consumption efficiency. On board our ships, guests are also invited to participate by re-using towels. Environmentally-friendly Aveda bath amenities were introduced in 2003. Additionally, Crystal Cruises uses dry cleaning machines that recycle dry cleaning solvents and minimize hazardous waste. Photo waste is processed on board to remove silver before being landed ashore for proper disposal. In its Los Angeles headquarters, Crystal has also encouraged employees to dispose of waste appropriately in recycle bins and to turn off lights when office areas are not in use.
  • In 2003/2004, a major program was initiated in which fabric laundry, dry cleaning and shoe-shine bags replaced the previously used plastic bags. Paper cups replaced the use of styrofoam cups, wood lint brushes replaced disposable plastic lint removers, and stainless steel ice buckets replaced the previously used plastic buckets. In 2008, Crystal introduced EcoHangers into its laundry presentation on both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. EcoHangers are a 100% recyclable, environmentally sound alternative to the nearly nine billion wire and plastic hangers that fill America’s landfills each year. Crystal also utilizes washable garment bags for laundry distribution, eliminating the use of more than 100,000 plastic bags on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity per year.
  • To protect air quality, Crystal Cruises has taken action to minimize smoke emissions. We do not operate incinerators in port and have increased efforts to avoid rapid changes in loads on engines and to operate engines at efficient load levels. Oil burning equipment is closely maintained to maximize efficiency and minimize emissions. In addition, we have installed smoke opacity meters so that the ships' engineers can monitor and adjust stack emissions. Fuels with lower sulfur content are used in areas of the world such as the Baltic, North Sea, English Channel, Canada, Alaska and California where regulations or local conditions call for reduced emissions.
  • Crystal Cruises has implemented bi-monthly self inspections on each ship to measure compliance with Crystal Cruises' Safety Management System and environmental aspects of the ships' operation. Annual audits and inspections of each ship are performed by Crystal's shoreside management personnel. The U.S Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Services, classification societies, and flag states also conduct mandatory inspections. To further monitor safety and environmental concerns, Crystal Cruises utilizes external auditors for systems and vessel inspections.
  • From its "Welcome Aboard" videos to its onboard signage to its onboard daily publication, "Reflections," Crystal Cruises is continually encouraging its guests to help keep the environment "Crystal Clean" by not throwing anything overboard and by not littering ashore. At least twice a year, the line's shoreside employees participate in Los Angeles area public environmental activities such as tree planting. Through its CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) membership, Crystal Cruises supports the environmental efforts of Conservation International.
  • As our primary concern is for the safety and well being of our guests, Crystal Cruises follows the guidelines established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the early 1970's, the CDC established the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP). Today the program annually incorporates two unannounced inspections in U.S. ports. Every vessel that has a foreign itinerary, carries 13 or more passengers and calls on a U.S. port is subject to the inspection. 

    To ensure a clean and healthful environment, cruise ships must meet the criteria established by the CDC. This inspection focuses on the ship's water supply, spas and pools, food storage, preparation and service, practices and personal hygiene of employees, cleanliness and physical condition of the ship, and the training programs in general environmental and public health practices. At the end of the inspection each ship is given a score based on a 100-point scale. A passing score is 86 or higher. Failure to obtain a satisfactory score indicates a ship has not attained generally accepted standards of sanitation; it does not necessarily imply an imminent risk of an outbreak. 

    By maintaining a stringent sanitation program and overall company dedication, for more than 10 years Crystal Cruises has maintained an average score of 95. Crystal Symphony has scored two perfect 100's. Crystal Serenity received a perfect score of 100 as well. 

    We continue to strive for excellence in all areas of public health and sanitation by establishing ongoing senior officer and crew training, providing shoreside support, and utilizing the CDC for guidance in new construction of our ships.
  • "Crystal Clean" is Crystal Cruises' program of environmentally-friendly initiatives. We spread the "Crystal Clean" message in staterooms and in public areas. At the beginning of every cruise, we print a "Crystal Clean" article in our onboard publication, Reflections, along with our environmental policy. At the same time, we air a video on embarkation day reiterating this message. Various "frequently asked questions and answers" about our practices are also printed in Reflections several times during a cruise. "Crystal Clean" signage is posted on deck and a card regarding conserving energy is posted in every stateroom and suite.
  • The machines used on board to process and produce photos produce liquid waste that is collected. That waste is then treated on board to remove silver, the only heavy metal or waste in the liquid. Once the silver is removed the waste is certified to be non-hazardous and can be disposed of with normal waste in most ports. 
  • Crystal has a unique relationship with a company, Clean The World. Clean The World sanitizes and processes the amenities and then redistributes them to the needy in a world-wide relief program. Although there is a fee for this, Crystal feels that the contribution to the needy and the recycling are worth the effort. Currently, Crystal is the ONLY cruise line involved in this excellent recycling and charitable program!
  • To contact Crystal with your environmental question, send an email to: