Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

Royal Caribbean successfully tests new biofuel to help power its cruise ship

19 Sep 2023

Cruise ship sustainability has moved a step forward with a successful test of a new kind of fuel.

Royal Caribbean reported it tested a new biofuel alternative on a cruise ship this week that is part of the company's overall environmental strategy.

Symphony of the Seas became the first in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend in Barcelona to reduce the ship's carbon emissions.

Becoming a sustainable company has been an established goal, and a new type of fuel is part of the plan to get to that point. By introducing methods that reduce emissions today, Royal Caribbean Group is ultimately advancing the decarbonization of its operations.

Symphony of the Seas docked

Today, in Barcelona, Symphony of the Seas became the first ship in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend in Barcelona to meet part of her fuel needs.

Royal Caribbean confirmed onboard technical systems met operational standards, without quality or safety concerns, demonstrating the biofuel blend is a reliable "drop in" supply of lower emission energy that ships can use to set sail across Europe and beyond. The tests across Europe also provided valuable data to understand the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region.

Navigator of the Seas water slides aerial

Last fall, Navigator of the Seas tested out biofuel when she sailed from Los Angeles, California and became the first a cruise ship to sail from a U.S. port while using renewable diesel fuel.

The test on Navigator was conducted on a three-night cruise to Ensenada, Mexico in October 2022 with one engine powered by 30 tons of biodiesel.  

The test lasted three months.

What is biofuel?

Biofuel factory

The sustainable biofuel blends tested were produced by purifying renewable raw materials like waste oils and fats and combining them with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable. 

The biofuel blends tested are accredited by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), a globally recognized organization that ensures sustainability of biofuels and verifies reductions of related emissions.

Symphony of the Seas sailing away

Biofuel greatly reduces carbon emissions compared to the burning of the fossil fuels used in marine gas oil. It's processed through an oil refinery and is molecularly identical to diesel. 

Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty credits the advancement as an important milestone, "Following our successful trial of biofuels this summer, we are one step closer to bringing our vision for net-zero cruising to life. As we strive to protect and promote the vibrant oceans we sail, we are determined to accelerate innovation and improve how we deliver vacation experiences responsibly."

What's the next step?

Celebrity Apex in Greece

With Symphony of the Seas departing from the Port of Barcelona and Celebrity Apex departing from the Port of Rotterdam, both ships accomplished multiple sailings using biofuel and contributed critical data on the fuel's capabilities. 

More tests are planned for this fall when they use different types of biofuels on upcoming European sailings.

Biofuel factory

In a statement, Royal Caribbean Group said it plans to continue to use alternative lower carbon fuel as part of its overall plan.

In addition to biofuels, Royal Caribbean Group is building ships that can leverage liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to reduce emissions.

LNG tanks

Commonly referred to as a transition fuel, LNG results in 95% fewer particulate matter emissions, nearly eliminates sulfur emissions and reduces nitrogen emissions by 85%, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20%.

LNG isn't the ultimate solution, but a step in the journey.

Sustainable by 2050

Destination Net Zero

Royal Caribbean Group calls its overarching sustainability goals "Destination Net Zero", and biofuels are one way it intends to get there. 

Announced in 2021, there are two simple goals:

  • Delivery of a net zero emissions cruise ship
  • A path to net zero emissions by 2050

Destination Net Zero's four-pronged approach includes:

  1. Modernization of the cruise company's global brands fleet through the introduction of 13 new energy-efficient and alternatively fueled vessels.
  2. Continued investment in energy efficiency programs for its fleet, including energy saving technologies, enhanced data systems and digitalization.
  3. Development of alternative fuel and alternative power solutions.
  4. Optimized deployment and integration of strategic shore-based supply chains.

Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ships will convert waste to energy

11 Jul 2023

Royal Caribbean wants to change how leftover food and other human biproducts are used so they can power the cruise ships of tomorrow.

Icon of the Seas construction overhead

Through a new set of technology, Royal Caribbean Group announced new initiates that include waste-to-energy systems, food waste applications and an expanded network of green hubs.

The three new initiatives are aimed at ensuring the company continues to decrease its environmental footprint.

Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO, Jason Liberty, celebrated the new initiatives, "Pioneering the first waste to energy system on a cruise ship builds on our track-record of waste management and furthers our commitment to remove waste from local landfills and deliver great vacation experiences, responsibly."

A new way to power cruise ships

New Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Two new cruise ships will employ the cruise industry's first systems to turn solid waste directly into energy onboard.

Two systems will debut on on Royal Caribbean International’s Icon of the Seas and Silversea Cruises' Silver Nova.


Microwave-Assisted Pyrolysis (MAP) and Micro Auto Gasification (MAG) will take waste on board and convert it into synthesis gas (syngas) that the ship can directly use as energy. 

An additional bioproduct of the system, biochar, can also be used as a soil nutrient.

Combatting food waste

Galey tour

Royal Caribbean Group also announced it will reduce food waste across the fleet by 50% by 2025.

It plans to do so through five pillars of initiatives:

  • Developing a proprietary platform to monitor food supply and accurately estimate how much food should be produced, prepped and ordered on a given day.
  • Using artificial intelligence (AI) to adjust food production in real time.
  • Introducing a dedicated onboard food waste role to monitor and train crew members.
  • Tracking guest demand for specific menu items and adjusting menu preparation and ordering accordingly.
  • Introducing a food waste awareness campaign in the crew dining areas fleet wide. 

The war on waste has already begun, as Royal Caribbean Group reports already it has been able to achieve a 24% reduction in food waste by focusing on the front end of the food system, which prevents and addresses many of the main causes of food waste, including inventory management and over-preparing.

Green Hubs

Silver Nova

Another focal point of today's announcement is to strengthen responsible waste management practices.

Royal Caribbean Group announced "Green Hubs", which are a capacity-building program to identify waste vendors in strategic destinations that has helped divert 92% of its waste from landfills.

Now joining the Green Hub program is the Galapagos Islands, where Silversea became the first operator to gain certification in environmental management by diverting all waste from landfill. 

Royal Caribbean Group outlines sustainability progress

20 Apr 2023

Royal Caribbean Group is committed to delivering unforgettable vacations responsibly, and 2022 marked a milestone moment in the company's advancement of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts. 

Ship sailing

On April 20, Royal Caribbean Group released their 15th annual Seastainability Report, which provides an in-depth update on the the company's corporate responsibility strategy and performance across their three fully owned brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises. 

“As we advance on our sustainability journey, our strategic priorities remain rooted in creating business value and uplifting our employees, guests and the communities we visit,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group.

“Through collaboration and innovation, we continue to make great strides on our commitment of delivering great vacation experiences responsibly.”  

Highlights from the report


The annual report summarizes the targets and strategies used by Royal Caribbean Group to work towards their progress of reducing emissions, promoting the safety and wellbeing of its guests and employees, including its commitments to sustainable tourism, protecting the oceans it sails, and inspiring and empowering the communities it visits. 

New short-term target for the reduction of carbon intensity

To aid in Royal Caribbean Group's goal of Destination New Zero, or the company's vision for zero net emissions by 2025, they set a short-term target to reduce their carbon intensity by double digits by 2025 compared to 2019. 

Related: Royal Caribbean Group announces pledge to get to net zero emissions by 2050


New partnership

They signed a new partnership agreement with the Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping in Copenhagen, Denmark to help develop zero carbon technologies and solutions for the maritime industry. 

Diesel pilot

The first renewable diesel pilot in the United States was completed on Navigator of the Seas. 

New Galveston terminal

New net-zero cruise terminal

The world's first-ever net-zero cruise terminal was opened in Galveston, Texas. This extends Royal Caribbean Group's efforts from their ships to their shoreside operations, too.

The $125 million, 161,334-square-foot terminal can accommodate up to 630,000 guests per year!

RelatedWhat you should know about cruising from Galveston instead of Florida

New diversity council

They created a new Executive Diversity Council to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. This was completed one year ahead of schedule!  

Navigator of the Seas Renewable Diesel

Gender pay equity

Royal Caribbean Group confirmed the United States shoreside gender pay equity analysis, which shows that 99.98% of women employees are equally compensated compared to their male employees. 

New kickstarter program

They launched the Royal Caribbean Kickstarter Program to support tourism related  entrepreneurs in The Bahamas through trainings and seed-funding. 

Family on Alaska tour

Increased number of sustainable tours

Royal Caribbean Group now offers more than 3,500 sustainable tours certified by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) around the world. 

Food sourcing

The company is on track to meet their goal of sourcing 90% of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified wild-caught seafood and 75% Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified farm-raised seafood.

Their 2022 progress revealed that 83% of their wild-caught seafood was MSC certified, while 75% of their farm-raised seafood was ASC certified. 


World Wildlife Fund

In 2022, Royal Caribbean Group renewed their partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and committed an additional $5 million to preserve ocean health. This partnership originally began in 2016. 

What are the goals of their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts?

Royal Caribbean Group logo

The twenty-two goals are broken up into eleven different categories and have a status of "early stages," "on track," or "complete." 

Emissions reduction

  • Achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050: early stages
  • Reduce carbon intensity by double digits from 2019 numbers by 2025: on track
  • Net-zero cruise ship by 2035: early stages

Water and wastewater management

  • Increase or maintain 90% potable water production, as well as reduce the potable water bunkering in vulnerable areas by 2025: on track
  • 100% of fleet equipped with Advanced Wastewater Purification systems by 2025: on track
  • 100% of fleet equipped with IMO and USCG Certified Systems for ballast water by 2025: on track 
Aft view sunset

Waste management

  • Reduced the solid waste offloaded to landfill by 90% compared to the 2007 baseline: completed ahead of schedule 

Circular economy

  • Reduce 100% of single-use plastic by 2025: on track

Sustainable sourcing 

  • 100% cage-free eggs for global operations by 2025: on track
  • 100% of chicken for U.S. ship operations from Global Animal Partnership Certified suppliers by 2025: on track 
  • 100% gestation-crate-free pork for global operations by 2025: on track
  • 90% Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified wild-caught seafood and 75% Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified farm-raised seafood by 2025: on track
  • Obtain MSC and ASC chain of custody certification for all ships by 2023: on track 
Food in main dining room

Destination stewardship and community development

  • Advance destination stewardship and community development through partnerships, initiatives, and responsible practices by 2025: early stages

Responsible tourism

  • 60% certification of RCG global tours to GSTC standards by 2026: on track
  • Through the implementation of "Blue Green Promise," support sustainable and resilient ocean communities, employee engagement, and volunteering by 2024: early stages
Crew members in port

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

  • Formed an Executive Diversity Council that is chaired by the CEO in 2022: complete ahead of schedule
  • Annually review gender pay equity for all global employees by 2024: on track
  • Implement program to create an inclusive and diverse supply chain by 2024: early stages

Human rights

  • Publish updated human rights policy and conduct human rights impact assessments by 2025: on track 

Enterprise risk management

  • Integrate ESG risks into enterprise risk management system by 2023: early stages 
Royal Caribbean logo on the side of the ship


  • Increase auditability of ESG data and improve climate-related disclosure by 2026: on track

Awards and recognition

Celebrity Silhouette

The report also outlines various awards and recognition that Royal Caribbean Group received.  

First, they were named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the eighth year in a row by the Ethisphere Institute. 

They were also recognized on the 2022 Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion list by Disability:In, as well as the American Association of People with Disabilities. 

Third, the company ranked #11 in Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America by Healthiest Employers, and, finally, they were awarded one of the 2022 Best Places to Work by Glassdoor. 

Royal Caribbean updates: first ship uses renewable fuel, Galveston & more

28 Oct 2022

While Icon of the Seas may have dominated the cruise news cycle over the last week, there's other Royal Caribbean news you should know about!

Navigator of the Seas year-round home in Los Angeles, California

Given how large a company Royal Caribbean is, there's plenty of moving parts and we wanted to make sure you were up to date with all of this week's remaining Royal Caribbean news.

If you ever have a news tip, feel free to email it to [email protected] for possible inclusion in a future update!

First U.S. cruise ship begins using renewable diesel fuel

Navigator of the Seas Renewable Diesel

Navigator of the Seas is the first major cruise line in the United States to use a renewable diesel fuel.

Not only is Navigator the first ship, but Royal Caribbean Group is now the first major cruise line operator to sail a cruise ship from a U.S. port with this new kind of fuel.

The renewable fuel being used by Navigator of the Seas contains less carbon than traditional marine fuels. While this fuel is produced from renewable raw materials, the production process for this fuel makes it molecularly identical to traditional marine gas oil — creating a "drop in" fuel that can be safely used with the ship's existing engines.

Navigator of the Seas in Los Angeles

Royal Caribbean will continue using lower carbon fuel to meet part of the Los Angeles-based ship's fuel needs as it evaluates the feasibility for long-term use. The cruise line's goal is to expand its usage to other ships across the fleet. 

For the trial, Royal Caribbean Group has partnered with World Fuel Services to supply the renewable fuel to Navigator of the Seas. The Jankovich Company will deliver the fuel on behalf of World Fuel Services to the ship while at the Port of Los Angeles. Once fueled, Navigator of the Seas will set sail to Mexico.

In addition to testing the use of biofuel aboard Navigator of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Group is set to debut the cruise industry's first hybrid-powered ship in summer 2023, as part of Silversea Cruises newest class of ships, the Nova class.

Miami headquarters rendering

Royal Caribbean Group is also working to reduce emissions while at port by investing in shore power on its ships and collaborating with key cruise ports for its use.

This is in addition to a previously announced deal to bring shore power to PortMiami and a new zero-energy cruise terminal in the Port of Galveston, Texas.

Royal Caribbean Group schedules third quarter business update

Royal Caribbean Group logo

Royal Caribbean Group announced it has scheduled a conference call with investors to discuss its third quarter results and provide a business update.

The call is scheduled for 10am Eastern Time on Thursday, November 3, 2022.

The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations website,

Local artist partners with new Royal Caribbean cruise terminal

Photo by Abe Hughes

When Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal in Galveston opens next month, you'll see art sourced from local artists.

Royal Caribbean wants to celebrate local art and culture, so they teamed up with Houston-based Piper Faust Public Art to assemble a slate of Texas artists to consider for this unique opportunity. They picked a design concept by the husband-and-wife team of Brad Oldham and Christy Coltrin of Brad Oldham Sculpture.

The Galveston Beach Trio sculpture, which is forged in stainless steel and lost-wax bronze, will welcome guests at the cruise line's new terminal facility.

The larger-than-life sculpture depicts a musical trio inspired by the rich musical heritage of the historic port city. Galveston has been home to musicians like Grammy Award-winning bass-baritone singer and songwriter Barry White, as well as local artists like Joyce Fields, who played piano for nearly 20 years at Sunday brunch at the historic Hotel Galvez, and Joe Pena, the guitarist known as the Granddaddy of Galveston Rock and Roll.

Joshua Carroll, vice president of Destination Development at Royal Caribbean Group, talked about this new deal, "Our passion lies in sharing the world's incredible destinations with our guests, allowing them to experience cultures from around the world, including the places from which their travels begin."

"Showcasing the history and culture of Galveston was our top priority in establishing this art installation in our new terminal, and we're thrilled to partner with Brad Oldham Sculpture to bring this vision to life."

Royal Caribbean's new terminal opens on November 9, 2022.

Royal Caribbean Group releases 2021 sustainability report

13 May 2022

Royal Caribbean Group released on Friday its sustainability report for the year 2021.

This is the 14th annual sustainability report that Royal Caribbean has released to the public, and it outlines the environmental policies across the company.

This report provides a comprehensive update on Royal Caribbean’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) actions and activities across all of the company’s brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises.

This year for 2021, Royal Caribbean Group reworked their ESG report to even more reflect the company’s efforts towards creating more sustainable cruising within the industry. The report focuses on five areas in which Royal Caribbean Group is working towards sustainability specifically. These five areas include: champion communities and the environment; provide unforgettable cruise experiences; foster human rights and be an employer of choice; advance net zero innovation; and govern responsibly. 

Ocean water at Lelepa

Jason Liberty, the CEO of Royal Caribbean Group said the following, “all of us at Royal Caribbean Group are focused on delivering the best vacations possible and doing so responsibly. This reflects our commitment to continuous innovation and building a sustainable cruise industry while growing our business for good.”

The debut of the 2021 sustainability report comes on the heels of Royal Caribbean Group announcing that they have committed to an additional five-year partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF). 

“Much of what the Royal Caribbean Group has achieved has involved collaborators and partners. One of the most important is World Wildlife Fund. WWF’s counsel on key sustainability matters has added rigor and accountability across many facets of the business, including sustainable tourism, sourcing, and reduction of emissions. The company is currently embarking on a new set of co-developed targets involving reduction of food waste. WWF is knowledgeable in the ecology and environmental characteristics of many of the company’s destinations,” stated Chairman of Safety, Environment, Sustainability and Health Committee for Royal Caribbean Group, William K. Reilly. 

Alaska Seward Waterfront and Ray s Restaurant

The ESG report for 2021 highlights Royal Caribbean Group’s efforts to become increasingly energy efficient. Some of the ways Royal Caribbean Group details their energy efficiency include: 

  • Capturing engine waste heat to heat shower and galley water.
  • Co2 and occupancy-based ventilation controls to optimize AC fan energy consumption.
  • Advanced Emissions Purification system to treat and clean exhaust gases.
  • LED and fluorescent lights to reduce energy use and produce less heat.
  • AI-based weather routing to optimize timing, route, speed, and distances traveled.
  • Chiller and HVAC upgrades to reduce energy consumption. 
  • Shorepower connects to the local electrical grid while docked and completely removes emissions. 
  • Galley energy management system, including demand-based ventilation, to benchmark equipment energy usage. 
  • Optimized power plant design to better sync with ship’s operational profile. 
  • Improved hull with anti-founding paint and redesigned propulsion system. - Air lubrication system to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency. 

The 2021 ESG report emphasizes Royal Caribbean Group’s efforts to decarbonization, especially through the company’s Destination Net Zero strategy. This strategy aims to identify Science-Based Targets (SBT) and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Strategy’s such as these will help the company identify their goals and achieve their targets in the realm of sustainability. 

Perfect Day at CocoCay aerial of South Beach

Destination Net Zero demonstrated Royal Caribbean Group’s focus on serving as a focal point for change within the industry, with developments that include the following: 

  • Introducing a fuel-cell hybrid design that allows for zero emissions in each port the ships dock.
  • Future-proofing the company’s ship-building portfolio through fuel flexibility and innovation that ensures that each new ship class that Royal Caribbean debuts is 20% more energy efficient that the previous. 
  • Developing waste management technologies that can convert waste to energy. Currently 100% of the Royal Caribbean fleet is equipped to be land-fill free.
  • Being prepared, through shore power, to connect to local power grids as soon as it becomes available.

Other areas that Royal Caribbean Group is working towards are: sustainable business development and growth, sustainable tourism, waste management, and continued carbon emissions reduction. 

Some additional statistics released in Royal Caribbean’s report include:

  • “We reduced our waste-to-landfill by 87% from 2007 to 2021.”
  • “We eliminated single-use plastic condiment packages, cutlery, and shopping bags. We’ve now reduces our single-use plastics by 60% since the beginning of the initiative.”
  • “We protect destinations by offering more than 2,000 GSTC-certified sustainable tours around the world.”
  • “We granted $21 million in relief funds across 78 countries.”

To read Royal Caribbean Group’s 2021 sustainability report and learn more about the company’s efforts towards sustainable cruising, readers can visit: 

Royal Caribbean updates: Alaska tour cancelled, Barbados, WWF & more!

28 Apr 2022

I don't want you to miss any of the important Royal Caribbean changes from this week, so here's a look at some of the updates from the last couple of days.

Skagway white pass train

With the industry moving closer to full capacity again, lots of changes are happening around Royal Caribbean.

Here's a quick wrap-up of what's new this week in the world of Royal Caribbean cruises.

Royal Caribbean renews partnership with World Wildlife Fund


Royal Caribbean Group has doubled down on its commitment to the environment by renewing its deal with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Royal Caribbean Group announced it has extended its existing partnership with the WWF with a new five year commitment.

The WWF provides Royal Caribbean Group with guidance and counsel in establishing environmental goals and sustainable business practices.

WWF and Royal Caribbean have been partners since 2016 in order to embed sustainability by promoting responsible tourism in priority coastal destinations and help protect the oceans by investing in conservation programs globally. This included establishing 2020 sustainability goals that the company has met or exceeded, with the exception of the sustainable seafood sourcing target, which was impacted by global suspension of service from the pandemic.

This year, WWF and Royal Caribbean Group will work together to establish sustainability goals across three key areas of Ship, Sea and Shore:

  • Ship — Continuous improvement of operational sustainability, including emissions, marine mammal protection, seafood sourcing, plastics reduction, and food waste.
  • Sea — Investing in ocean health through targeted philanthropy; engaging with a global science-driven agenda and consumer-facing education and fundraising campaigns.
  • Shore — Embedding principles of sustainable development in projects and increasing sustainability and certification of tour operators.

Royal Caribbean Group will also continue to provide financial support to WWF's global ocean conservation work through a $5 million philanthropic contribution and collaborate with WWF to build global awareness about ocean conservation issues among Royal Caribbean Group's millions of guests.

Royal Caribbean cancels Alaska train shore excursions

White Pass train in Skagway

Guests who had a shore excursion booked on the White Pass Railway for an Alaska cruise had their plans cancelled this week.

Royal Caribbean informed guests that the train tour operator was forced to temporarily suspend any train activities into Canadian territory.

The White Pass train tour is a popular excursion in Skagway

Skagway train

The good news is the train can still operate, although it must remain within the United States.

Thanks to RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Steve Cohen for sharing the information.

Canadian Switch Health test kit accepted by Royal Caribbean

Air Canada's new Covid testing is a good option for Canadians flying to the US for cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

Good news for Canadian guests that the Canadian Switch Health test kit is accepted by Royal Caribbean for a pre-cruise test.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog writer Chantal McPhee asked the cruise line's social media team for clarification and it appears the answer is yes.

Similar to the Abbotts proctored tests for Americans, the Switch Health tests are available for at-home testing for Canadians.

Royal Caribbean deepens partnership with Barbados

Royal Caribbean announced a new strategic partnership with the Caribbean island of Barbados.

The agreement was signed in Miami earlier this week. Part of the deal will assist with employment opportunities for Barbadians onboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

For the cruise line, Royal Caribbean is looking to deepen the commercial relationships with the country.

Royal Caribbean Group announces pledge to get to net zero emissions by 2050

28 Oct 2021

Royal Caribbean Group announced on Wednesday a new initiative to make its cruise ships as eco-friendly as possible by reducing net zero emissions by 2050.

What was added to each Royal Caribbean ship during its Royal Amplified refurbishment | Royal Caribbean Blog

"Destination Net Zero" is the name of the new program that the company is calling its collective effort.

There are two primary objectives in its pledge to pursue science-based targets:

  • Delivery of a net zero emissions cruise ship
  • A path to net zero emissions by 2050

A comprehensive decarbonization strategy is behind how Royal Caribbean Group will get there, and executives feel now is the time to get moving on that goal.

"Decades ago, we set out on a course to advance sustainability; our vision now is to realize carbon-free cruising over the next two decades," said Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain.

"Today we are announcing the most important destination of all in our company's history – Destination Net Zero – an ambitious strategy to cut emissions, protect our oceans, and ensure the viability of the hundreds of destinations that our guests and crew members care deeply about."

How they will get there

Over 18 to 24 months, Royal Caribbean Group will develop goals to be validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The work will begin following the publication of SBTi's marine transport methodology. Science-based targets show companies how much, and how quickly, they need to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to help limit global warming.

The company will set key milestones to ensure they are making progress, one of which will be the delivery of a net zero cruise ship by 2035.

Thanks to optimized hull design and system upgrades such as AC chillers utilizing 30-40% less energy, Royal Caribbean Group has consistently delivered a new generation of ships 20-25% more efficient than their predecessors. 

To reach their goal of net zero emissions, Royal Caribbean Group will pull a lot of levers, including a few already announced. SilverSea Cruises will launch the first hybrid-powered ship set to debut summer 2023, and a wind farm in Kansas will offset up to 12% of the company's scope 1 and 2 emissions per year.

Destination Net Zero's four-pronged approach includes:

  1. Modernization of the cruise company's global brands fleet through the introduction of 13 new energy-efficient and alternatively fueled vessels.
  2. Continued investment in energy efficiency programs for its fleet, including energy saving technologies, enhanced data systems and digitalization.
  3. Development of alternative fuel and alternative power solutions.
  4. Optimized deployment and integration of strategic shore-based supply chains.

Royal Caribbean Group met or exceeded nearly all of its 2020 sustainability targets

22 Sep 2021

Many companies talk about sustainability, but Royal Caribbean Group has done much in the last year to make it happen.

Royal Caribbean Group released its 13th annual sustainability report, which encompass everything the company is doing towards sustainability.

In short, Royal Caribbean Group reports they have met or exceeded nearly all of its 2020 sustainability targets.

The report is organized into four main sections conveying Royal Caribbean Group's strategic approach to sustainability, from emissions reductions to supporting employees and crew in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here is a look at the highlights from the report:

Emissions reduction

Royal Caribbean Group achieved its carbon reduction target of 35% and has committed to further reduce emissions 25% by 2025.

  • Royal Caribbean Group's wind farm project in Kansas, developed in partnership with Southern Power, began operations and generated approximately 242,000 tons of CO2 offsets. It is expected that the wind farm will offset up to 12% of the company's global emissions each year.
  • Celebrity Apex joined the fleet with shore power connectivity and with an energy efficiency standard (EEDI) 39% more efficient than the current International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirement.
  • Icon-Class cruise ships, expected to launch in 2023, will use cleaner-burning liquefied natural gas and fuel cell technology, which reduces ship emissions.

Sustainable sourcing

The company has a commitment to source 90% of wild-caught seafood and 75% of farmed seafood, served on Royal Caribbean Group ships from certified sustainable sources, a first for the cruise industry. 

  • While the global suspension of service delayed this goal, as cruise operations resume, Royal Caribbean Group remains committed to tracing back to its origin the sustainable seafood served across the company's fleet.
  • Additionally, the company is constantly working to identify sustainable products, from cage-free eggs to humanely raised pork.

Circular economy

The company is working to achieve zero waste across the Royal Caribbean Group fleet.

  • Today, 100% of the company's fleet is equipped to be landfill-free. Only 0.50 pounds of waste are sent to landfill per passenger each day — 80% less than the U.S. average on shore.
  • Whenever possible, the waste on Royal Caribbean Group ships is reused, recycled or converted to energy.
  • The company has removed 60% of single-use plastics from its supply chain. 

Water and wastewater

Royal Caribbean Group ships work to ensure fresh water on their ships is used sparingly and efficiently.

  • 90% of fresh water is produced on board its ships in order to not deplete local resources.
  • On average, only 66 gallons of water per person per day are used, compared with the U.S. average of 100 gallons per person.
  • Each ship is equipped with a water treatment plant. Advanced wastewater purification systems are designed to be twice as stringent as U.S. federal standards, with a company policy of no untreated waste released into the ocean.

You can view the full report online.

Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval to start test sailings on Oasis of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain was extremely pleased with the report, " "While I'm proud of the progress we have achieved, the importance of this area has grown exponentially. Consistent with our mantra of continuous improvement, we have significantly expanded our aspirations in this critical area and are setting even more aggressive goals for the coming years."

"We believe that what gets measured gets better. Sustainability is a core area for our business, and this report reflects our successes and challenges over the past year."

Royal Caribbean wants Australians to give up their tortoiseshell products

04 Dec 2020

Are you an Australian that has tortoiseshell products? You can do your part to save the Hawksbill Turtle by giving them up.

Royal Caribbean Australia is parterning with the WWF and Australian Museum in a new campaign that seeks to save the Hawksbill Turtle by asking Australians to give up their tortoiseshell products so vulnerable populations can be traced through extracted DNA.

The new effort is called "Surrender Your Shell", which hopes to use cutting-edge technology to extract DNA from products to track the illegal trade of tortoiseshell.

Researchers will use this DNA to trace tortoiseshell products back to the turtles’ nesting beach and develop a database or “ShellBank” for the first time in the Asia-Pacific. This information will help identify vulnerable turtle populations, so WWF-Australia can work with local communities, governments and the tourism industry to improve turtle protection.

In order to facilitate this effort, the Australian Government has introduced a six month period of leniancy where Australians can send historically purchased tortoiseshell products to WWF-Australia, along with details of where and when they were purchased, without the risk of facing prosecution.

To participate, Australians just need to track down any tortoiseshell products they’ve collected, or been gifted, over the years.

Real tortoiseshell items are brown, orange, amber and yellow in colour and feature irregular patterns.

If people suspect a product is real, they can take the following steps to support the project:

  1. Visit to enter your details, including when and where the item was purchased, to retrieve a unique identification number. 
  2. Attach the unique identification number to your tortoiseshell product, package appropriately and either post through the Australia Post eParcel Returns portal or visit a Post Office with your surrendered tortoiseshell and post to WWF-Australia.
  3. Ensure you post your item between 1 December 2020 and 1 June 2021.

The first 100 items sent through the Australia Post eParcel Returns portal will be paid for by WWF-Australia.

“We’re proud to support the crusade to save this precious species, and to raise awareness with Australians, and our guests, on the part they can play in bringing these turtles back from the brink,” says Gavin Smith, Royal Caribbean International VP and managing director, AUNZ. “The ocean is our lifeblood and we are committed to preserving it — through our own innovation, our Save the Waves programme, and through important collaborations like “Surrender Your Shell.” 

It is estimated nearly 9 million hawksbill turtles have been traded for their distinctive shells over the past 150 years, bringing the species close to extinction. The Pacific Ocean's population has declined by more than 75% and now just 4,800 breeding female hawksbills are thought to survive.

Royal Caribbean and WWF announce breakthrough in fight to save Hawksbill Turtle

04 Oct 2019

Royal Caribbean announced a major milestone today in its fight to save the Hawksbill Turtle from extinction.

The cruise line in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia, announced a new DNA extraction test will offer scientists and conservationists vital information to track – and ultimately help end – the illegal trade of hawksbill turtle products. This is a significant breakthrough led by WWF Australia, Royal Caribbean the NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), in California, USA. 

The innovative project forms part of Royal Caribbean and WWF’s five-year global partnership to support ocean conservation and help ensure the long-term health of the seas. Turtle lovers and holidaymakers are encouraged to support Royal Caribbean and WWF’s efforts and #thinkbeforeyoubuy while traveling overseas.

Hunted for their beautiful shells, the species is now listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with the scientific community estimating as few as 6,700 breeding females remain in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Hawksbill turtles from different regions, or even some countries, are genetically distinct, and their DNA signatures can be used to identify different nesting areas. The new test will allow scientists and marine conservationists to identify which where tortoiseshell products have come from and pinpoint hawksbill turtle populations to allow for targeted conservation efforts.

The next step in the project is to build a more comprehensive genetic database of all hawksbill rookeries across Asia Pacific to help identify what populations there are in different locations to protect those most at risk from poaching. This kind of information is limited or currently unavailable and will provide vital information for wildlife managers and law enforcement to act on.

Learn more about Royal Caribbean’s partnership with WWF and their work to end the illegal turtle trade here.

Subscribe to Environment