Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises announced the winners of their annual environmental awards. For Royal Caribbean, Liberty of the Seas was selected as both the Environmental Ship of the Year and the Environmentally Innovative Ship of the Year. For Celebrity Cruises, the Celebrity Mercury was selected as the Environmental Ship of the Year, and the Celebrity Infinity was selected as the Environmentally Innovative Ship of the Year.
"Competing for these awards encourage and reward crew members who progressively advance their ships’ environmental performance in ways that go above and beyond regulatory compliance," said Jamie Sweeting, vice president of Environmental Stewardship for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "I congratulate our winners and thank all of our crew members for doing so much to protect the oceans in which we sail," Sweeting said.
In its tenth year, this annual fleet-wide competition underscores Royal Caribbean and Celebrity’s long-standing commitment to environmental innovation and improvement. For the first time, a panel of judges conducted the impartial evaluation for the award. The panel was comprised of leading oceanographic, marine biology, and policy experts, who reviewed the information provided by Royal Caribbean’s 20 ships, Celebrity Cruises’ nine ships and Azamara Cruises’ two ships to determine the award winners based on their comparative performance.
The ships were judged on five rigorous environmental criteria established by Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. These included environmental performance, timeliness and effectiveness of corrective actions related to audit findings, reports of near incidents and nonconformities, submission of environmental status reports, performance of environmental equipment and innovative thinking. For each of these criteria, ships were scored individually and then ranked against one another to determine the winning ships in each fleet.
This year, Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas won both the Environmental Ship of the Year and Environmentally Innovative Ship of the Year Awards for its excellent overall performance, having one of the most thorough and wide-ranging environmental programs of the entire fleet. The crew members demonstrated an exemplary level of commitment to saving energy, reducing waste, and increasing their amount of recycled materials. There was a particular emphasis on learning and continuous improvement that included establishing a water and energy savings team, as well as educating staff on how freshwater is produced onboard and how wastewaters are treated.
For Celebrity Cruises, Mercury received top honors in the Environmental Ship of the Year Award for its energy conservation, recycling efforts and reuse initiatives. The Mercury was bestowed the award most notably for its compliance and waste management, especially in the face of a challenging itinerary. The ship’s staff worked to establish recycling in numerous countries along its cruise track. Celebrity Infinity was awarded the Environmentally Innovative Ship of the Year Award for effectively demonstrating how day-to-day operational changes can be coupled with smart onboard insight and engineering to produce an innovative approach to energy savings in cooling the ship. Adding to their improvement is their continued strong efforts in recycling, management of waste streams, and the environmental honors received.
The winning ships receive an award they can display year-round, and get to select a non-profit organization that will receive a cash donation on their behalf. The organizations selected by the Environmental Ships of the Year received a $10,000 donation, and $5,000 goes to the organizations selected by the Environmentally Innovative Ships of the Year.