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‘We earn an A, not F’: Crystal Cruises fires back at Friends of the Earth

Crystal Cruises said the failing grade it received on a recent cruise ship environmental report card is undeserved, and that the company's environmental efforts merit a higher mark.

"I would say that we are an A, but I would like to see us be an A+," said Mimi Weisband, a spokesperson for Crystal Cruises.

The report card, published by Friends of the Earth (FoE), graded various cruise lines on sewage treatment, air pollution reduction, and water quality compliance.

Weisband said the report card was "flawed," and that FoE was too selective in their grading criteria. While Crystal ships do not have plug-in capabilities for shoreside power or advanced sewage treatment systems, she said, the report card overlooks "the whole picture."

"If only a few ports have the plug-ins, what can we do that's best for all the ports in which we call?" said Weisband. "I think our record has been strong, and we're very conscious of our emissions. The record will show we've been very good citizens in Canada."

Weisband said Crystal Cruises' Environmental Management System meets industry standards and is certified by the International Organization for Standardization.

FoE's Clean Vessels Campaign director Marcie Keever stands by the grade. She said that Crystal has consistently opposed improvements to the industry.

"These ships go to ports that have plug-in technology," said Keever. "There has to be a partnership between the ports and the ships. You have to have the outlet and the plug."

Keever said cruise lines such as Princess Cruises have retrofitted their ships for plug-ins and given money to various ports to help them install plug-in technologies.

"You really do see a difference across the board," said Keever. "We wanted to show who's doing a good job, and who isn't."

Robyn Smith is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

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