Sustainability at Sea – 2021 Cruise Line Reports Outline Goals and Progress

After two years of challenges due to the pandemic, the cruise industry has rebounded in a big way. Ships are once again sailing around the globe, and they’re safer and greener than ever. While prioritizing the health of passengers, crew, and communities they visit, cruise companies have also remained committed to delivering responsible, sustainable travel experiences.


Now more than ever, cruise lines are focused on reducing the carbon footprint of their ships and protecting our oceans and communities. To that end, a few of the industry sustainability goals include net-zero emissions, waste reduction, sustainable tours, sustainable food sourcing, and environmental and conservation partnerships.

Several cruise companies have recently released their 2021 Sustainability Reports that provide detailed updates on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) commitments and initiatives across all brands. Here are their highlights and links to the full reports:

Royal Caribbean Group

Celebrity Edge

Royal Caribbean Group’s 14th annual sustainability report provides an update on the company’s ESG activities across its three brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises.

This year’s report highlights the company’s efforts to decarbonization, especially through their Destination Net Zero strategy, which aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Royal Caribbean Group’s ESG framework is centered on five distinct components:

  1. Provide an Unforgettable Cruise Experience
  2. Champion Communities and the Environment
  3. Foster Human Rights and Be an Employer of Choice
  4. Govern Responsibly
  5. Advance Net Zero Innovation

Learn more: Royal Caribbean Group 2021 ESG Report

Hurtigruten Group


Hurtigruten Group commits to science-based targets in its new ESG report to support its vision to be the leader in sustainable adventure travel. The report emphasizes that reducing emissions must be the number one goal and details how the Group’s three brands – Hurtigruten Norway, Hurtigruten Expeditions and Hurtigruten Svalbard – achieved their own ESG milestones in 2021.

Targets outlined include:

  1. Emissions: Zero emissions by 2050
  2. Impact on Nature: 100% reuse and recycling of waste by 2030.
  3. Community Impact: Maximise the number of people positively impacted, and endangered species supported
  4. Diversity & Inclusion: 40% women in Senior Leadership by 2026. 35% female officers by 2035.

Learn more: Hurtigruten Group 2021 Sustainability Report

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady

Virgin Voyages’ first brand impact report outlines how the cruise line plans to deliver on its promises of delivering one of the best holidays at sea while making a positive difference for people and the planet.

The brand’s ESG strategy is rooted in five keys areas: 

  1. Our Sailors – Delivering transformational life experiences
  2. Our Ocean – Securing a healthy future for our ocean
  3. Our Communities – Building positive entrepreneurial relationships
  4. Our Partners – Developing open and rewarding partnerships
  5. Our Crew – Providing a caring and generous place to work

Learn more: Virgin Voyages 2021 Impact Report

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise

As the first river cruise line to publish an Impact Report, Uniworld seeks to shape a brighter future for the river cruise industry, along with the local people and communities they visit. This report gives transparent insight into the positive impacts Uniworld has made, relating to sustainable food production, travel experiences, responsible consumption, and more.

Uniworld’s sustainability goals include:

  1. Reduce Food Waste by 50 Percent Across all Ships by 2025
  2. Increase Use of Local and Organic Food Products by Its Supply Chain by 2025
  3. Include at Least One “Make Travel Matter” Experience on 50 Percent of Itineraries by 2025, transforming exploration into positive change

Learn more: Uniworld Impact Report

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises Europa

MSC Cruises 2021 Sustainability Report highlights significant progress in the line’s sustainability practices. The cruise line’s sustainability program is organized around four key pillars: Planet, People, Place and Procurement. MSC Cruises’ Sustainability Action Plan was developed with the active engagement of employees and external partners.

The report establishes six key workstreams across the business: 

  1. Transitioning to net-zero emissions, 
  2. Scrutinizing resource use and waste, 
  3. Supporting their people
  4. Investing in sustainable tourism, 
  5. Building greener terminals 
  6. Procuring sustainably.  

Learn more:  MSC Cruises Sustainability

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings includes three global cruise brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The company is focused on its commitment to driving a positive impact on society and the environment through a global sustainability program, Sail & Sustain. Their ESG strategy is focused on five pillars and was developed through cross-functional collaboration with key internal and external stakeholders.

MSC’s 2021 ESG Report outlines commitments to:

  1. Reducing Environmental Impact
  2. Sailing Safely
  3. Empowering People
  4. Strengthening Communities
  5. Operating with Integrity and Accountability

Learn more: Norwegian Cruise Line Holding Sustainability

Your Resource for Sustainable Ships

At Landry & Kling, we are aligned with the industry’s sustainability goals. That is why we seek to make a storehouse of cruise line sustainability practices and initiatives – all in one place. We applaud the steady, increasing movement toward Net Zero Emissions. Visit SustainableShips.


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