Source:  Cruise Junkie dot Com

Large Environmental Fines
($100,000 or more)

Below are cases in which a ship or cruise line has been fined more than $100,000 for an environmental violations. Also see the full list of environmental fines (1992 - 2009) and the list of environmental violations and fines in Alaska (2000-2009)

Cruise Line

Explanation of Offense(s)

Fine Nature of Offense
Septemer 2015
MSC Cruises

The Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente E Dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) (IBAMA) levied a fine of R$ 2.505 million against MSC Cruises for dumping garbage bags during a cruise between Madeira Island and the Port of Recife. The complaint was made by one of the ship's passengers on board during the trip held between November 26 to December 10, 2013. The complaint was registered with the Public Ministry of Paraná. After analysis of the material was found that there were testimonial and documentary evidence of irregularities carried out by the ship.

R$ 2.505 million


Garbarge bags overboard
June 2007
Louis Cruises
Sea Diamond
The ship was fined 1.17 Euros (US$1.57) for polluting the sea, following the April 5th accident that led to the ship sinking with some 450 tons of fuel and lubricants on board.  Approximately 300 tons have already (June 22) leaked into the sea.  Louis Cruise will contest the fine.
$1.57 million
Oil / Fuel Spill
January 2007
Princess Cruises
Dawn Princess,
The cruise line agreed to a plea bargain under which it pays a fine of $200,000 and restitution of $550,000 after criminal charges were filed.  The company was charged with failing to operate at a slow, safe speed while near humpback whales and in 2001 hit and killed a humpback.
Whale strike
November  2006
Celebrity Cruises
The Seattle Times reports today that Celebrity Cruises faces a fine for the Mercury dumping 500,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into Puget Sound.  Though it initially claimed it hadn't dumped, shipboard documents contradicted the company's claim.  The dumping happended 10 times over nine days in September and October 2005.
Untreated Wastewater
December 2004
Holland America Line
Holland America Line agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor in its discharge of sewage into Juneau Harbour in August 2002 and to pay a $200,000 fine, pay $500,000 in restitution, and spend $1.3 million to improve its ship's handling of waste.
$2 million
Sewage discharge
October 2003
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line paid $200,000 administrative fee to settle with the California State Lands Commission over the cruise line's noncompliance with state ballast water law.
Ballast water
2002 Plea Agreement
Carnival Corporation
Ecstasy, Fantasy, Imagination, Paradise, Sensation, Tropicale
Carnival Corporation pled guilty to numerous occasions from 1996 through 2001 that it discharged oily waste into the sea from their bilges by improperly using pollution prevention equipment.  In addition, the company falsified the Oil Record Books in order to conceal its practices.  The plea agreement only  focusses on Carnival Cruise Line (and dismisses any future charges against other Carnival Corp. subsidiaries), however it only applies to the Southern District of Florida.  Other federal jurisdictions may pursue independent investigation and prosecution.
$18 million
($9 million fine and $9 million in court-ordered community service to fund environmental projects in South Florida

5 year probation
Oil discharges
2002 Plea Agreement
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norway and "at least one other ship"
Norwegian Cruise Line pled guilty to on numerous occasions from 1997 through April 2000 that it routinely circumvented the oily water separator, allowing oily bilge to be discharged directly into the sea.  The company was given a lenient sentence because it reported its practices to the Department of Justice.
$1.5 million
($1 million fine and $500,000 in court-ordered community service to fund environmental projects in South Florida
Oil discharges
2000 Plea Agreement
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
State of Alaska charged RCCL in August 1999 for seven counts of violating state laws governing oil and hazardous waste disposal.  In January 2000, RCCL pled guilty to dumping toxic chemicals (including dry-cleaning fluid) and oil-contaminated water into the state's waters.
$3.5 million
Discharge of toxic chemicals, oil discharge
1999 Plea Agreement
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Grandeur of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas, Nordic Empress, Nordic Prince, Song of America, Song of Norway, Sovereign of the Seas, Sun Viking
The company pled guilty in six jurisdictions to charges of fleet wide practices of discharging oil-contaminated waste, regularly and routinely discharging without a permit wastewater contaminated by pollutants through its ships' gray water systems, and making false material statements to the Coast Guard.  These practices occurred fleet wide into 1995 and occurred on one ship as late as 1998.  Among the violations supporting this guilty plea were repeated oil discharges from the Nordic Prince into the waters of Alaska's Inside Passage during 1994.
$18 million
($3.5 million designated for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and $2.5 million to the National Park Foundation)
Jurisdictions: Miami ($3 million), New York City ($3 million), Los Angeles ($3 million), Anchorage ($6.5 million), Puerto Rico ($1 million), US Virgin Islands ($1.5 million)
NOTE: The judge in Anchorage suspended $3 million of the fine in Alaska in consideration of the company's prompt payment.

5 year probation
Oil discharge, discharge of hazardous waste,  falsifying records
1998 Plea Agreement
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd
Nordic Empress
Ship observed and filmed by Coast Guard aircraft as it discharged oil while en route to Miami, FL.  The company pled guilty to the willful presentation of a false oil record book for the ship during a US Coast Guard Investigation.  In addition, investigations revealed that the ship had been fitted with a bypass pipe allowing employees to discharge bilge waste from the ship without first processing it through an oily water separator
$1 million
Oil discharge, falsifying records
1998 Plea Agreement
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd
Sovereign of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas, Song of America, Nordic Prince, Nordic Empress
After Sovereign of the Seas was found discharging oily bilge waste approximately 8-12 miles from San Juan Harbour, PR on October 25, 1994, an investigation  found that the ship's engineers routinely discharged oily waste overboard instead of processing it through the ship's oily water separator.  In addition, employees on all five ships falsified oil record books and made false statements to the Coast Guard to conceal illegal discharge practices.
$8 million
($1 million designated to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

5 year probation

Oil discharge, falsifying records
1998 Plea Agreement
Holland America Line

In 1994, discharged waste 13 times in 10 days into Alaskan waters.  The ship had fixed, permanent piping that allowed oily waste to be discharged directly overboard.  (Reported Assistant Engineer -- he got $500,000)

$2 million
($1 million fine, $1 million restitution)

5 year probation

Oil discharge
December 1997
Norwegian Cruise Line

Damaged Great Mayan Reef near Cozumel (more than 4400 square feet had been shaved off -- 80% destroyed)

$1 million
Damage to reef
April 1996
Cunard Line

Royal Viking Sun
Stuck coral reef at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba

$23.5 million
Damage to reef
April 1995
Dolphin Cruise Line

Seabreeze I
Discharged plastic bags 2 and 25 miles from the US shore and discharged oil into the North Atlantic 1 mile from US coast

($275,000 restitution)

Oil discharge, Plastics & garbage
September 1994
American Global Lines
The company, the predecessor to American Hawaii Cruises, was fined for dumping demolition materials.
August 1993
Starlite Cruises

Pacific Star
A spill of 500-1000 gallons of oil into San Diego Harbour linked to ship by chemical analysis.  

($10,000 fine, $96,000 restitution)

Oil discharge
April 1993
Princess Cruises

Regal Princess
Princess Cruises agrees to a fine for dumping more than 20 garbage filled plastic bags off the Florida Keys.  Passengers videotape offense and receive half of fine.

February 1993
Regency Cruises

Regent Rainbow, Regent Sea
Dumping of plastic bags and garbage off Florida and in Gulf of Mexico

1 year probation

Plastic & garbage
February 1993
Palm Beach Cruises

Viking Princess
Discharged oil, creating a sheen (3 miles long) 2.5 miles from Port of Palm Beach

$1 million
Oil discharge

Sources:   Marine Pollution: Progress Made to Reduce Marine Pollution by Cruise Ships, but Important Issues Remain (February 2000 -- Washington, DC: GAO ), and various new reports