Save the Waves

Save the Waves

For nearly 40 years, our company has carried out its strong commitment to environmental stewardship. Save the Waves® is one example of that. Established in 1992, Save the Waves started out as a company-wide practice of reducing, reusing and recycling waste during the daily operations onboard all of our ships. It has expanded into a broader sustainability platform aimed at preserving the oceans and protecting coastal communities. We incorporate energy-saving features into our new ships as well as the older ones, and we continue to look for ways to minimize our ecological footprint by improving our supply chain processes.

Fish swimming in coral of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Royal Caribbean International.
Fish swimming in coral of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Royal Caribbean International.

The four key principles of Save The Waves® are:

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle – Reduce the generation of waste material, reuse and recycle wherever possible, and properly dispose of remaining wastes.
  • Practice pollution prevention – It is strictly forbidden to throw anything overboard.
  • Go Above and Beyond Compliance (ABC) – Do more than the regulations require.
  • Continuous Improvement – Change is the only constant. Innovation is encouraged and rewarded.

Our Save the Waves philosophy extends well beyond shipboard operations and our employee workforce. We collaborate with educational institutions, conservation-focused nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other entities to help our Caribbean, Latin American, and South Pacific destinations strengthen policies and protect resources so their marine environment can remain vibrant and healthy.

Oceans and Coastal Communities

The oceans are the essence of our cruise business. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. relies on those vast bodies of water to transport the millions of guests who board our ships annually seeking fun and memorable vacation experiences. Without oceans, our business would be grounded.

oceans-inline-imageBut outside of being the lifeline for our company, the oceans are the life sources for the world. Oceans transport the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the products we consume. It is our responsibility to protect the oceans, which allow Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to provide cruise experiences to our guests. Coastal communities at our ships’ ports of call rely on tourism and the influx of cruise ships guests to keep their economies healthy. But along with tourism, it takes a strong infrastructure to help these coastal communities survive. Some of the communities are not built to handle the heavy and steady flow of cruise ship tourists over time. Also, climate change and natural disasters, such as the typhoon that hit the Philippines in 2013 and the earthquake that shattered in Haiti in 2010, can devastate coastal communities and cause their infrastructure to collapse. Without assistance, recovery can be extremely difficult.


We are committed to being good stewards of the coastal communities where we operate and have programs and initiatives in place to help improve the quality of life.

Some of those initiatives are:

L’Ecole Nouvelle de Royal Caribbean

Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. funded the building of a school complex in an area near Labadee, our private destination. L’Ecole Nouvelle serves Haitian children from pre-kindergarten through 9th grade.

Disaster Relief

When natural disasters threaten the livelihood and well-being of communities where our ships sail or where our employees live, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. reaches out to help. We recently provided disaster relief to communities affected by the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines. The Royal Caribbean Crew and Employee Disaster Relief Fund gives our employees a way of helping those affected.

Supporting Local Businesses and Artisans

The presence of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in nearly 490 ports around the world is a boost for local businesses and artists. We also have several outreach programs that provide active support.

Our work in partnership with the Pan-American Development Foundation helps support small businesses and artisans throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Celebrity Xpedition, in the Galápagos Islands, offers local artisans the opportunity to come onboard and sell their goods directly to guests.

One of our sustainability goals for 2015 is to have 50 percent of our shore excursion providers become third-party certified as sustainable. We are making great progress in achieving that goal.

Destination Sustainability

Our plan is to initiate and expand sustainability projects beyond our private destinations to ports of call throughout the Caribbean.

Through a grant from The Ocean Fund, and a partnership with Sustainable Travel International, we are engaged in efforts in Roatan, Honduras, and Cozumel, Mexico. We also joined with partners from a variety of sectors to launch the Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas. That project supports sustainability projects in Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas and Dominica. These destinations will undergo in-depth assessments led by Sustainable Travel International and will then be in a position to incorporate sustainability measures into their policies and practices.

Four additional destinations will receive funding for sustainability efforts carried out by the Organization of American States. One of them is the Jamaican port of Falmouth, which RCL played the lead role in building in 2011. We have also joined the South Pacific Destinations Alliance to support similar projects in small-island destinations in the region.

Private Destinations

Our two private destinations, CocoCay in The Bahamas and Labadee in Haiti, were the first to achieve gold-level eco-certification for sustainable tourism, by the Sustainable Tourism Education Program™ (STEP).

Signature Projects

We are committed to protecting and preserving the communities and environments where we sail, where we work, and where our employees live.

Signature projects such as The Ocean Fund helps us accomplish that mission.

L’Ecole Nouvelle de Royal Caribbean

Built near our private destination Labadee, L’Ecole Nouvelle provides local children with the opportunity to attend school, from pre-kindergarten through 9th grade.

The Ocean Fund

The Ocean Fund supports marine conservation organizations in safeguarding the health of the world’s oceans. The Ocean Fund’s three primary objectives are to:

  • Support efforts to restore and maintain a healthy marine environment.
  • Minimize the impact of human activity on the marine environment.
  • Promote awareness of ocean and coastal issues and respect for marine life.


Since its establishment in 1996, The Ocean Fund has contributed $13.4 million to support more than 80 non-profit organizations and institutions around the world in projects that relate to ocean science, marine life and conservation, climate change, education and innovative technologies.

In 2013, we awarded more than $700,000 to support such projects.