Water and Wastewater
Our ships require significant amounts of fresh water for drinking and for use in showers, sinks, toilets, galleys, pools and spas. We are continuously studying ways to reduce water consumption and increase the efficiency of fresh water production on our ships.
We get fresh water through:
- Onboard production. We use steam desalination or reverse osmosis to convert seawater into fresh potable water. We also produce water through waste heat recovery. We heat diesel engine cooling water and steam from exhaust gas boilers and turn it to steam.
- Bunkering. We acquire water from local sources at our ports of call. This is known as “bunkering.”
- Capturing condensation. The condensation from air conditioning systems is collected for such uses as machinery operation and doing laundry.
To reduce the use of water-producing equipment that consumes fuel and electricity, we have installed water-reduction technology and appliances such as sink aerators, showerheads, reduced flow dishwashers and low-consumption laundry equipment throughout our fleet. We also ask crew members and guests to help us conserve water whenever possible.
The combined efforts have produced good results. According to reports, our onboard guests use about half the water that the average person uses in the United States.
Advanced Wastewater Purification
Our Advanced Wastewater Purification (AWP) system cleans wastewater generated from our onboard sinks, showers, laundry, galleys, toilets and medical facilities. This has produced clean water that exceeds ship wastewater discharge standards throughout the world.
Our AWP systems are twice as stringent as U.S. federal standards for in-port wastewater discharge. Quantum of the Seas’ AWP system is one of the first such systems designed to meet future special area requirements for nutrient reduction (i.e. Baltic Sea).
Currently, 33 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ships are equipped with AWP systems. All new ships will have AWPs built in.
Ballast Water Treatment System
Ballast water is seawater brought onto a ship to help stabilize it. Our systems treat ballast water and greatly reduces or eliminates its potential to discharge non-native species into other local environments when the ships move to other ports.
Quantum of the Seas was built with a ballast water treatment system before there were any international requirements to have such technology. Other RCL ships have been retrofitted with ballast water systems as part of ongoing initiatives to include this feature on all of our vessels.
Bilge Water Treatment System
Bilge water is oil-contaminated water collected from engine spaces. We treat bilge water with oily water separators that produce effluent at least three times cleaner than required by international regulations. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) standard for discharging treated bilge water is 15 parts per million. In 2013, RCL ships discharged processed bilge water treated to an average of less than 1.5 parts per million.