We continuously push the boundaries of what is technically possible at sea and are actively engaged in the development of next generation environmental technology.
Learn more about MSC Grandiosa: one of the most environmentally-advanced ships at sea.

Improving Quality of Ships Emissions

Our long-term goal is to achieve zero emissions across all operations, at sea and ashore.

Today, 11 of 17 MSC Cruises ships are equipped with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) to reduce sulphur from ship emissions by 97 per cent, representing 74% of our total berths.

Our hybrid EGCS can operate in an open or closed loop, allowing wash water to be collected in holding tanks to avoid direct discharge into ports or other sensitive areas.

MSC Grandiosa is our first ship to be fitted with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system, which significantly reduces nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the ship exhaust and transforms it into harmless nitrogen and water, through advanced active emissions control technology. SCR systems will be on fitted on all future ships.

To reduce emissions while in port, all MSC Cruises ships which have come into service since 2017 are fitted with shore-to-ship power so they can ‘plug in’ to the local power grid. A retrofitting programme will ensure that any ship docking in a berth that offers shore-to-ship power will be capable of using it.

Our advanced technologies have allowed SOx and NOx emissions to be significantly reduced over time

Exploring New Technologies and Solutions

The adoption of LNG as fuel on up to nine of our future ships will allow a reduction of carbon emissions by as much as 20% compared with same ship using conventional fossil fuels. Compared to using conventional fuel, LNG reduces SOx emissions by more than 99% and NOx emissions by up to 85%. It also essentially eliminates particulate matter in the exhaust. Our first LNG-powered ship, MSC World Europa, will enter service in 2022.

We are also investing in a ground-breaking project that aims to integrate a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology demonstrator onboard MSC World Europa using LNG to produce electricity and useable heat. This process is around 25% more efficient than a medium speed internal combustion engine, thereby reducing the emissions by the equivalent amount.

At present, this technology has only been tested in a laboratory but if the onboard results match, or even exceed, our estimates then we plan to increase the scale of fuel cells to support energy needs of future ships.

In parallel, we are evaluating the use of batteries as a supporting energy solution, providing smart energy storage and a ready to use power reserve when required. The evaluation will incorporate full life cycle analysis to validate the large-scale use of batteries.

New technology and low carbon fuels are fundamental to our carbon reduction strategy

Energy Efficiency and Advanced Ship Design

For every new ship class that we develop, we completely revise the design to achieve optimal efficiency. We rethink the ship’s overall structure, deck space, weight distribution including the ship’s hull, rudder and bulbous bow to reach optimal hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, and maximise energy and fuel efficiency.

Energy saving technology on board:

  • Voyage planning software
    An optimised itinerary means a reduced consumption of energy. We plan our itineraries efficiently and use specialised software to optimise sailing routes and berthing times.
  • Trim optimisation
    Optimising trim requires constant readjustment. Our ships are equipped with a software application to monitor and optimise trim in real-time. This technology helps ship officers to keep the vessel’s trim optimised to reduce fuel consumption and improve performance.
  • Anti-fouling paint
    Ships are naturally prone to barnacles, algae and marine organisms growing on their underwater surfaces. These can increase drag and make vessels less efficient. By using the most advanced anti-fouling paints on the hulls of all the ships, we keep them as streamlined as they can be. It’s TBT-free: we strive to keep toxic substances as far from the ocean as possible.
  • High-efficiency appliances
    Reducing our carbon footprint is not just about grand gestures; everyday electricity use is equally important. Energy-efficient appliances including refrigerators, water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers across our fleet help us keep our carbon footprint lower.
  • Energy-saving LED lighting
    Our ships only use energy-efficient LED and fluorescent lighting, saving energy by producing the same amount of light per bulb at a lower wattage.
  • Smart heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC)
    The HVAC systems on board our ships are designed to reduce energy consumption. They distribute heat and cold intelligently and are set up to recover heat from warmer areas of a ship to heat those which need it more.

New technologies combined with energy efficiency programmes has led to a 28% reduction in carbon intensity since 2008  

A target has been set to reduce further energy use across the fleet by 2.5% per year on a per ship basis

Water and Wastewater Management

Our ships are fitted with the latest freshwater production plants and 80% of all freshwater used onboard is self-produced. This means that we minimise taking this precious resource from destinations ashore where freshwater can be scarce.

Signage on the ships encourages our guests and crew to consume water responsibly, and we are now installing flow restricting aerators on all taps and showerheads. This will help reduce our use of tap water by up to two-thirds.
All wastewater on board is discharged to sea according to stringent international, national, and local regulations in force.

Since 2007, we have equipped our new ships with Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems (AWTS) that turn black and grey wastewater to near tap-water quality.

In addition, all our ships are able to discharge treated water at port where adequate port reception facilities connected to local wastewater treatment systems are available. This is notably the case in environmentally sensitive areas, such as the Baltic Sea.

Although regulations generally allow untreated sewage (blackwater) to be discharged once a ship is travelling more than 12 nautical miles from land, we do not allow this under normal operation in any circumstances and require that the ship requests permission from the Company, when a rare and exceptional discharge is necessary.

Regulations also permit the disposal of bilge and oily water at sea if it has been treated through an approved oily water separator. However, we follow a strict policy not to do this and instead discharge ashore all bilge and oily water, where it can be properly treated at approved port reception facilities.

Our advanced wastewater treatment systems process wastewater to near tap water quality.

Ballast Water Treatment

One of the challenges in operating a cruise ship is keeping the weight, centre of gravity, and stability requirements balanced and consistent throughout a voyage. To help us do this, there are tanks distributed in the lower part of a ship which can be filled with seawater to act as ballast.

Scientific studies over the years have revealed that this practice has allowed bacteria, microbes, small invertebrates, larvae and other microorganisms to be transported from one location to another around the world, potentially threatening local ecosystems.
To prevent this, and to comply with strict international regulations, our ships are fitted with a ballast water treatment system that complies with the standards set by the UN international governing body, the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This system protects against the involuntary introduction of invasive marine species.

We have adopted strict treatment regimes to remove threats of species transportation through ballast water

Solid Waste Management

All our ships are equipped with comprehensive solid waste management and recycling facilities.

All organic waste, as well as recyclable disposable items including plastics, metals, paper and glass, are collected and separated by specially trained waste handling crew members. Waste is compacted, separated or incinerated, and residual waste is carefully delivered to dedicated port facilities.
Training our crew, not only to handle waste, but to understand the importance of waste management, is central to what we do. Our crew members receive ongoing training to ensure they remain abreast of the highest standards and can inform our guests about the need to separate and recycle.

The Environmental Compliance Officer on every ship is responsible for ensuring waste management protocols are followed

Offsetting Ship Carbon Emissions

We recognise that the technology is not yet available at scale to achieve our zero-emissions ambition. As an interim measure, we have committed to offset our carbon emissions* by investing in a portfolio of certified carbon reduction projects.

*We originally planned to achieve this in 2020 but due to the extraordinary and unforeseen situation facing the global cruise industry as result of the global pandemic, we have had to revise our timeline for achieving this.


For us Sustainability means protecting the environment, supporting the people who work with us and choose to travel with us,
as well as the communities and places that we visit and do business with.
Discover our sustainability programme organised around four key pillars: Planet, People, Place and Procurement.