Sustainability 2015

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Our mission is to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences by achieving excellence across our operations, and we view our commitment to doing business responsibly as critical to our success. Shaped by our values, this commitment guides both our actions and our long-term vision, enabling us to deliver the highest level of quality and service today while ensuring our company and our industry can continue to thrive tomorrow.

We’ve chosen to focus our corporate responsibility initiatives on four priority areas where we have the greatest potential to make a positive impact:

The safety, security, and health of our guests The sustainability of our global environment
The vibrancy of the communities where we operate The well-being of our workforce

Click on the Infographic Below to Explore Our 2015 Cornerstones
Image Map

Leadership Memo

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From the Executive Office

photo of Orlando Ashford, President and Chief Executive Officer

At Holland America Line, we believe travel has the power to change the world in positive and important ways. We consider this idea inherent in our mission — our greater purpose — and embedded in that is our great responsibility to safeguard the well-being of our guests, employees and the oceans upon which we sail.

It’s a responsibility we take very seriously. Our uncompromising commitment to the environment and responsible business practices is paramount to our daily operations. We are proud to be a company that is over 140 years old.

Transparency is also a key to the high standards we maintain and our performance against them. In this report we’ve outlined our progress since 2014–2015, highlighting major initiatives, achievements and areas of opportunity. In a culture of continuous improvement such as ours, the work is never done, but we’ll actively leverage all we learn to navigate the course ahead.

Thanks to our employees, guests and partners for all you do to work with us in exploring innovative solutions toward our goals. I look forward to what we’ll accomplish together to support the sustainability of our business and the industry in the years to come.

Orlando Ashford
President, Holland America Line

Our Corporate Responsibility Story

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Holland America Line’s story began more than 140 years ago, when we first raised anchor as a cargo and passenger carrier under the name Netherlands-American Steamship Company. Our company's first ocean liner was the ss Rotterdam, which sailed its maiden 15-day voyage from Rotterdam to New York City on Oct. 15, 1872. The ss Rotterdam was an iron ship of nearly 1,700 tons gross, brig-rigged with a single screw driven by a 1,300 horse power (h.p.) compound engine, giving her a service speed of 10-1/2 knots. She could carry eight first-class guests and 380 steerage guests with 1,500 tons of cargo. The ms Rotterdam currently in operation is 61,849 tons gross, twin screw-driven by five engines with a total of 78,000 h.p., giving her a service speed of 25 knots.

Commitment to sustainability

We continue to provide world-class travel service that prioritizes the well-being of our employees and guests — as well as the environment and the hundreds of port communities we visit. Our commitment to these priorities has helped us evolve into a global leader in the vacation cruise industry, providing guests with unique access to natural beauty and cultural richness.

Starting five years ago, we began making extensive systemic improvements to our company’s performance tracking. In collaboration with our parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, we established a working framework for important measurements and sought material areas for improvement. We released this data as the beginning of an ongoing conversation with our stakeholders via our first corporate responsibility report, continuing with an updated 2012 report and 2013 report that followed up on initial findings and provided baseline information for our performance. All our sustainability reports detail our efforts to strengthen management systems and performance in alignment with a multiyear corporate restructuring designed to increase operational efficiency.

Organizational changes

In April 2013 we marked our 140th anniversary, and in November 2013 Holland America Line president and CEO Stein Kruse was named CEO of Holland America Group, an expanded role that includes the oversight of Holland America – Princess Alaska, Seabourn, Princess Cruises and P&O Australia. In November 2014 our company announced Orlando Ashford as President of Holland America Line.

In May 2014 our company announced the agreement for the transfer of ms Ryndam and ms Statendam to sister brand P&O Cruises in Australia. ms Statendam sailed from Seattle and ms Ryndam sailed from Rotterdam on their final cruises under the Holland America Line flag in September of 2015. Both were delivered to P&O Cruises in November 2015.


In July 2015 Carnival Corporation & plc and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) reached an agreement about requirements aboard cruise ships for Americans with disabilities. The agreement ensures the protection of civil rights of persons with disabilities in public accommodations, which addresses requirements of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This eight-year agreement requires us to reasonably modify policies, practices and procedures to accommodate individuals with disabilities, properly provide and reserve accessible staterooms for individuals with mobility disabilities, allow individuals with disabilities the same opportunities to participate in programs and services, and provide effective means of communication for persons with disabilities. We are dedicated to exceeding the expectations of all guests, with a particularly strong focus on accessibility. Additionally, we have a longstanding track record of making cruising accessible, and we are increasing that commitment even further with these enhancements in staff training, accessibility policies and communications, and additional accessible shipboard design features.

As our company has grown, we’ve made operational adjustments to accommodate the shifting business climate. The fluctuating global economy and fuel prices, political volatility in some of the regions where we operate, and regulatory changes continued to pose challenges during this reporting period. We’re proud to have addressed these challenges while continuing to drive improvement. Namely, we maintained our already excellent track record for safety and continued improving in critical indicators like fuel efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions and waste recycling. In addition, we’ve found new ways to expand the impact of our employee development, community giving and volunteerism efforts.

Over the next five years we will be focused on achieving our 2020 Corporate Sustainability goals as well as selecting and developing the next set of targets.

Building from the insights from our previous sustainability reports, this report will continue to help us measure against existing goals and position us for continued success. We appreciate your interest in our efforts. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share with us, please contact us at

Report Parameters

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Reporting Scope

ms Rotterdam in Eidfjord, Norway

Information shared in this report is representative of our global operations as illustrated in the 2015 snapshot.

In 2010 we made a commitment to expand our transparency by publicly disclosing the environmental, social and governance performance of our company, using the internationally recognized Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Framework.

We work closely with all other operating lines under Carnival Corporation & plc. Together with key stakeholders we address sustainability issues in the cruise industry, in the broader maritime industry and with companies in other industries.

This Sustainability Report covers and prioritizes information on the basis of materiality, sustainability context and stakeholder inclusiveness. It includes entities that meet the criteria of being subject to our operational control. The information in this Sustainability Report includes significant actions or events in the reporting period, and it does not intentionally exclude relevant information that would influence or inform stakeholder assessments or decisions or that would reflect significant economic, environmental or social impacts.

As greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions represent one of our main operational impacts, we include purchases of shipboard and shoreside energy (fuel and electricity).

There are minor changes from our last published report in the scope, boundary and measurement methods applied in the Sustainability Report for the economic and social indicators. Even though we have decreased the size of our fleet at the end of fiscal year 2015, we have normalized the majority of our indicators to take into account this reduction, as well as changes in itineraries and guest capacity.

This report addresses our commitment to the safety, security and health of our guests and crew; the sustainability of our natural environment; and the vibrancy of the communities where we do business. It specifically focuses on fiscal years 2014 to 2015 (December 1, 2013–November 30, 2015) unless otherwise noted.

All references to currency are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.

This report was developed in line with the core “in accordance” level of the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) G4 Guidelines, frameworks and metrics. We’ve shared performance information related to 103 indicators that we selected in collaboration with our parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc. Our index can be found here.

Materiality Assessment & Matrix

We conducted an assessment to reevaluate the significant issues that pose a risk to our company and our stakeholders due to the impact of our operations. These issues were then assessed in terms of importance to our company and stakeholders. The materiality matrix summarizes the results of our assessment. It shows the relative importance of the issues to our stakeholders as well as their impact on our company. This assessment enabled us to examine the significant economic, environmental and social aspects of our operations as well as to determine the required components to transition from GRI-3.1 to GRI-4 sustainability reporting.

As part of our materiality assessment process we

  • Evaluated the 2020 Corporate Sustainability goals.
  • Reviewed the environmental, social, governance and economic aspects and indicators in the GRI G4 sustainability reporting guidelines as they apply to our business.
  • Held internal meetings and conducted surveys to examine company perspectives on sustainability aspects and impacts.
  • Examined over 35 aspects and issues, including areas of significant organizational impact, as well as broader sustainability trends (GRI G4-46 Aspects).
  • Mapped the stakeholder- and company-related aspects on a materiality matrix, identifying the mid- and high-scoring issues as priorities for our operations. This mapping enabled us to
    • Prioritize information on the basis of materiality, analysis of environmental aspects and impacts (ISO 14001), sustainability context and stakeholder inclusiveness;
    • Agree on the desired content for each metric and the approach to reporting (qualitative vs. quantitative detailed performance tracking, etc.); and
    • Expand on supply-chain materiality.

Reporting History & Cadence

Our first Sustainability Report, which focused on fiscal years 2007 to 2009 (December 1, 2006–November 30, 2009), was released in 2010. Our second Sustainability Report focused on fiscal years 2010 to 2012 (December 1, 2009–November 30, 2012). Our third Sustainability Report focused on fiscal year 2013 (December 1, 2012–November 30, 2013).

Beginning with 2016, our goal is to report on our sustainability performance on a bi-annual basis.

Information Integrity

Information provided in this report was compiled in management systems, extracted from databases and verified by Holland America Line management for accuracy. We believe this information fairly represents our corporate responsibility activities and performance results for the reporting period. Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, Inc. (LRQA), an affiliate of Lloyd’s Register North America, Inc., was commissioned by Carnival Corporation & plc to assure its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory and GHG Assertion for the fiscal year 2015 (December 1, 2014–November 30, 2015). Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 82–84)

Throughout the report we’ve included links to helpful information that is available on Holland America Line and Carnival Corporation & plc websites as well as third-party websites.


In this report we attempt to avoid the use of industry jargon and provide definitions for terms that aren’t commonly used outside of our industry. Select definitions can be found in the glossary.

Regulatory Landscape

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We adhere to all international, national and state regulations applicable to our vessel operations. Our safety, security, health and environmental practices are based in international convention as established through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

IMO’s Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) specifies minimum standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships. Under SOLAS, the International Safety Management (ISM) Code requires that all ships implement a safety management system (SMS), and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code prescribes measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities.

IMO also introduced the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, more commonly known as MARPOL, to protect the maritime environment from pollution that is either accidental or the result of routine operations. IMO amended MARPOL in 2010, designating the North American Emission Control Area (ECA) to reduce emissions from ships. In compliance with ECA guidelines, we’ve invested in new initiatives that will help minimize our air quality impacts. Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 36-41)

Other core international conventions include IMO’s Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), which establishes consistent minimum requirements across borders, and ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006), which aims to protect seafarers’ rights and to secure economic interests through fair competition.

Entered into force in 2013, MLC 2006 was designed to become the fourth pillar of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping alongside SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL. MLC 2006 establishes standards for seafarers' rights to decent conditions of work and helps to create conditions of fair competition for ship owners. Holland America Line complied with all MLC 2006 requirements prior to the convention’s enforcement.

As a long-standing member of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (page 90) we adhere to a corresponding set of stringent standards that are designed to keep our guests and employees safe, secure and healthy while protecting the environment and providing an industry-leading workplace.

All ships that carry more than 13 guests and that call to U.S. ports are also subject to the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA), which was passed into law in 2010. We undertook significant efforts to meet CVSSA requirements. Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (page 85)

In collaboration with our parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, we continue to strive and focus on reducing our footprint. In order to manage our greenhouse gas footprint, we must manage the source of the emissions. There are multiple aspects of climate change that influence our strategy, including regulatory changes, stakeholder influence and economic efficiencies, specifically as it relates to our dependence on fossil fuels. Shipboard fuel consumption is the most significant contributor to our carbon footprint, as our shipboard operations far exceed our shoreside operations.

We are constantly working to reduce our air emissions and to improve air quality by evaluating new and established technological solutions. This began in November 2006, when the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) received a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to evaluate whether this technology could be successfully designed, installed and operated within the tight confines of our ship, ms Zaandam. Further information about the maritime regulatory landscape can be found in the Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report on pages 66–80.


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Systematic, documented, periodic and objective assessment of an organization’s performance, management systems and processes.

Available Lower Berth (ALB)
Guest beds available on a cruise ship, assuming two people occupy a stateroom.

Ballast Water
Seawater that is taken on board a ship and stored in tanks to control draft, list, trim and stability.

Bilge Water
Water from equipment maintenance and minor leaks that collects in the lowest part of the ship.

The science of the relationships between organisms and their environments.

Black Water
Wastewater from toilets, urinals and medical sinks.

Bunkered Water
Potable water that is purchased from a municipal or private system at a port and stored on board in tanks.

This term is usually used for fish caught unintentionally in a fishery while intending to catch other fish. By-catch consists of a different species, undersized individuals of the target species or juveniles of the target species.

CFC-11 Equivalent
A measure used to compare various substances based on their relative ozone depletion potential. The reference level of 1 is the potential of CFC-11 and CFC-12 to cause ozone depletion.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
Commonly known by the trade name “freon,” used primarily as a refrigerant in air-conditioning and refrigeration systems and equipment. CFCs are known to have destructive effects on the ozone layer. For this reason their use has now been banned by legislation.

CO2 (Carbon Dioxide)
A naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure, and it exists in Earth’s atmosphere in this state, as a trace gas at a concentration of 0.39 percent by volume.

Cold Ironing
Cold ironing is the process of providing shoreside electrical power to a ship at berth while its main and auxiliary engines are turned off. The term came into existence during the time when ships were coal-fired. Once the coal-fired ship was in port and attached to a shore-based power source, the engines no longer needed to be stoked by coal, and the fires would die down until the large iron engines grew cold. Hence, cold iron became cold ironing.

CO2e (Carbon Dioxide Equivalent)
A measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based on their global warming potential (GWP). The CO2 equivalent for a gas is derived by multiplying the tonnes of the gas by the associated GWP.

Direct Emissions (Scope 1 Emissions)
Emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting organization. For example, direct emissions related to combustion would arise from burning fuel for energy within the reporting organization’s boundaries.

Energy Saved
The reduced amount of energy needed to carry out the same processes or tasks. The term does not include overall reduction in energy consumption from reduced organizational activities.

Environmental Aspect
Element of Company activities that may have a significant impact on the environment directly and/or indirectly.

Environmental Impact
How an environmental aspect may affect the environment.

Environmental Management System (EMS)
An EMS refers to the management of an organization’s environmental programs in a comprehensive, systematic, planned and documented manner. It includes the organizational structure, planning and resources for developing, implementing and maintaining policy for environmental protection.

Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS)
Abatement technology used to reduce the concentration of air pollutants in engine exhaust gauges.

The amount of environmental impact related to a specific resource.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
A network-based organization that produces a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework that is widely used around the world. GRI is committed to the framework’s continuous improvement and application worldwide. GRI’s core goals include the mainstreaming of disclosure on environmental, social and governance performance.

Global Warming Potential (GWP)
A relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. It compares the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of the gas in question to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide. A GWP is calculated over a specific time interval, commonly 20, 100 or 500 years.

The set of rules (laws and corporate regulations), organizational structures, processes and relationships that affect the way a company is directed and administered. The concept of governance also embraces the structure used to decide corporate objectives and the means to achieve and measure results.

Gray Water
Wastewater that is generated from activities such as laundry, bathing, cooking and dishwashing.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG)
A gas in the atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect, which many believe is the cause of global warming. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.
Greenhouse gases greatly affect the temperature of the Earth; without them, Earth’s surface would be on average about 33 degrees C (59 degrees F) colder than at present. The greenhouse gases thought to be major contributors to global warming are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and biomethane emissions (CH4), nitrogen oxide (N2O) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC).

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Initiative
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative’s vision is to harmonize greenhouse gas emission accounting and reporting standards internationally. It aims to provide a multi-stakeholder framework ensuring that different trading schemes and other climate-related initiatives adopt consistent approaches to GHG accounting.

Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) System
The technology used for indoor environmental climate control.

Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO)
A type of blended oil used in ships’ engines, made from the residues from various refinery distillation and cracking processes.

A means used to measure the effects of sustainability management initiatives or the condition of environmental, social or governance issues.

Indirect Emissions (Scope 2 Emissions)
Emissions that result from the activities of the reporting organization but that are generated at sources owned or controlled by another organization. In the context of this indicator, indirect emissions refer to greenhouse gas emissions from the generation of electricity, heat or steam that is imported and consumed by the reporting organization.

Indirect Energy
Energy produced outside the reporting organization’s boundary that is consumed to supply energy for the organization’s energy needs (e.g., electricity, or for heating and cooling). The most common example is fuel consumed outside the reporting organization’s boundary in order to generate electricity to be used inside the organization’s boundary.

Injury Severity Levels
Work-related crew member and contractor injuries are classified as major, serious or minor, based on the following criteria:

  • Major injury: Any fracture, loss of any body part, loss of vision (temporary or permanent), dislocation of a joint or a ruptured ligament or tendon, hypothermia or hyperthermia secondary to environmental exposure that requires medical treatment, an injury resulting in trauma that requires advanced life support or any other injury requiring hospitalization on board or on shore for more than 24 hours following the injury.
  • Serious injury: Any injury, other than a major injury, which results in time off work for more than three consecutive days following the injury or that results in disembarkation without return on board.
  • Minor injury: Any injury that is not a serious or major injury and that results in time off work of 24 hours or more following the injury.

International Labour Organization (ILO)
The United Nations’ agency that seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labor rights.

International Maritime Organization (IMO)
The United Nations’ agency responsible for improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
An international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. An ISO Standard is an international specification that establishes a common framework of reference or a common technical language between suppliers and customers, thus facilitating trade and the transfer of technology.

International Safety Management (ISM) Code
International code for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention.

ISO 14001
Global standards for Environmental Management System developed by the ISO.

International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code
A part of SOLAS that prescribes responsibilities of governments, shipping companies, shipboard personnel and port/facility personnel to “detect security threats and take preventative measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade."

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Liquefied natural gas or LNG is natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4) that has been converted to liquid form for ease of storage or transport.

Marine Sanitation Devices (MSD)
A system that employs filtration, maceration and chlorination technologies to treat black water.

Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006)
An international treaty that provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world’s seafarers. The convention sets out seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work on a wide range of subjects and aims to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable and uniformly enforced.

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. MARPOL is one of the most important marine environmental conventions which was designed to minimize pollution of the seas.

Metric Tonne
1 metric tonne = 2,204.62 pounds (lbs.) = 1,000 kilograms.

Oxides of nitrogen that are a family of gases released from the combustion of fuel.

Ozone-depleting Potential (ODP)
The relative potential of various gases to deplete the ozone in the atmosphere.

Ozone-depleting Substance (ODS)
Any substance with an ozone depletion potential greater than zero that can deplete the stratospheric ozone layer. Most ozone-depleting substances are regulated under the Montréal Protocol and its amendments and include CFCs, HCFCs, halons and methyl bromide.

Primary Source
The initial form of energy consumed to satisfy the reporting organization’s energy demand. This energy is used either to provide final energy services (e.g., space heating, transport) or to produce intermediate forms of energy, such as electricity and heat.

Protected Area
A geographically defined area that is designated, regulated or managed to achieve specific conservation objectives.

Gases that are used in HVAC systems on board.

Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. This includes electricity and heat generated from solar, wind, ocean currents, hydropower, biomass, geothermal resources or biofuels, as well as hydrogen derived from renewable resources.

Safety Management System (SMS)
ISM code-certified system that informs employees how to perform their duties in accordance with all safety and environmental laws.

Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention
The most important and comprehensive international treaty governing the safety of merchant ships.

Significant Air Emissions
Air emissions that are regulated under international conventions and/or national laws or regulations, including those listed on environmental permits for the reporting organization’s operations.

Significant Spills
A significant spill is defined as a spill for which the monetary sanctions are $100,000 or greater and which is reportable in the Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Solid Waste
All used and discarded solid material produced on board during ship operations.

Oxides of sulfur are a family of gases produced by the combustion of fuel which contains sulfur. The quantity of oxides of sulfur is proportional to the quantity of sulfur in the fuel.

Any individual or group, within or outside a company, that has an interest in or may be impacted by that company, and that accordingly has expectations, requires information or holds legitimate economic interests.

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, which sets qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships.

Total Water Withdrawal
The sum of all water drawn into the boundaries of the reporting organization from all sources (including surface water, ground water, rainwater, and municipal water supply) for any use over the course of the reporting period.

The ratio of the number of terminations to the average employee count during the reporting period.

GRI Index

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G4.1 Performance Disclosures & Indicators

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half circle Half Circle: Partially Reported
empty circle Empty Circle: No Information Available

General Standard Disclosures

Information Reported (2014 - 2015)


Strategy and Analysis


Statement from the senior decision-maker of the organization

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Leadership Memo


Description of key impacts, risks and opportunities

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About Holland America Line (Report Overview); Regulatory Landscape

Organizational Profile


Name of the organization

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About Holland America Line (Report Overview);About Us


Primary brands, products, and/or services

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Corporate Responsibility 2015;About Holland America Line (Report Overview);About Us


Location of organization's headquarters

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Corporate Responsibility 2015; About Holland America Line (Report Overview)


Number and name of countries where the organization operates

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Corporate Responsibility 2015; About Holland America Line (Report Overview); Employees; Environment


Nature of ownership and legal form

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Corporate Responsibility 2015; Carnival Corporation & plc Investor Relations: Governance


Markets served

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Corporate Responsibility 2015; Community


Scale of the reporting organization

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Corporate Responsibility 2015; Employees: Workforce Snapshot; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 16–18)


Total workforce by employment type, employment contract and region, broken down by gender

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Employees: Workforce Snapshot


Percentage of employees covered by collective bargaining agreements

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Employees: Workforce Snapshot


Description of supply chain

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Significant changes during the reporting period regarding size, structure or ownership

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About Holland America Line (Report Overview)

Commitments to External Initiatives


Precautionary principles

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Report Parameters; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 26–27)


External agreements, principles or initiatives

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Regulatory Landscape; Safety, Security & Health; Environment; Employees; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 22, 66–80)


Memberships in associations

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Regulatory Landscape; Safety, Security & Health; Environment; Employees; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 85–87)

Identified Material Aspects and Boundaries


Entities included in financial statements and specify which are included/excluded from this report

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Corporate Responsibility 2015; About Holland America Line (Report Overview)


Process for defining report content and aspect boundaries

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Report Parameters


List all material Aspects identified in the process for defining report content

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Report Parameters


Boundary of the report within the organization

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Report Parameters


Boundary of the report outside the organization

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Report Parameters


Re-statements of information

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Report Parameters


Significant changes from previous reporting periods in the scope, boundary or measurement methods applied in the report

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Report Parameters

Stakeholder Engagement


List of stakeholder groups engaged by the organization

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 8–9)


Basis for identification and selection of stakeholders with whom to engage

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 8–9)


Approaches to stakeholder engagement, including frequency of engagement by type and by stakeholder group

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 8–9)


Key topics and concerns that have been raised through stakeholder engagement and how the organization has responded to those key topics and concerns

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 8–9)

Report Profile


Reporting period

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Report Parameters


Date of most recent previous report

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About Holland America Line (Report Overview); Report Parameters


Reporting cycle

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Report Parameters


Contact Information

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About Holland America Line (Report Overview)


GRI content index an in accordance option

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GRI Index


External Assurance

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 82–84)



Governance structure of the organization, including committees under the highest governance body responsible for specific tasks, such as setting strategy or organizational oversight

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Carnival Corporation & plc Corporate Governance


Mechanisms for consulting between stakeholders and highest governance body

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Carnival Corporation & plc Corporate Governance: Communicating with the Board



Composition of the highest governance body and its committees

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (page 23)



Indicate whether the chair of the highest governance body is also an Executive Officer

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Executive Team; Carnival Corporation & plc Corporate Governance


Process for determining the qualifications and expertise of the members of the highest governance body for guiding the organization’s strategy on economic, environmental and social topics

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (page 23); Carnival Corporation & plc Corporate Governance: Governance Guidelines


Processes in place for the highest governance body to ensure conflicts of interest are avoided

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Carnival Corporation & plc Corporate Governance: Business Conduct and Ethics


Processes for evaluating the highest governance body’s own performance

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Carnival Corporation & plc Corporate Governance: Governance Guidelines; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (page 23)


Procedures of the highest governance body for overseeing the organization’s identification and management of economic, environmental and social performance and if stakeholder consultation is used

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Carnival Corporation & plc Corporate Governance: Governance Guidelines; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 22–23)


Frequency of the highest governance body’s for overseeing performance

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Carnival Corporation & plc Corporate Governance: Governance Guidelines; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 22–23)

Ethics and Integrity


Values, principles, standards and norms of behavior such as codes of conduct and code of ethics

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About Holland America Line (Report Overview); Community: Supply Chain; Mission & Values

Specific Standard Disclosures


Disclosure on Management Approach — Economics

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 16–18, 50–53)

Economic Performance


Direct economic value generated and distributed

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Our Company Profile; Community; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 16–18, 50–53)


Financial implications and other risks and opportunities for the organization’s activities due to climate change

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Safety, Security & Health: Management System; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 26–27, 37)


Development and impact of infrastructure investments and services supported

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Community; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (page 50–53)


Significant indirect economic impacts

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Community; Environment; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (page 50–53)

Environmental Performance


Disclosures on Management Approach — Environment

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Environment: Management System

Aspect: Energy


Energy consumption within the organization

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Environment: Energy & Emissions


Energy consumption outside the organization

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Environment: Energy & Emissions


Energy intensity

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Environment: Energy & Emissions


Energy saved due to conservation and efficiency improvements

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Environment: Energy & Emissions


Reductions in energy requirements of products and services

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Environment: Energy & Emissions

Aspect: Water


Total water withdrawal by source

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Environment: Water


Water sources significantly affected by withdrawal of water

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Environment: Water

Aspect: Biodiversity


Location and size of land owned, leased, managed in or adjacent to protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas

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Community: Giving and Volunteerism; Environment: Biodiversity



Description of significant impacts of activities, products and services on biodiversity in protected areas

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Community: Giving and Volunteerism; Environment: Biodiversity



Habitats protected or restored

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Community: Giving and Volunteerism; Environment: Biodiversity



Total number of ICUN red list species

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Environment: Biodiversity


Aspect: Emissions


Direct greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1)

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Environment: Energy & Emissions


Indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 2)

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Environment: Energy & Emissions


Other relevant indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 3)

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Environment: Energy & Emissions


Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity

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Environment: Energy & Emissions


Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

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Environment: Energy & Emissions




Emissions of ozone-depleting substances

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Environment: Energy & Emissions



NOx, SOx and other significant air emissions by type

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Environment: Energy & Emissions

Aspect: Water


Total water discharge by quality and destination

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Environment: Water


Total weight of waste by type and disposal method

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Environment: Solid Waste


Total number and volume of significant spills

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Environment: Accidental Releases

Aspect: Products and Services


Initiatives to mitigate environmental impacts of products and services, and extent of impact mitigation

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Environment: Energy & Emissions;Environment: Water;Environment: Biodiversity

Aspect: Compliance


Monetary value of significant fines and total number of non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations

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Environment: Water


Aspect: Supplier Environmental Assessment


New supplier screened using environmental criteria

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Community: Supply Chain

Aspect: Environmental Grievance Mechanisms


Number of grievances about environmental impacts

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Environment: Grievances


Labor Practices and Decent Work


Disclosure on Management Approach — Labor Practices

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Safety, Security & Health: Management System; Employees

Aspect: Employment


Employee turnover

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Employees: Retention

Aspect: Labor/Management Relations


Minimum notice period regarding operation changes

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Employees: Workforce Snapshot

Aspect: Occupational Health and Safety


Percentage of total workforce represented in formal joint management-worker health and safety committees that help monitor and advise on occupational health and safety programs

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Safety, Security & Health: Employee Training; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 62–63)


Occupational injury rates

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Safety, Security & Health: Employee Training; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 62–63)

Aspect: Training and Education


Average hours of training per year per employee by employee category

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Employees: Training & Development


Employee career development

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Employees: Training & Development


Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews

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Employees: Recruitment & Retention

Aspect: Supplier Assessment for Labor Practices


New suppliers that were screened using labor practices criteria

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Human Rights


Disclosure on Management Approach — Human Rights

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Employees: Compensation, Benefits & Wellness; Employees: Labor Relations & Fair Employment

Aspect: Non-Discrimination


Employee training on human rights policies and procedures

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Employees: Labor Relations & Fair Employment


Incidents of discrimination

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Employees: Labor Relations & Fair Employment; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 22–23, 54–55)

Aspect: Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining


Freedom of association and collective bargaining

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Employees: Labor Relations & Fair Employment; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 54–55, 62–63)

Aspect: Child Labor


Operations and significant suppliers identified as having significant risk for incidents of child labor

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Employees: Labor Relations & Fair Employment; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 22–23)

Aspect: Forced or Compulsory Labor


Forced labor incidents and measures to eliminate forced labor

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Employees: Labor Relations & Fair Employment; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (Pages 23, 55)

Aspect: Security Practices


Security personnel trained to understand human rights

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Safety, Security & Health: Security

Aspect: Supplier Human Rights Assessment


New suppliers screened using human rights criteria

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Social Performance


Disclosure on Management Approach — Society

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Community: Our Communities; Employees: Workforce Snapshot

Aspect: Local Communities


Community engagement, impact assessment and development programs

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Community: Our Communities & Giving and Volunteerism

Aspect: Anti-Corruption


Percentage of employees trained in organization’s anticorruption policies and procedures criteria

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Employees: Training & Development; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 23, 54–55)


Confirmed incidents of corruption policies and procedures

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Employees: Labor Relations & Fair Employment

Aspect: Compliance


Monetary value of significant fines and total number of non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with laws and regulations

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (page 23)

Aspect: Grievance Mechanism for Impacts on Society


Number of grievances about impacts on society

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Environment: Grievances; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (page 23)

Social: Product Responsibility


Disclosure on Management Approach — Product Responsibility

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Corporate Responsibility 2015; About Holland America Line (Report Overview)

Aspect: Customer Health and Safety


Health and safety impacts of products and services

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 28–33)


Total number of incidents of non-compliance with regulations and voluntary codes concerning health and safety impacts of products and services during their life cycle, by type of outcomes

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Safety, Security, & Health: Health; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 28–31)

Aspect: Product and Service Labeling


Practices related to customer satisfaction, including results of surveys measuring customer satisfaction

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Corporate Responsibility 2015

Aspect: Customer Privacy


Total number of substantiated complaints regarding breaches of customer privacy and losses of customer data

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Safety, Security & Health: Security; Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (pages 58–59)

Aspect: Material — Compliance


Sanctions for non-compliance with laws and regulations concerning the provision and use of products and services

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Carnival Corporation & plc 2015 Annual Sustainability Report (page 23)

Safety, Security & Health

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For more than 140 years the safety and security of our guests and crew have been our highest priority. Every decision we make starts with these fundamental principles. We have established a safety culture throughout our organization, both on our ships and at our Seattle, Wash., headquarters. We conduct regular shipboard and shoreside safety committee meetings which help monitor and advise on occupational health and safety programs across the organization, representing 100 percent of our employees.

In 2014 the Corporate Health, Environment, Safety, and Security ‘HESS’ Policy Statement was updated and approved by the Health, Environment, Safety, Security ‘HESS’ Committee. This policy describes Carnival Corporation & plc’s commitments to Health, Environment, Safety and Security. The policy is signed by Carnival Corporate’s chief executive officer and president, chairman of the board and chief operations officer, which demonstrates the company’s accountability to safeguard the well-being of our guests and crew members.

Hiring the right people, providing and tracking completion of ongoing training, and adhering to rigorous standards are vital components of our safety, security and health strategies. As is the case in all areas of our operations, we closely monitor our performance and continuously strive for improvement, aiming to exceed regulatory requirements. In collaboration with our parent company and sister companies, we update our policies and procedures on an ongoing basis to leverage new insights and innovations. We share best practices among our shipboard and shoreside employees, our peers and other stakeholders to strengthen the impact of our efforts.

Learn about our Regulatory Landscape.


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An uncompromising commitment to safety is core to our company values. It applies to all areas of our operations, from ship design and maintenance to employee training programs and emergency preparedness. We’re proud to maintain an excellent safety record.

Management System

Our Safety Management System (SMS) is core to our company operations. It goes beyond the requirements of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code to address broader considerations such as compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006), workplace safety, resource conservation and our dedication to high quality and performance. It’s also subject to ongoing internal and external audits and inspections to ensure the effectiveness of our policies, procedures and continuous improvement initiatives.

In 2014 we developed a Near-Miss Reporting program, which we further developed in 2015, where we require officers and crew members on board our ships to report any sequence of events and/or conditions that could have resulted in an accident and/or loss. The information is used for analysis and trending, and recommendations are made to prevent near-misses from becoming accidents.

In 2015 we updated a significant number of our SMS policies and procedures (P&P) after going through a diligent review process led by Carnival Corporation which included all sister companies. This was done not only to standardize a significant number of key procedures but also to allow each sister company to benefit from the others’ best practices. The compilation of all revised P&P is called the Health, Environment, Safety and Security (HESS) management system (MS), which aims to ensure the consistent application of best practices across all sister companies.

As the HESS MS evolves, P&P will be constantly reviewed and updated, and shipboard management will be provided with resources and time to successfully implement any revised P&P.

Ship Design

Construction of the ms Koningsdam

Lloyd’s Register, our maritime classification society, establishes and maintains guidelines for the construction and maintenance of our ships. Adherence to these guidelines is monitored in part through the implementation of regulatory surveys such as the Passenger Ship Safety Survey, which is administered by Lloyd’s Register on an annual basis.

To ensure structural integrity, our ships have double tanks and a cofferdam and are constructed with a collision bulkhead near the bow. Subdivided into multiple watertight compartments, our ships can sustain flooding in up to two adjacent compartments and still remain afloat. As part of our everyday operations, we leverage computerized stability systems to support ship safety. We also have contracts with partners who can provide stability expertise from the shore on an as-needed basis.

Our ships are equipped with automated fire detection and suppression systems in all staterooms, galleys, control rooms, mooring decks and public areas. Galley exhaust, water mist and CO2 suppression systems on our ships are specially designed to isolate, contain and extinguish fires. We continue to invest in adding new fire safety systems and improving existing systems, leveraging proven technologies such as infrared detectors and infrared handheld cameras.

In 2014 and 2015 we conducted an initial focus of machinery space fire Prevention, Detection and Suppression (PDS) to prevent flammable liquids from leaking and/or spraying and thereby prevent exposure to any potential ignition sources. We accomplished that by fitting standardized spray shields and tape on flanged flammable oil connections. Our second focus was to eliminate hot spots or potential ignition sources, and we achieved that by fitting hot boxes on all engines and continuously monitoring temperature by means of thermographic cameras and contact probes. Furthermore, enhanced CCTV cameras with advanced smoke detection systems were rolled out to the fleet in addition to a bilge foam flooding system that required a significant company investment. We are constantly researching and implementing further improvements to prevent machinery space fires.

Additionally, advanced navigational, weather monitoring and communication technologies are critical components of our ship design. For example, in the event of inclement weather, our ship performance optimization system enables the captain to adjust route calculations based on forecast information and the ship’s specific characteristics. We’ve also invested in a fleetwide satellite phone system to ensure constant global coverage.

Employee Training

Accident prevention at our company is built on a solid workplace safety program that uses job hazard analyses and toolbox discussions to evaluate and manage risk. We foster a strong safety culture that allows our officers and crew members to learn from accidents when they do occur, reducing the likelihood of recurrences.

Our commitment to safety is reflected throughout our training and development programs. Shaped in accordance with the Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), these programs also address emergency preparedness, security, health and sanitation, ethics, company policies and procedures, regulatory requirements and job-specific skills. In addition, our employee-led Safety Committee is focused on sharing best practices to drive continuous improvement. For more information, view the Employee Training & Development section.

A significant portion of our employee training program content is dedicated to the prevention of shipboard accidents. Any injury sustained by a shipboard employee or contractor must be reported according to our guidelines, whether it occurs during working or rest hours, on board the ship or during shore excursions. In 2015 a total of 133 incidents were reported among our shipboard employees, impacting less than 1 percent of our workforce. We continue to strive for improvement in this area, and we won’t be satisfied until incidents are reduced to zero.

Emergency Preparedness

life jacket demonstration

Our contingency plans are designed to handle shipboard emergencies with immediate and effective support. In case of an actual emergency, our ships are equipped with life jackets, lifeboats and emergency supplies for every guest and every crew member on board. And all of our ships are equipped with emergency location lighting and broadcast communication equipment, including the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS).

Since 2010 we’ve implemented mandatory shipboard safety briefings for all of our guests prior to the start of each voyage. Upon boarding our ships, guests and crew members also receive written safety instructions in their preferred language. If more than 30 percent of our guests and crew members primarily speak a language other than English, we conduct the live safety briefings in multiple languages. We provide written safety information and a copy of the lifeboat drill safety speech to our guests and crew members who are deaf or hard of hearing.

In 2013 we opened a state-of-the-art emergency response center at our headquarters office in Seattle, Wash. Periodic announced and unannounced drills are conducted at the center to ensure shoreside teams are fully prepared to assist ships in cases of severe weather or emergency. To continuously improve communication during an emergency, we invested in a new tool that is also used by U.S. government agencies, public utilities, universities, corporations and sister cruise lines. This tool allows shipboard and shoreside users to communicate during incidents.


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As is the case with our safety programs, we’ve developed security standards that go beyond regulatory requirements to protect our guests and employees. We will not go to a port where our guests or crew would be presented with an unreasonable risk to their safety and security. Nonetheless, we are operating in a changing world which can at times present situations where we will be compelled to cancel a port call or re-route a ship. This is done only after careful consideration and in an abundance of caution to ensure the continued safety and security of our guests, crew and vessels.

screening luggage

Shipboard Security Teams

Our ships are staffed with dedicated security teams responsible for managing systems and enforcing policies around the clock. Led by officers who have extensive experience in law enforcement and maritime security as well as specialized training in investigations and emergency planning, our shipboard security teams are fully certified in accordance with the provisions of STCW, the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA).

In addition to the specialized training we provide for security teams, we require each and every shipboard employee to participate in security training in accordance with the provisions of STCW and ISPS, which includes Human Rights training. We also conduct regular security drills and exercises in coordination with government agencies.

The STCW Manila Amendments became effective Jan. 1, 2012, with a transition period until 2017, when all seafarers must be certified and trained according to these new standards. In 2015 we required all of our shipboard employees to participate in mandated security awareness training. This training was approved by our flag state and conducted on board by our experienced security teams.

Technology & Tools

We regularly upgrade our shipboard screening and surveillance systems to leverage technology advancements. These systems enable us to effectively monitor and control ship access and screen guests, crew members and luggage.

We also ensure all ships are equipped with the necessary tools for internal and external communication in the event of a security incident.

Since man overboard incidents occur in the cruise industry, in 2015 we started to conduct testing of the Man Overboard Detection System on board the ms Zuiderdam. The system includes thermal video cameras that record, detect and alert ship staff when a person falls overboard.


We respect the privacy of our guests and crew, and we have implemented policies and procedures designed to safeguard their personal information. We are compliant with U.S. and European Union requirements, including standards for protecting information related to the acceptance of credit and debit cards for payment. We also take steps to ensure the privacy of our website users. Our online privacy policy discloses how we collect, protect, use and share information gathered on our website.


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Our public health program is built around worldwide public health and sanitation regulations and best practices. The program and its implementation are monitored internally by public health specialists and externally by national and port health authorities.

Health emergencies and communicable disease outbreaks can affect guests’ vacations, disrupt onboard services and shorten shipboard careers. Therefore, the capability to manage evidence-based health interventions is essential. The need for robust health programs at sea is further highlighted by the ever-increasing complexity of the cruise industry business model. Ships have become larger and now carry populations that equal the size of small cities. Itineraries have become more remote, which can decrease access to well-equipped shoreside health facilities. Markets have expanded, potentially exposing guests and crew to new illnesses.

Furthermore, guests and crew have become increasingly sophisticated in terms of their expectations for evidence-based, patient-centered and culturally sensitive health services and facilities. Responding to these new challenges requires highly qualified onboard health practitioners as well as shoreside professionals with expertise in multiple health disciplines.

With regard to public health, our certified and well-trained subject matter experts focus on continually improving disease surveillance, outbreak reporting and data analytics and promoting high public health standards on board our vessels. This team responds to norovirus and influenza activity and is also prepared for other public health threats. As is the case in all other areas of the Health Services Department, the public health team is currently working toward the standardization of disease prevention and control activities. Plans also include standardizing internal vessel inspection programs and public health training.

Vessel Sanitation

All of our ships that call to U.S. ports voluntarily participate in unannounced, twice-yearly inspections by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP), which aims to prevent and control the introduction, transmission and spread of illnesses on cruise ships. We proactively share our experience and expertise in this area by contributing to the CDC’s periodic VSP operations manual updates, the most recent of which began in 2015. Areas of inspection include medical facilities, potable water systems, recreational water facilities, galleys and dining rooms, child activity centers, hotel accommodations, ventilation systems and common spaces. To pass an inspection, ships must score a minimum of 86 out of 100 points.

In 2014 25 inspections were conducted on our ships, with four scoring 100 points, 21 scoring 86–99 points and none scoring less than 86 points. In 2015 33 inspections were conducted on our ships, with 11 scoring 100 points, 22 scoring 86–99 points and none scoring less than 86 points. If a ship receives a less-than-satisfactory score, we take immediate corrective action.


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At Holland America Line we’re deeply committed to sustainability. It’s our duty as a corporate citizen to manage the environmental aspects of our operations, and it’s one of the most important actions we can take to ensure our business and our industry will continue to thrive in the years to come. We’re partnering with our employees, suppliers, peers and other stakeholders across our value chain to develop innovative solutions and share best practices that will enable us to collectively conserve energy and water, reduce waste and atmospheric emissions and protect biodiversity.

Management System

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Sustainability: Management System

We manage the environmental aspects of our operations through our Environmental Management System (EMS), which was recertified to meet the ISO 14001 standard by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance in 2015.

We have aligned our EMS with the comprehensive management system established by our parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc. This system, known internally as the Health, Environment, Safety and Security (HESS) Management System, aims to ensure the consistent application of best practices across all corporate lines. As HESS evolves and improves, the Holland America Line EMS evolves and improves, too.

We’re working to integrate sustainability into all areas of our business, with a strategic focus on optimizing our operations to maximize efficiency; exploring new ideas and technology to improve performance; and strengthening our data collection, analysis and management processes.

We established the following environmental goals for 2014:

Objective Baseline Year 2014 Target Units of measure Results
Improve Average VSP Score N/A 97.0% VSP inspection score 97.4%
Exceeded Target
Decrease Fuel Consumption Rate 2013 -2% Grams of fuel used/available lower berth (ALB) nautical miles travelled (NMT) -2.2%
Exceeded Target
Increase Recycling 2013 +5% Liters per person day 6.3%
Exceeded Target
Decrease Water Use 2013 -6.5% Liters per person day -3.3%
Approached Target

As our company’s systems have matured, it made sense, in conjunction with corporate sustainability goals, to look at a longer time horizon to properly establish targets and ensure continuous improvement.

In 2015 we established the following environmental goals with a target date of 2020:

Objective Baseline Year 2020 Target1 Units of measure Results Future Focus
Improve Average VSP Score N/A 97.0% VSP inspection score 97.6%
Exceeded Target
Continue to review Vessel Sanitation Program inspection reports and focus ship’s efforts on the areas that still need improvement.
Meet or beat the planned fuel quantity2 2014 -2% Metric tons of fuel +1.4%
Exceeded Target
Continue to:
  • Build new cruise ships to the highest energy efficiency standards available.
  • Make capital investments in the existing fleet to improve energy efficiency.
  • Plan efficient cruise itineraries.
  • Make daily operational decisions with energy efficiency in mind.
Increase Recycling 2014 +5% Liters per person day 6.4% Continue to monitor. Identify high-performing ships. Share best practices. Encourage and assist fleets to meet the goal.
Decrease Water Use 2010 -5% Liters per person day +17.8% Continue to monitor. Identify high-performing ships. Share best practices. Encourage and assist fleets to meet the goal.

1 The target date is FY 2020 for all goals listed above except fuel consumption. That target is set on a year-over-year basis.
2 The objective changed from Fuel Consumption Rate measured in Grams of fuel used/available lower berth (ALB)* nautical miles traveled (NMT) in 2014 to "Meet or beat the planned fuel quantity" measured in Metric Tonnes of fuel in FY2015.

We adhere to local, national and international environmental laws and regulations in the jurisdictions where our ships sail. Our environmental practices comply with or exceed the requirements of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships — also known as MARPOL — establishes regulations to protect the maritime environment from pollution that is either accidental or the result of routine operations.

In 2010 the IMO amended MARPOL to implement the North American Emission Control Area (ECA), which is intended to reduce emissions from ships traveling in the region. This ECA extends up to 200 nautical miles from the coasts of the U.S., Canada and the French territories. In the cruise industry the cost of fuel can be significant. Because lower sulfur fuel is substantially more expensive than higher sulfur fuel — sometimes the cost is nearly double — the fuel sulfur requirements can have a big impact on our company’s bottom line. In order to meet the new low sulfur fuel requirements in a cost-effective way, we are investing in technology called Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCSs). Learn more about EGCSs.

Learn about our regulatory landscape.

All of our shipboard employees have environmental responsibilities incorporated into their duties. They receive environmental training during their first day on board and are supported on an ongoing basis by our shoreside employees who develop policies and procedures and facilitate communication across the fleet. In addition, each ship in our fleet has a full-time Safety, Environment & Health Officer who oversees environmental compliance and implementation of procedures. Officers report to ship captains and have a direct line of communication to our shoreside environmental management team. Despite the many miles that separate our employees, we share common goals and embrace opportunities for continuous improvement through senior management meetings and our internal award-winning quarterly HESS Newsletter.

Energy & Emissions

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Sustainability: Energy

Responsible energy management is an important component of our sustainability strategy - it’s one of the most powerful levers we have to reduce our environmental footprint while supporting the bottom line. We’re making progress in this area by ensuring our ships are designed and operated as efficiently as possible while identifying opportunities to reduce emissions through the use of new technology.

Direct Energy - Fuel Use

We strive to save fuel - the primary source of energy used by our fleet - by purchasing new, more fuel-efficient ships; investing in fuel efficiency technology in the existing fleet; traveling fewer miles; selecting itineraries that allow optimum ship speed; maintaining equipment in accordance with manufacturers' specifications; circulating monthly fuel use data to support awareness across ships; and sharing fuel conservation best practices.

Our ships are propelled by diesel electric generators which are inherently more efficient than traditional marine propulsion systems because we can optimize the load between propulsion and other operational needs. A majority of the electricity we generate on board our ships is used to operate our propulsion system, while the remainder is used to power our lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

In 2015 our 15-ship fleet used more than 389,900 metric tonnes of fuel, generating over 16 million gigajoules of energy. As a result of our successful fuel efficiency initiatives, our 2015 ship fuel consumption rate — normalized for ship capacity and distance traveled — declined by 1.1 percent against 2014 performance. Between 2011 and 2015 we reduced the total amount of fuel used by the fleet by more than 16.5 percent.


We use high-sulfur fuel oil (HSFO), low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) and marine gas oil (MGO) to power our ships. LSFO and MGO generate fewer sulfur oxide emissions, and we use these fuels in emission control areas as required. In 2015 71% of the fuel we used was HFO while 29 percent of fuel used was LSFO or MGO. MGO use increased in 2015 primarily because of the changes in fuel sulfur requirements in the North America ECA.


Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by our operations are primarily from fuel burned by ships. These emissions include greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM).

Recognizing that GHG emissions are a significant threat to our industry, Carnival Corporation & plc set a 2015 target for Holland America Line and our sister cruise lines to reduce the intensity of emissions from shipboard operations by 20 percent against 2005 performance. Since we had met this goal, Carnival Corporation & plc decided to adopt a new goal for 2020 – reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions from shipboard operation by 25 percent against 2005 performance.

In 2015, our operations generated emissions equivalent to more than 1.28 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. The vast majority were direct GHG emissions from our ships’ fuel consumption. Our indirect emissions were generated by electricity purchased for our offices and our ships that have the capacity to use electrical power.

As a result of our ship fuel efficiency strategies, from 2011 to 2015 we successfully reduced our GHG emissions rate, which is normalized for ship capacity and distance travelled. Between 2011 and 2015, we reduced the total quantity of GHGs emitted from our ship operations by 15.9 percent. During the same period, we reduced our emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulate matter by 16.5 percent, 36.4 percent and 16.4 percent, respectively.

Refrigerant Releases

Our ships are equipped with cooling systems to preserve food and keep our guests comfortable. These systems use refrigerant gases - some of which can damage the earth’s ozone layer. In recent years we’ve improved our systems to minimize inadvertent release of refrigerant gas into the environment, and we’re also using refrigerants that cause lower impact to the atmosphere. Today all of our Vista- and Signature-class ships, which account for one third of our fleet, use zero-ozone-depleting potential (ODP) refrigerant gases. Across our fleet, between 2011 and 2015, releases of refrigerant gases decreased by 21.7 percent, and releases of ozone-depleting substance (ODS) gases decreased by 100 percent, as we had phased out ODS in refrigerant gasses we use.

In 2015, our goal was to achieve a 5 percent year-over-year reduction in the quantity of refrigerant gas released from our ships. We reached this target and will continue to work on minimizing refrigerant releases in the future.


Indirect Energy — Electricity Purchases

We purchase electricity for our office use and for ships that have the capacity to use electrical power at ports, also known as cold ironing, in Seattle, Wash.; San Diego, Calif.; San Francisco, Calif.; Vancouver, B.C.; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. In Seattle and Vancouver electrical energy is generated by hydropower, which produces almost no emissions of conventional pollutants or greenhouse gases. We supported these cities financially by investing in cold ironing systems, and we continue to support other ports by committing to the use of shore power. As we are relocating ships around the globe, we will assess and, when deemed appropriate, upgrade our ships and enable them to use electrical power at ports.

In 2015, we purchased 11,671 megawatt-hours of electricity for our offices and fleet.

We have updated our Scope 2 reporting to reflect The Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s recently released amended Scope 2 guidance, which requires the reporting of location-based emissions and market-based emissions. We have historically reported location-based emissions, which reflect grid-average emission factors. The market-based method requires an emission factor that characterizes the emission rate of untracked or unclaimed energy to prevent double counting of GHG emission rates among electricity consumers. We now also include market-based emissions, which reflect residual mix emissions or emissions from electricity purchases, where available.


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Sustainability: Water

Fresh water is vital to our shipboard operations. It allows passengers to bathe and stay hydrated, and it’s used to prepare food, sanitize kitchen tools and surfaces, wash linens and clothes and clean engine room equipment as well as staterooms and public areas.

Sources & Use

Our fresh water comes from three different sources: produced water (seawater that is either evaporated and re-condensed or produced by a reverse osmosis plant and treated with minerals and chlorine); bunkered water, which is purchased from port communities and stored in designated potable water holding tanks; and condensate, which on some ships is collected from our air conditioning units and used for technical cleaning purposes. We bunker water from ports where we know water is plentiful, high in quality and costs less than the fuel needed to produce water on board.

In 2015, our fleet consumed over 2.9 million metric tonnes of water. Eighty percent was produced on board, and 20 percent was bunkered, or purchased from shore. Because the quantity of condensate generated can’t be measured for all ships in the fleet, it is not reflected in our data.


In 2015, our operations used 251 liters of water per person per day. While this is 26 percent less than the 341 liters used per person per day in the average U.S. household, it represents a 13 percent increase in our consumption rate against 2010, our best water performance year.

In 2015, we increased our water consumption rate by 2.4 percent compared to 2014. We continue to strive for future improvement by leveraging water-saving technologies and educating our guests and crew members about water conservation.

Wastewater from Ships

All water that is produced or loaded onto our ships is used for its intended purpose and then discharged in accordance with — or often exceeding — local, national and international laws and regulations. This wastewater is separated into three broad categories named gray water, black water (permeate/treated black water, biomass/sewage sludge and untreated black water) and bilge water. In 2015 we generated over 2.9 million metric tonnes of wastewater. A more detailed description of our wastewater management practices is provided below.

Gray water is wastewater drained from cabin sinks and showers, galleys, salons and laundry facilities. It represents the largest volume of wastewater generated by our ships, and it may be treated or untreated prior to discharge, depending upon ship capabilities. It is always discharged in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. In 2015 we discharged approximately 1.4 million metric tonnes of untreated gray water, which accounted for 48 percent of all wastewater discharged from our fleet.

Black water is waste from toilets and medical facility sinks. Twelve of our 15 ships are equipped with advanced wastewater purification systems that treat black water. Some of these systems treat gray water as well. These systems use primary filtration, bio digestion, ultrafiltration and ultraviolet light technology to produce a discharge — called permeate — that is superior in quality to effluent discharged from municipal wastewater treatment plants in most communities. In 2015 we generated just over 1.3 million metric tonnes of permeate, which accounted for 47 percent of all wastewater discharged from our fleet.

On our three ships that are not equipped with advanced wastewater purification systems, black water is treated with marine sanitation devices which macerate and chlorinate the wastewater prior to discharge. In 2015 we generated just over 69,000 metric tonnes of black water treated by these devices, accounting for 1.6 percent of all wastewater discharged from our fleet.

On occasion, as a result of equipment malfunction or storage limitations, a ship may need to discharge untreated black water directly overboard where legally permitted to do so (outside 12 miles from shore traveling at a rate in excess of four knots and not within any protected areas). Except in the case of emergency, our policy requires a ship to first obtain permission from shoreside management before proceeding with a discharge of untreated black water. Such discharges are prescreened to remove plastics and other similar solids.

Partially treated organic waste (biomass and sewage sludge) is a byproduct of advanced wastewater purification systems and marine sanitation devices. In 2015 we generated approximately 123,500 metric tonnes of partially treated organic waste, which represents 4 percent of all wastewater discharged from our fleet. This is a 12.5 percent decrease since 2010 and we believe illustrates improved wastewater treatment plant operations across the fleet.

Bilge water is wastewater collected in the lower part of the ship, known as the bilge. This water contains oils released from equipment in engine compartments. To treat bilge water we use a cascade bilge water treatment system, which circulates and recirculates fluid through increasingly efficient oil-water separators until the oil content is reduced to below 15 parts per million. In 2015 we generated approximately 33,850 metric tonnes of treated bilge water, which accounted for 1 percent of all wastewater discharged from our fleet. The total volume of bilge water discharges decreased by 17.8 percent between 2010 and 2015 as our employees improved maintenance practices and minimized leaks.

Accidental Releases

We work hard to protect water quality and prevent accidental spills. When spills occur, they most often contain water, fuel, hydraulic fluid or lubricating oil. These materials are necessary for the operation of shipboard mechanical systems which are inspected, monitored and maintained by our employees. If leaks occur, they typically range from a few drops to a few pints or liters. Our crews are required to report any incident in which a sheen is observed on seawater. For internal reporting purposes, corporate standards require us to report any release of fluid that is in excess of 0.5 liter (500 ml). However, in U.S. waters, a spill that causes oil sheen is also reported and included in the total number of spills recorded, even though the volume may be less than 0.5 liters. In 2015 we experienced 13 reportable spills with a total volume of 335 liters.

In 2015, we paid fines totaling approximately $16,440 for non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations related to accidental releases. The fines paid during this period were for incidents that occurred prior to 2015; however, they were paid in FY2015.


We occasionally receive grievances about labor practices, human rights, impacts on society, environment, guest privacy and guest relations, among others. We evaluate and manage all grievances we receive within a reasonable timeframe. In FY2014 and FY2015 we did not receive any sanctions for non-compliance with non-environmental laws and regulations.


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Sustainability: Biodiversity

In 2015 our fleet generated approximately 62,000 metric tonnes of solid waste — the equivalent of 4.2 kilograms per person per day. Since 2010 the total quantity of solid waste generated on board our ships has decreased by 61.7 percent.

Of the solid waste generated by our fleet in 2015, less than 1 percent was considered hazardous waste, classifying Holland America Line as a small-quantity hazardous waste generator under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

Our waste management approach focuses on reducing the volume and toxicity of waste we generate. Whenever possible, we reuse existing materials and equipment, and we recycle where recycling infrastructure is available at our ports of call. We collaborate with stakeholders across our value chain to advance these efforts, donating reusable goods from our ships to nonprofit organizations and working with port authorities to identify additional vendors who are capable of recycling cruise ship waste.


Solid waste generated by our shipboard operations is recycled or disposed of on shore or incinerated on board. Recyclable materials are separated from trash and collected on all of the ships in our fleet. Our efforts to increase recycling include an assessment of some of our most frequently visited port communities in Europe. By following Holland America Line waste from the pier to recycling facilities and landfills, we learned about local regulations and infrastructure challenges as well as opportunities to expand and optimize our recycling efforts in the future.

At present, when recycling services aren’t available in port communities, we incinerate solid waste on board our ships or dispose of it at local landfills. Shipboard incinerators substantially reduce the volume of combustible materials such as paper and cardboard, transforming them into non-hazardous waste in the form of ash. In 2015 we incinerated 32.5 percent of the solid waste generated on board our ships. We disposed of 18.2 percent at landfills on shore.

In 2015 the only solid waste discharged to sea from our ships was 8,946 metric tonnes of food waste, which accounted for 14.4 percent of the total solid waste generated by the fleet.

The amount of hazardous waste recycled decreased by 92.8 percent from 2010 to 2015. We primarily attribute this change to new accounting practices which regard oil sludge as hazardous waste only in jurisdictions where it is classified as hazardous waste. In both cases the waste is recycled, so this also partially accounts for the increase in non-hazardous waste recycled.

EN 22 – WASTE BY TYPE AND DISPOSAL METHOD 2015 (metric tonnes)

Solid waste incinerated on board has increased by 1.5 percent since 2010, and solid waste disposed ashore over time has decreased by 33.4 percent since 2010. The most significant changes in solid waste management over time are related to the 36 percent increase in the quantity of materials recycled since 2010 and elimination of the discharge of ground glass to the sea.


The total quantity of actual recycled materials is decreasing over time due to our solid waste management.


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Sustainability: Biodiversity

As an extension of our commitment to sustainability, we strive to protect the earth’s biodiversity by minimizing water and air pollution and by responsibly disposing of solid waste. Below are a few examples of our other major initiatives to protect biodiversity.

Ballast Water

Ballast water is seawater that is pumped into dedicated tanks on a ship to provide weight — or ballast — at the bottom of the ship, enhancing stability. It has the potential to impact biodiversity with the risk of introducing non-indigenous invasive species when discharged.

Our current practice is to hold ballast water while in port whenever possible. If a necessary discharge is anticipated, ballast water from one location is exchanged in deep waters in transit, prior to arriving in another location, to avoid the transfer of non-indigenous species between two different marine environments. We record and report all ballast water exchanges and discharges as required by local, national and international laws and regulations.

Going forward, the maritime community is developing ballast water treatment systems to meet rigorous discharge standards. We have identified technology with the potential to meet these standards and are working with manufacturers as this technology is validated and certified.

Learn about our efforts to responsibly manage other wastewater discharges.

Marine Mammal Protection

Marine mammal strikes are rare, and we have comprehensive policies and processes in place to avoid these incidents. We observe feeding and behavior patterns of marine mammals; and if they’re sighted nearby, we’ll alter the ship’s course, reduce our speed and/or utilize additional bridge lookouts to ensure these animals are unharmed by our operations. In 2006 we developed a whale strike avoidance training program in conjunction with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This program trains navigators to identify different whale species and predict their behaviors in order to avoid collisions with ships. This program has been licensed to the U.S. government and is used to train maritime professionals across the shipping industry.

Right whales are divided into three species: North Atlantic right whale, North Pacific right whale and Southern right whale. Both the North Atlantic and North Pacific right whales are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. In order to protect particularly sensitive species, such as right whales, we require designated personnel to know the operational and reporting requirements of potentially sensitive and protected areas prior to entering, especially those in the northern and southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay

One of the most unique and memorable experiences we offer our guests is the opportunity to visit Half Moon Cay, a private island in the Bahamas that we purchased in 1996. We’ve collaborated with the Bahamian government to develop the island in accordance with the guidelines of the Business Charter for Sustainable Development, which was established by the International Chamber of Commerce. Today only 4 percent of Half Moon Cay is developed, and much of the island remains a migratory bird reserve.


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With every decision we make at Holland America Line, we’re mindful of our potential to positively impact the social, economic and environmental health of the communities where we operate. Our robust corporate giving and volunteerism programs help drive meaningful change at the local community level by supporting the efforts of nonprofit organizations and by channeling the passion and generosity of our shipboard and shoreside employees and guests.

Our Communities

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Port Communities

ms Prinsendam moore in Madeira, Portugal

In 2015 our ships visited more than 400 ports across six continents. We explore potential new ports of call on an ongoing basis as we strive to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our guests. Each year we receive dozens of requests from potential ports which are then subject to a rigorous review process. We typically select up to 10 new ports per year based on a set of criteria that includes geography, infrastructure, guest appeal and other factors. When new ports are selected, we work closely with port authorities, tour operators and other community stakeholders to ensure alignment and build lasting relationships.

We visit ports of call with varying frequency and adjust itineraries based on consumer demand and our ability to ensure the safety, security and health of our guests and employees. Due to political and economic volatility in parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, we shifted planned itineraries for several of our voyages in 2014 and 2015.

One of the most significant ways our business can make a positive impact in port communities is by creating jobs in the tourism industry. In 2014, our ships carried more than 815,000 guests and in 2015 just under 800,000 guests to developed and emerging destinations, supporting demand for hotels, taxicabs, restaurants, shopping and entertainment. In 2014 the average amount spent per guest and crew member during a port of call visit in the United States was approximately $127, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) (page 21).

In 2015 we received the Green Gateway Award from the Port of Seattle. We were recognized for our commitment to protecting the environment, including the practice of not discharging ballast water in Puget Sound and for using marine sanitation devices on board our ships. The previous year we received the port’s Green Gateway Award for our use of shore power and comprehensive practices to reduce emissions.

In addition to the Green Gateway Award, we received the 2014 Blue Circle Award from Port Metro Vancouver for our commitment to the environment, and we received the 2012 Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Environmental Protection Award from the U.S. Coast Guard.

In 2014 we were also honored as Business of the Year by the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA). The businesses, nonprofits and individuals who were recognized “all have a proven track record of community engagement and giving back, and they have been especially supportive of the LGBT and allied community,” said GSBA. See our full list of awards and accolades.


Antarctica scenery

In January 2000, ms Rotterdam successfully undertook the first large cruise ship visit to Antarctica. Since then, our ships have returned annually and sailed 48 times to the area. Preparation for the Antarctic cruises begins with the environmental permitting process. The United States is signatory to the Antarctic Treaty, an international agreement that regulates all activity in Antarctica. The treaty became effective in 1961; it sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and states that no nation can claim the territory as its own. Further, the treaty requires that any private activity in Antarctica be vetted for potential damage to the wildlife, fragile ecosystems and historic structures and locations found there. This vetting is done by each signatory nation; in the United States the evaluation is led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A key element of our successful Antarctic voyages is our relationship with IAATO, the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators. IAATO is an international member organization founded in 1991 to promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. It publishes extensive guidelines for Antarctic tour operations including emergency response, safe operation, guidelines for visits to specific sites (to ensure environmental protection and preservation of historic objects) and wildlife-watching guidelines. We were the first major cruise ship operator to become a full member of the IAATO. We put significant planning effort into ensuring the safe and successful completion of our Antarctic voyages.

Learn more about our Antarctica operations.

Half Moon Cay

limited development on Half Moon Cay

One of the most unique and memorable experiences we offer our guests is the opportunity to visit Half Moon Cay, a 1,700-acre private island and international bird sanctuary in the Bahamas. We purchased Half Moon Cay in 1996 and, in collaboration with the Bahamian government, have since developed only 4 percent of the island. Over the years we’ve worked to carefully maintain the natural environment while allowing adequate capacity for our guests and making a significant contribution to the Bahamian tourism industry. Since our purchase of Half Moon Cay, it has generated $150 million in taxes for the Bahamian government. Half Moon Cay has been rated as "Best Private Island" by Porthole Cruise Magazine for the past 11 years.

Supply Chain

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In 2014 we released our Business Partner Code of Conduct and Ethics. This Code is intended to help our business partners within our supply chain more fully understand and comply with our expectations for legal compliance and ethical behavior as this is a fundamental aspect of our core values.

We interact with thousands of suppliers every year globally. Before we engage with vendors, we complete all documentation, perform reputational research and complete a vetting process. We regularly conduct supplier visits while engaging in special projects or when purchases reach certain thresholds.

At Holland America Line we actually have two supply chain streams: technical purchasing (parts and services) and consumable purchasing (food and beverage items and housekeeping supplies). Due to the significant amount of “on the spot” purchasing in the technical supply chain, we achieve competitive pricing while ensuring quality by actively identifying key vendors that we acquire through a vigorous vetting process. We achieve competitive pricing while ensuring quality in the consumable supply chain by participating in global bids through AllBrands Global Sourcing, a department within Carnival Corporation & plc. By consolidating information through AllBrands Global Sourcing, we are better able to manage and control our supply chain processes since we are collectively working together with our sister brands. AllBrands Global Sourcing identifies key vendors through a vigorous vetting process.

From our vendors we require a 100 percent commitment to improving the quality and accuracy of the deliveries. We continuously work with our vendors to improve the use of carton and pallet manifesting and documentation. We no longer accept wooden pallets on board, as we transitioned to plastic pallets which are reused.

Giving & Volunteerism

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Sustainability: Giving & Volunteerism

In 2014 and 2015 we contributed $8.5 million in cash and in-kind donations to nonprofit organizations with a focus on health and human services, the environment, arts and culture, and maritime causes.

Our nonprofit beneficiaries are selected based on the recommendations of our management, Corporate Giving Team, Seattle Home Office Recreation Events (SHORE) committee and Alaskan Community Advisory boards. Together these groups determine how our giving and volunteerism efforts can have the greatest possible impact.

SO1 – Total Dollars Donated 2010–2015

SO1 – Total Dollars Donated 2010–2015 FY2010 FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 FY2014 FY2015
Total Value Cash Donations $1,466,700 $1,635,500 $1,392,800 $1,001,900 $1,437,400 $1,456,100
Total Value In-kind Donations $1,628,300 $1,595,200 $2,711,400 $2,409,800 $2,206,400 $3,478,000

total dollars donated graph

Nonprofit Support

We contribute to many local nonprofit organizations through sponsorships, board participation and employee volunteerism. We also support a wide range of nonprofits and philanthropic efforts throughout the United States and around the world where our premium ships sail, such as the following:

Reduced-fare Cruise Donations

We’re able to play a meaningful role in nonprofit fundraising efforts by offering reduced-fare cruise certificates for charity events such as auctions and raffles. Between 2010 and 2015 we offered close to 3,200 reduced-fare cruises. In addition, we contributed nearly 580 cruises at no cost to nonprofit organizations. Together, these activities provided a total value of $14 million to nonprofits.

In-kind Shipboard Events

Our in-kind shipboard event program is another unique initiative that enables nonprofit groups to utilize our ships as venues for fundraising, donor cultivation and volunteer recognition activities for our key partners. Over the past six years we’ve held 129 shipboard events in five home port cities, hosting more than 21,000 guests and contributing over $2.1 million to important causes. In 2015 we hosted 26 shipboard charity luncheons for over 3,800 guests in our North American home port cities and in Sydney, Australia.

Reusable Goods

As part of our Ship-to-Shelter community giving program, we collect reusable goods such as furniture, kitchenware, toiletries and other items from our ships and donate them to nonprofit organizations that assist people in need in the port communities we visit.

On Deck for a Cause™

On Deck for a Cause is our signature shipboard giving program that benefits six international cancer organizations located in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. Guests are invited to participate in a noncompetitive 5k walk on every sailing aboard all ships — nearly 500 sailings each year. The minimum donation is $20, and 75 percent ($15) is distributed to the organizations. Participants receive a T-shirt and wristband and are invited to a reception following the walk. Depending on the ship, the distance to reach 5k ranges from nine to 12 laps around the ship’s decks.

Proceeds are distributed across the international cancer organizations based on the number of guests sailing from the organizations’ respective countries. Our beneficiaries reflect our major business markets and include the American Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer Council Australia, Cancer Research UK, Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid) and KWF Kankerbestrijding (Dutch Cancer Society). Since 2006 we have raised more than $4.4 million for cancer support through our On Deck program.

Pacific Northwest Efforts

We’re proud to be ranked among the top 100 corporate contributors to the United Way of King County. In 2015 many of our employees based in Seattle, Wash., participated in the United Way’s annual Day of Caring, the largest single day of volunteerism in Washington state. That year our employees raised nearly $111,000 for the United Way of King County during our fall fundraising drive.

Fundraising drives 2014 2015
Employee pledges $107,700 $70,800
Fundraising activities $7,700 $10,000
Company match $53,800 (50 percent of pledges) $35,400
Grand total $169,200 $116,200

In 2015 we were presented with a Sparkie Award by the United Way of King County. The Sparkie Awards recognize organizations that make a difference locally through enthusiastic and innovative community work. Since 2008 we’ve worked closely with Northwest Harvest, Washington’s only statewide hunger relief agency, to help provide supplies to a network of food banks and meal programs. Northwest Harvest executives estimate that our employees have helped sort well over 260 tons (520,000 pounds) of food over the years.

We have a longstanding relationship with Ronald McDonald House Charities. In 2014 our employees volunteered more than 890 service hours and raised $6,200 in funding to host dinners at regional Ronald McDonald House locations. In 2015 our employees volunteered more than 860 service hours and raised $5,800 in funds to host dinners.

These activities served as meaningful team-building activities and helped support the nonprofit’s mission to improve the health and well-being of children.

In 2014 and 2015 we presented a $25,000 check to Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Uncompensated Care Fund. The donation was part of our partnership with the Seattle Mariners and their “K’s for Kids” program. For every strikeout recorded by a Mariners pitcher at Safeco Field through the end of the 2014 and 2015 baseball seasons, we made a donation to the fund.

We’ve also teamed up with the Seattle Mariners to bring the “Mariners Get Well Tour” to hospitals in the Northwest. Mariners players and the Mariner Moose visit kids and veterans at local children's and veterans’ hospitals.

In 2014 our leadership team took the Ice Bucket Challenge, a social media sensation that raised money for the ALS Association. The Ice Bucket Challenge involved people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same — all in an effort to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, most commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Those who refused to take the challenge were asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice. As part of the challenge, we also donated $5,000 to the ALS Association.

Another effort we undertake to support public health is our partnership with the Puget Sound Blood Center. Each year we organize multiple events at our offices and encourage our employees to donate blood. Over the past 22 years, these activities have supported the care of more than 7,500 ill or injured people.

University of Alaska Foundation

In 2013 Holland America Line and Princess Cruise Lines pledged a $1 million gift to the University of Alaska Foundation, whose mission is to build excellence at the University of Alaska. The gift will provide funding in three main areas: research and education critical to the health of the sea, training programs that prepare Alaskans for the tourism and hospitality industry, and scholarships that support Alaskans seeking higher education at the University of Alaska.

Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief Efforts - Holland America Line

Aided by the generous contributions of our guests and employees, we help support relief efforts in communities affected by natural disasters.

In early 2015 during a call to Vanuatu in the South Pacific, ms Oosterdam delivered much-needed supplies to the island, which was ravaged by Cyclone Pam in March 2015. Not only did Oosterdam collect cash donations totaling over $13,150 (and supplies from guests and crew), it also carried essential goods on behalf of Save the Pacific Foundation, which needed a way to get supplies to Vanuatu from Sydney. As the only ship departing from Sydney and calling to Vanuatu within two months of the disaster, Oosterdam was able to carry the supplies to the island.

In 2015, we also provided $15,000 for relief efforts in Nepal in the wake of April’s devastating earthquake to support on-the-ground teams distributing emergency supplies and aiding rebuilding efforts in the most affected areas. This was part of a much larger effort by Carnival Corporation & plc teaming with several of its global cruise brands to pledge $200,000 in total to relief efforts in Nepal.


In 2013 Holland America Line; Seabourn, which Holland America Line operates; and Holland America Line Foundation established the Cruising to Success Youth Scholarship program. Each year this program awards a one-time $1,000 scholarship to five dependents of North America/land-based employees and five dependents of non-North America/seagoing employees. Awarded funds are to be applied toward the costs of study (including tuition, fees, books and supplies) at an accredited higher education institution chosen by the student. Applicants are judged on their academic achievement, their level of involvement in school activities and the positive changes they are making in their communities.

In addition, since 1995 we’ve provided scholarships as part of our $100,000 pledge to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) to support educational endeavors. ASTA Holland America Line Scholarships are awarded annually to high-performing students pursuing travel, tourism or hospitality degrees at accredited colleges and universities.

Employee-driven Efforts

We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of our employees, who play a significant role in our philanthropic efforts.

Executive Leadership

We encourage senior-level leaders throughout our company to serve on nonprofit and community advisory boards as part of our Executive Community Leadership program. To date, our executives have shared their professional guidance with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, Alaska Raptor Center, Ballard Maritime Academy Steering Committee, the Seattle Aquarium, the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation, the World Affairs Council, the University of Washington, Seattle Theatre Group and Seattle Children’s Theater, among other organizations.


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At Holland America Line our employees are the heart of our business. To deliver on our commitment to service excellence, we recruit top talent, provide comprehensive training, create opportunities for development and advancement, and offer a competitive pay and benefits package. In keeping with our high ethical standards, we follow the complex employment laws and regulations that apply to our global operations.

Workforce Snapshot

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Sustainability: Workforce Snapshot

We have more than 15,500 skilled employees around the world who are dedicated to providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our guests. Despite the many miles that separate us, we’re committed to working together toward our common mission. Since 2014 we have conducted regular town hall sessions where employees have the chance to hear top executives discuss the state of the business and plans for the future. These sessions are intended to keep all informed and provide employees an opportunity to connect with our executives. In 2015 small-scale coffee connect sessions with executives were introduced which give shoreside employees the opportunity to talk directly with one or more of our company’s leaders in a casual setting.

A majority of our employees work on board our ships, and approximately nine percent are based in our shoreside offices. From 2010 to 2013 our shipboard workforce expanded, primarily due to the introduction of the ms Nieuw Amsterdam, a new Signature-class ship that joined our fleet in 2010. In November of 2015 ms Ryndam and ms Statendam transferred to our sister brand P&O Cruises in Australia.

Each of our shipboard employees works within one of three departments, all of which are ultimately under the supervision of the ship’s Master:

  • Our Deck Department is comprised of 1,541 officers and crew who ensure the safe conduct of our ships, provide security, respond to health needs and manage exterior maintenance.
  • Our Engine Department employs 1,718 officers and crew who are responsible for the engine room as well as the technical and interior maintenance of our ships — from power, propulsion and environmental systems to heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
  • Our Hotel Department consists of 11,066 employees who manage guest accommodations, restaurants and entertainment.

Of our more than 1,500 shoreside employees who work in our offices in Seattle, Wash., and Rotterdam, the Netherlands, a majority are in full-time positions, while approximately 22 percent are in part-time or seasonal positions. Many of our shoreside employees are responsible for selling cruises and tours, taking reservations and completing the financial and accounting transactions required for internal and external controls. Dedicated personnel in the United Kingdom and Australia are employed by our parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, and provide reservations and sales assistance to support our expanding international presence.

As an employer that offers equal opportunity to our employees, we hire both men and women for every department on board our ships and in our shoreside offices. A majority of our shipboard employees are men, which reflects a gender imbalance in the applicant pool for officer and crew positions. Female employees first joined our shipboard workforce in 1986, when we redesigned our sleeping arrangements.

As a truly global company, we embrace cultural diversity. We believe a variety of backgrounds and perspectives strengthen every area of our operations, from our engagement in port communities to our interactions with guests.

Approximately 83 percent of our shipboard employees are from Asia, specifically Indonesia and the Philippines, where we have long-term relationships with local employment agencies. A majority of our shoreside employees are from North America, which aligns with the location of our Seattle, Wash., headquarters.

Recruitment & Retention

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Sustainability: Workforce Snapshot

We maintain high standards for recruitment of our shipboard and shoreside employees and often partner with intermediaries to help us find the best talent.

Shipboard Recruitment

The recruitment of officers for our shipboard positions is particularly challenging due to intense competition for skilled labor in the maritime industry. To recruit strong candidates, we’ve built relationships with top naval schools and merchant marine academies in the United Kingdom, the Philippines and the Netherlands. Our hotel officers and our top-level hotel and restaurant employees are recruited from hospitality schools in Europe, North America and Asia.

We hire a majority of our crew members through employment agencies that act on our behalf. Though many nationalities are represented among our crew, our company has worked with the same primary employment agencies in Indonesia and the Philippines for several decades. We require our employment agencies to be certified in line with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006. We also perform our own audits of these agencies on a regular basis, monitoring their job assignment processes, recordkeeping, pre-employment screening and post-employment follow-up.

Detailed crew employment records are maintained in local recruiting offices and at our Seattle headquarters. The minimum age of employment within our fleet is 21, with the exception of cadets in training, new officers coming from the cadet program and a limited number of entertainment staff who must be age 18 or older.

Shoreside Recruitment

Careers in hospitality and tourism are attractive choices for high school and travel school students and university graduates. We support development programs at the high school and travel school levels and actively recruit at universities for internships and full-time positions.


We strive to promote from within and offer opportunities for advancement in order to keep our best performers. Many of our employees stay with us for more than 10 years, and we proudly celebrate multi-decade employment anniversaries on a regular basis.

Among shipboard employees our turnover rate has been relatively steady for the past four years at an average of 14 percent. Our turnover rate for shoreside employees has fluctuated over the past four years, averaging at 13 percent, due in large part to structural changes within our company.

We believe good communication, recognition, our commitment to an ethical corporate culture, opportunities to give back and reduced-rate continuing education all significantly enhance our employees’ experience with the company and contribute to employee retention. We conduct employee engagement surveys of all crew and employees every two years. The data we collect helps to identify and prioritize where to direct funding and resources to improve the employee experience. Our employee orientation program, “Your Journey,” is designed to help guide our employees through their career at Holland America Line. Additionally, we connect with new hired crew after 30 days on board to ensure they are receiving the tools, training and resources to succeed.

In 2015 we updated our shoreside performance review process. Instead of employees receiving an evaluation form, employees now have an informal conversation with their supervisor to discuss accomplishments and contributions, areas of strength, goals achieved and opportunities for growth. In 2015 100 percent of our eligible shipboard and shoreside employees received performance discussions.

One way we recognize exemplary service is with our President’s Leadership Award, which is granted to one shipboard employee and one shoreside employee each year and includes a monetary bonus. Employees can also show their appreciation of helpful co-workers through the monthly peer-to-peer recognition program called You Made a Difference.

Additionally, as part of our commitment to support employees in their efforts to contribute to their community, we encourage and offer programs for those who share their time and resources with nonprofit organizations through donations, board service and volunteerism. Learn more about our community-building efforts.

Training & Development

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training and simulation

Our uncompromising commitment to safety and sustainability is reflected in our training and development programs. Shaped in accordance with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), these programs also address security, health and sanitation, ethics, company policies and procedures, regulatory requirements and job-specific skills.

As graduates of merchant marine academies, our deck and engine officers are knowledgeable about all aspects of maritime safety and crisis management. They participate in our training programs alongside the rest of our employees in order to stay current with our policies and procedures, which are regularly updated based on enhancements to our vessels and changes in regulatory requirements.

Our training efforts leverage classroom sessions, supervisory guidance, e-learning programming and toolbox discussions to ensure employees are informed and prepared. This training is augmented by frequent drills that enhance skills and assess readiness.

We operate training centers in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Manila, the Philippines, where a majority of our shipboard employees are hired. Courses at these centers simulate cruise ship facilities so employees are job-ready when they report to their first postings. New employees must graduate from our training courses prior to joining a vessel.

Our Learning Management System, designed for both shipboard and shoreside employees, is a training platform that helps ensure training consistency across our large, mobile workforce. Leveraging scenarios, games and visuals, the system provides standardized training courses in personal and professional development for every employee at every location and skill level.

From the first day on board our ships, officers and crew members are introduced to the Career Roadmap, a performance appraisal and management program that prepares them for success. This program is designed to shape career direction and elevate job performance. For entry-level officers, technical or hard skills are emphasized. Hard skills are specific and teachable abilities that will be tested at the senior management level. Maintaining job-specific hard skills remains important as soft skills are added when moving up in rank. Soft skills involve personal attributes and character, such as being able to motivate and lead a team. The skill sets and the promotion criteria are a perfect way to practice and enhance communication skills. Whether mentor or mentee, open lines of effective communication create motivation that results in development and recognition of talents. Nevertheless, this is a two-way channel, and all parties are responsible for progressing, raising the level of experience and encouraging development for personnel.

At the start of each employee’s contract, the onboard Human Resources Manager proposes a customized training and development plan based on the employee’s position. While on board, the employee works to accomplish specific skills and develop his or her individual capability. In the following months, the employee receives training, feedback and coaching to meet career development goals.

To further support our shoreside employees’ growth, we offer HAL University, a learning program with three different curriculum paths: Professional Development, Career Essentials and Leadership Academy. This program includes more than 55 instructor-led courses, several of which are also offered on our ships as part of our leadership and supervisory excellence programs. In 2015 HAL University celebrated its final graduation with 74 graduates as it began its transition into Discover U, which has become our sole platform for all corporate training and development. Graduates each completed more than 24 hours of classroom-based training. With the transition to Discover U, HAL University courses were updated with new content, new courses were added, and courses were offered virtually. Additionally, learning opportunities outside of HAL University and Discover U were made available both internally and externally to shoreside employees. Internally, courses were offered to support newly implemented policies, procedures and software systems that began to roll out in 2015, in addition to Microsoft Office Suite trainings. Externally, we partnered with Kaplan University and Trident University to offer our employees tuition reduction for degree programs.

In 2015 our shipboard employees completed a total of more than 426,000 training hours at an average of 30 hours per employee. During the same period, our shoreside employees completed a total of more than 5,550 training hours at an average of 3.6 hours per employee.

Our training program includes e-learning and instructor-led courses on ethical conduct, as well as topics related to human rights, labor relations, customer privacy and social issues such as fraud and corruption, among others. We abide by the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) anti-corruption principles. We have adopted and implemented policies and procedures to prevent bribery and corruption. Our officers and employees receive training that is specific to their job responsibilities and exposure and are timely informed of changes to policies and procedures through our communication methods.

To continue fostering a company culture of integrity, honesty and ethics, in 2011 we formed an Ethics and Compliance Steering Committee. Comprised of middle management employees from all departments, the committee meets on a monthly basis to discuss current issues as well as the implementation of the committee’s goals and objectives.

In 2011 and 2013, we were proud to receive the Ethisphere© Institute’s Ethics Inside© Certification seal, which is valid for two years. This highly regarded seal is the only independent verification of a company’s ethics and compliance program and practices. The seal is awarded exclusively to companies that can demonstrate a superior employee and leadership culture that promotes ethical business practices and that have adequate compliance systems and programs in place to reasonably prevent compliance failures. We have also been named to Ethisphere’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies© in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The method for selecting World’s Most Ethical Company winners includes reviewing codes of ethics and litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers.

Compensation, Benefits & Wellness

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Sustainability: Sustainability: Compensation, Benefits & Wellness

We provide a competitive pay and benefits package that focuses on performance and results, rewarding employees for meeting specific goals.

For both our shipboard and shoreside employees, merit pay increases are tied to performance discussions which are conducted at the end of each contract or year of service, respectively. Wages for most of our shipboard employees are negotiated through their unions, and we pay competitive wages that are higher than many of these employees would otherwise earn in shoreside jobs abroad or in their home countries.

Our customizable benefits program is designed to be an integral part of our employees' overall compensation. We offer our employees medical, dental and vision insurance plans and also provide the option to add eligible dependents and same-sex domestic partners to plans at discounted rates.

Beyond pay and health benefits, another important aspect of our compensation package is the opportunity we offer employees to invest in their future and share in the growth of the company. On an annual basis, we provide a profit-sharing contribution equal to a percentage of participating base salaries, depending upon company-wide performance. We also provide a 401K matching plan which is available to all employees immediately upon hire. Shoreside employees have the additional option of purchasing Carnival Corporation stock at favorable prices.

We believe all employees should experience our cruise offerings from the guest’s perspective, so we encourage employees to apply for free or reduced-fare cruises of up to 14 days anywhere we sail when space is available. Our shipboard officers may bring family and friends on board as our guests at no charge. These guests stay with officers in their rooms and enjoy all of the officers’ privileges, such as access to gyms and other amenities.

All of our employees are eligible to participate in our tuition assistance program, which offers opportunities to expand job-related knowledge and skills by providing reimbursement up to $2,000 per year. Additionally, our shipboard officers are eligible to participate in our seagoing study leave program, which covers 100 percent of the cost of maritime courses.

Our officers and crew members work under contract, typically seven days per week, between three and 10 months in duration with typically two to three months off between contracts. We have formal systems on board our ships to ensure we properly compensate crew members for the hours they work and that they receive adequate time for rest and recreation. We also make every effort to help them strike a positive work-life balance by providing comfortable living quarters, nutritious meals, transportation, onboard recreation facilities, shore leave and shore excursion opportunities. We also promote events and activities designed to cultivate personal development, sense of community, health, spirituality and other aspects of wellness.

Labor Relations & Fair Employment

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Sustainability: Sustainability: Labor Relations & Collective Bargaining

In keeping with our commitment to integrity, honesty and high ethical standards, we follow the complex employment laws and regulations that apply to our global operations, including all of the provisions of the International Maritime Conventions (IMO and ILO) and Flag Administration regulations that are in effect for seafarers. We also recognize our employees’ rights to freedom of association and participation in collective bargaining. As of 2015, 80 percent of our shipboard employees were covered by collective bargaining agreements.

We maintain excellent working relationships with the unions that represent our employees. The Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) represents 100 percent of our Filipino officers and crew, Kesatuan Pelaut Indonesia (KPI) represents a vast majority of our Indonesian officers and crew members, and Nautilus International represents our Dutch deck and engine officers residing in the Netherlands and our British deck and engine officers residing in the United Kingdom.

Our longstanding policy is to afford equal opportunity for employment to all individuals regardless of race; creed; color; religion; national origin; gender; sexual orientation; gender identity and expression; age; marital status; veteran status; or mental, sensory or physical disability. On board our ships we have complaints procedures posted in all crew areas which explain to our crew how issues can be raised on these topics.

We strive to provide a workplace that is fair to all. All of our employees are required to complete our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics training which serves as a guide to ethical business conduct and covers a wide range of business practices and procedures including employee responsibilities, anticorruption, conflicts of interest, etc. Our employees also receive training on how to recognize and report misconduct. All employees are encouraged to report any harassment or discrimination concerns immediately to their direct supervisor, the Human Resources Department or the Legal Department. Employees making a report in good faith are safeguarded from retaliation. In the event an employee wishes to make a report anonymously, we have provided the ability to do so online or by phone. All reports of misconduct are thoroughly investigated and resolved.

We occasionally receive grievances about labor practices, human rights, impacts on society (climate impacts), the environment, guest privacy and guest relations, among others. We evaluate all grievances that we receive. Our goal is to complete their evaluation within a reasonable timeframe based on circumstances and legal complexity. However, thorough investigation may require an extended period of time to close some complaints.

Discrimination claims filed internally by shipboard or shoreside employees or through an external agency, such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, are investigated thoroughly by the Human Resources Department, assisted by the Legal Department. In 2015, one employment discrimination claim was filed in court which has since been resolved.