Water Conservation & Management
Onboard our vessels, water is primarily used by our guests and crew in their staterooms for showers, bathtubs and sinks but is also used for galleys, laundry, pools, whirlpools, spas and cleaning public spaces. We have focused our efforts on increasing water production on board with sophisticated plants that use seawater as the source, which reduces the need for the bunkering of fresh water. This is particularly important in countries where fresh water is limited and best reserved for local communities.
Figures are based on Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings 2019 water production data.
- Reverse Osmosis (RO) produces fresh and technical water from seawater using high-pressure pumps and sophisticated water filters and treatment components.
- Evaporators produce fresh water from seawater utilizing heat sources such as Exhaust Gas Boilers, Oil Fired Boilers or Wasted Heat recovered from the main engine high-temperature cooling system.
- Bunkered Water is potable water acquired in port for use on board.
Wastewater Treatment Systems
To treat wastewater onboard, all Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships are equipped with Advanced Wastewater Purification systems (AWPs). Wastewater is run through these systems and treated prior to discharge, resulting in effluent that meets or exceeds international regulations and many municipal wastewater facility standards. Our newest ships are equipped with the leading AWP technology that meets the stringent Baltic Standards. Every ship’s wastewater is tested quarterly by a third-party, and our environmental officers also conduct weekly water quality tests to ensure we continue to meet all standards.
Wastewater collected in machinery and engine spaces is known as bilge water. Collected bilge water is held in storage tanks and can only be discharged after meeting international, national and company regulations. To ensure compliance, all ships are equipped with an automatic stopping device and an oil content meter, which work to confirm the ship’s compliance. This equipment will analyze and record the oil content of the bilge. If the bilge water does not meet these requirements, discharging is automatically stopped and the bilge water is recirculated until these standards are met. The remaining bilge water that cannot be discharged is collected and landed ashore to an approved vendor.
To operate safely and comfortably, ships perform an operation known as ballasting, which helps to ensure trim, stability and structural integrity. Filling ballast tanks with ocean water helps stabilize ships, providing comfort to guests and crew. As water is discharged or as fuel is consumed, ships take on seawater to assist with stabilization. During this operation, some species are able to “hitch a ride” on ships and transfer to many areas of the world, including areas where they are non-native or invasive. Treating ballast water before release removes tiny organisms that may have been picked up in transit in order to safeguard local ecosystems.