Royal Caribbean International

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Royal Caribbean International
IndustryHospitality, tourism
Founded1969 in Norway[1]
Headquarters1050 Caribbean Way, Miami, Florida, USA
Key people
Adam M Goldstein (President & CEO)
ServicesCruise line
ParentRoyal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
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Royal Caribbean International
IndustryHospitality, tourism
Founded1969 in Norway[1]
Headquarters1050 Caribbean Way, Miami, Florida, USA
Key people
Adam M Goldstein (President & CEO)
ServicesCruise line
ParentRoyal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Royal Caribbean International, owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., is a cruise line brand founded in Norway and based in Miami, Florida in the United States of America. As of May 2012, with 21 ships in service, it controls a 17 percent share of the world cruise market.[2] All ships under the Royal Caribbean International brand have had names ending in "of the Seas" since 1991. Sister brands are Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises and CDF Croisières de France.

Company and brand history[edit]

U.S. headquarters in Miami, Florida
Night view of the headquarters in Miami, Florida

Royal Caribbean International was founded as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 1968 by Anders Wilhelmsen & Company, I.M. Skaugen & Company, and Gotaas Larsen, Norwegian shipping companies. The newly created line put its first ship, the Song of Norway, into service two years later. The next year, the line's capacity was doubled with the addition of the Nordic Prince to the fleet. Continuing to expand, the line added the Sun Viking in 1972. After four years of successful operation, Royal Caribbean's Song of Norway became their first passenger ship to be lengthened. This was accomplished via the insertion of an 85-foot (26 m) section to the vessel's severed center. Following the success of this procedure, Nordic Prince was stretched in 1980. Royal Caribbean finally received widespread global recognition when in 1982 it launched the Song of America, over twice the size of Sun Viking and at the time the third largest passenger vessel afloat (after the Norway and the Queen Elizabeth 2).

Royal Caribbean innovated once again with its 1986 lease of a coastal property in Haiti for use as a private destination for its guests.[3] This destination is now called Labadee. After a corporate restructuring in 1988, the line launched Sovereign of the Seas, the largest passenger vessel afloat at the time. Two years later, Nordic Empress and Viking Serenade entered service for the line, continuing a rapid growth trend within the company. In the same year Royal Caribbean purchased its second private destination, Little Stirrup Cay, an island in the Bahamas, which they rechristened "Coco Cay."

Monarch of the Seas, the second ship of the Sovereign class, entered service the next year. The third ship of the Sovereign class, Majesty of the Seas, was delivered one year later. With a large passenger capacity and a growing market share, Royal Caribbean finally went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1993. Over the next two years the company experienced extreme growth. A new corporate headquarters in Miami, Florida was completed, and the Nordic Prince replaced by a new vessel, the Legend of the Seas.

The next year brought more growth. Two more Vision-class vessels entered service, the Splendour of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas. Also in 1996, the company finalized its contracts for 130,000-ton vessels with Aker Finnyards in Finland. The trend of growth and change continued into 1997. The line's oldest ship, Song of Norway, was sold, and two new Vision-class ships entered service as Rhapsody of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas. The company also merged with the Greek cruise line Celebrity Cruises and changed its name from "Royal Caribbean Cruise Line" to "Royal Caribbean International." The next year marked a transition to a more "strictly modern line", when the last of the company's older vessels, Song of America and Sun Viking, were retired. In 1998, Vision of the Seas came into service, the last of the Vision-class ships.

In 1999 the Voyager of the Seas, the line's newest and world's largest cruise ship entered service with much attention from the news media. The next two years saw the delivery of Voyager's sister ship, Explorer of the Seas, and the first of a new class of more environmentally friendly cruise liners, Radiance of the Seas, as well as the introduction of Royal Caribbean's "cruise tours Alaska", featuring glass-domed train cars to scenic destinations within the state and Canada. During Adventure of the Seas' christening ceremony in November 2001, Royal Caribbean made a $50,000 contribution to the Twin Towers Relief fund.[4]

2002 saw the debut of the Navigator of the Seas, as well as the Brilliance of the Seas, the second ship of the Radiance class. Serenade of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas were introduced the next year, and rock-climbing walls were made a feature of every Royal Caribbean ship. Jewel of the Seas followed in 2004, and the line's ship Nordic Empress was refurbished and re-christened as Empress of the Seas, which was later sold to Pullmantur Cruises in 2008. Construction commenced on Freedom of the Seas, the line's newest ship, at Aker Finnyards in 2005 and the vessel launched the next year as the largest passenger vessel in the world. In 2005, Royal Caribbean made history again with the massive refurbishment of Enchantment of the Seas, cutting the ship in half and adding a 74-foot (23 m) midsection. Grandeur of the Seas was rumored to be the next to have the massive refurbishment sometime in early 2008, but that never took place.

Freedom of the Seas' sister ship, Liberty of the Seas, was launched in 2007, and Independence of the Seas was delivered in 2008. An even larger class, the Oasis class, featuring the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas was launched in 2009 and 2010, guaranteeing Royal Caribbean the ship size lead for years to come.

In February 2011, Royal Caribbean announced that they had ordered the first of a new class of ships from the Meyer Werft shipyard, code-named Project Sunshine.[5]

In February 2012 they announced that a second Project Sunshine ship had been ordered.[6] In December 2012, Royal Caribbean announced that they had ordered a third Oasis-class cruise ship from STX France.[7]

In February 2013, Royal Caribbean announced the official name of the new class of ships developed under Project Sunshine: Quantum class as well as the names of the first two ships in the class, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas.[8] In May of that year, Royal Caribbean announced that they had signed a contract for a third Quantum-class ship for delivery in mid-2016.[9]

Royal Caribbean cruise ships[edit]

Each Royal Caribbean ship includes a top-of-ship lounge called the Viking Crown Lounge offering sweeping panoramic views, onboard rock climbing walls, bars, lounges, spas, gyms, a main dining room and alternative dining venues. The line has a special kids and youth program known as Adventure Ocean.

Oasis class[edit]

The first ship of this class, Oasis of the Seas surpassed the Freedom-class ships as the world's largest cruise ship in December 2009. It is able to accommodate up to 5,400 passengers at double occupancy and over 6,000 passengers when sofabeds and pullmans are included, has a registered tonnage of 225,282 tons and cost the line around US $1.4 billion. Oasis-class vessels have primarily sailed the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, but Royal Caribbean may also choose to deploy these vessels in other parts of the world. A second Oasis-class ship was ordered on April 2, 2007, and was constructed at STX Europe's Finland Yards (formerly Aker Finnyards), Turku, Finland. It was delivered on October 28, 2010 and went into service December 1, 2010.[10] The second "Oasis"-class ship is currently the largest cruise ship in the world.

Royal Caribbean International, in conjunction with USA Today, sponsored a contest to name the vessels.[11][12] [13]

ShipYear BuiltGross tonnageApprox. BerthsAreas of OperationHomeportImage
Oasis of the Seas2009225,2825,400Eastern/Western CaribbeanPort Everglades, FL
MS Oasis of the Seas Aft.jpg
Allure of the Seas2010225,2825,400Eastern/Western Caribbean, EuropePort Everglades, FL & Barcelona, Spain/Civitavecchia, Italy
Allure of the Seas leaving Port Everglades (cropped).jpg

Freedom class[edit]

The Freedom-class ships are lengthened versions of the second-generation Voyager-class ship, and contain a 400-foot (120 m) Royal Promenade mall running much of the length of the ship, an ice skating rink, basketball court, several pools, a mini-golf course, and a rock wall. New features on the Freedom class include the FlowRider surfing simulator, the H2O Zone kids water play area, a boxing ring, and hot tubs cantilevered over the side of the ship. At 154,407 gross tons,[14] the Freedom-class ships were the largest ships in the world until the debut of the Oasis class in 2009.

ShipYear BuiltGross tonnageApprox. BerthsAreas of OperationHomeport(s)Image
Freedom of the Seas2006154,407[14]3,634[14]Eastern/Western CaribbeanPort Canaveral, FL
MS Freedom of the Seas in its maiden voyage (cropped).jpg
Liberty of the Seas2007154,407[14]3,634[14]Europe, Short CaribbeanPort Everglades, FL & Barcelona, Spain
Liberty Of The Seas 22-04-2007 (cropped).JPG
Independence of the Seas2008154,407[14]3,634[14]Europe, Eastern/Western CaribbeanSouthampton, England & Port Everglades, FL
MS Independence of the Seas in Southampton (cropped).JPG

Radiance class[edit]

Radiance-class ships have a gross tonnage of 90,090. All ships have environmentally friendlier gas turbine engines. The Radiance-class ships have over 3 acres (12,000 m2) of glass, glass exterior viewing elevators, over 700 balcony staterooms, two-level glass windowed dining rooms, alternative restaurants, a retractable glass roof over a pool, an outdoor pool, as well as the first self-leveling billiard tables at sea. The Radiance class ships were constructed at Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany. Unlike the preceding Voyager class, these ships are built to the Panamax form factor, allowing them to pass through the Panama Canal.

ShipYear BuiltGross tonnageApprox. BerthsAreas of OperationHomeport(s)Image
Radiance of the Seas200190,090[14]2,143[14]Alaska, Australia/New Zealand/South PacificHonolulu, Hawaii; Canada; Australia; & San Juan, PR
Rcclradiance (cropped).JPG
Brilliance of the Seas200290,090[14]2,112[14]Europe, Western/Southern Caribbean, Canada/New EnglandTampa, FL; Boston, Mass.; & Harwich, England
BOS at Valetta 121410 (cropped).JPG
Serenade of the Seas200390,090[14]2,110[14]Western Caribbean, Europe, Middle EastNew Orleans, LA & Barcelona, Spain
RCI Serenade of the Seas.JPG
Jewel of the Seas200490,090[14]2,112[14]Short Western Caribbean, South CaribbeanSan Juan, Puerto Rico
Jewel of the Seas (cropped).jpg

Voyager class[edit]

The fifth largest passenger ships at sea (behind the Oasis class, Freedom class, Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Epic and Cunard's Queen Mary 2), the Voyager-class ships were the largest class of cruise ships in the world when built and were the first ships to have an ice rink at sea and have Royal Caribbean's iconic Royal Promenade. They were built at Kvaerner Masa-Yards' (now STX Europe) facility in Turku, Finland. They have a gross tonnage of around 137,000 tonnes. These ships include a 350-foot (110 m) indoor mall known as the Royal Promenade, featuring indoor pubs, shops, cafes, and bars. Activity options on all five ships board include a basketball court, at least 3 pools, a mini-golf course, a rock wall, an ice skating rinkand, originally, an inline skating track. Navigator of the Seas replaced the inline skating track with a Flowrider surf simulator in 2014, and similar upgrades are planned for Voyager and Explorer.[15]

Navigator of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas are second-generation Voyager-class vessels, and feature glass stateroom balconies that extend out from the superstructure of the ship and a larger Windjammer buffet area.

ShipYear BuiltGross tonnageApprox. BerthsAreas of OperationHomeport(s)Image
Voyager of the Seas1999137,276[14]3,114[14]AsiaChina/Australia
Voyager of the seas1.jpg
Explorer of the Seas2000137,308[14]3,114[14]Eastern/Southern Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada/New EnglandCape Liberty, NJ & Port Canaveral, FL
Explorer of the Seas Bayonne (cropped).jpg
Adventure of the Seas2001137,276[14]3,114[14]Southern Caribbean, EuropeSouthampton, England and San Juan, Puerto Rico
Adventure of the Seas ship.jpg
Navigator of the Seas2002138,279[14]3,114[14]Western Caribbean, EuropeGalveston, TX
Navigator of The Seas at Linnahall 10 June 2007 (cropped).jpg
Mariner of the Seas2003138,279[14]3,114[14]Western Caribbean, AsiaSingapore & China
Mariner of the Seas Crete.jpg

Vision class[edit]

Technically speaking, the Vision class consists of three pairs of sister ships and is not a "class" of ships in the same sense as the Radiance, Freedom, Voyager, or Oasis classes. Legend and Splendour, built at Chantiers de l'Atlantique, Saint-Nazaire, France have a gross tonnage of approximately 70,000 and are the only ones which have a golf course. Grandeur and Enchantment were built at Kvaerner Masa-Yards, Helsinki, Finland and had an original tonnage of approximately 73,000 GT. The final pair, Rhapsody and Vision were also built at Chantiers de l'Atlantique, and have a tonnage of 78,000 GT. In 2005, a 74-foot (23 m) midsection was added to Enchantment of the Seas, bringing its tonnage to over 80,000 GT. All ships of this class feature over 2 acres (8,100 m2) of glass.

ShipYear BuiltGross tonnageApprox. BerthsAreas of OperationHomeport(s)Image
Legend of the Seas199569,130[14]1,804[14]Asia, Europe, Eastern/Southern Caribbean, Panama CanalEurope, Canada, & USA
Legend of the Seas (1) (cropped).jpg
Splendour of the Seas199669,130[14]1,804[14]Europe, BrazilVenice, Italy; São Paulo, Brazil; & Barcelona, Spain
Splendour of the Seas (Split, HR, 2011-07-14) (cropped).jpg
Grandeur of the Seas199673,817[14]1,950[14]Southern/Eastern/Western Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada/New EnglandBaltimore, MD
Rhapsody of the Seas199778,491[14]1,998[14]Australia/New Zealand, AlaskaSeattle, WA; Sydney, Australia
Rhapsody of the Seas in Sydney (cropped).jpg
Enchantment of the Seas199782,910[14]2,252[14]Eastern/Western Caribbean, BahamasPort Canaveral, FL
Enchantment of the Seas.jpg
Vision of the Seas199878,340[14]2,000[14]Europe, Southern/Eastern Caribbean, Panama CanalPort Everglades, FL; Miami, FL; Stockholm, Sweden; & Copenhagen, Denmark

Sovereign class[edit]

At approximately 73,000 GT, these were the first "mega-ships" in the industry (with the exception of the SS Norway, an ocean liner converted into a cruise ship), built at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The first one, Sovereign of the Seas, was launched in 1988. The Sovereign-class ships were the first cruise ships to have an open atrium area.[16] Like larger Royal Caribbean ships, the Sovereign-class ships have pools, open bars and lounges inside, and grand theaters.

Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas were transferred to the fleet of Pullmantur Cruises in October 2008 and April 2013, respectively.[17][18][19]

ShipYear BuiltGross tonnageApprox. BerthsAreas of OperationHomeport(s)Image
Majesty of the Seas199274,007[14]2,350[14]BahamasMiami, FL

Future fleet[edit]

ShipClassEstimated CompletionCurrent StatusApprox. BerthsGross tonnagePlanned Home Port(s)Notes
Quantum of the Seas[20]Quantum classFall 2014Keel laid August 2013[21]4,180167,800[22]Bayonne, New Jersey[23]First ship of the Quantum class, the second largest class of passenger ship in the world.
Anthem of the Seas[20]Quantum classSpring 2015Keel laid November 2013[24]4,180167,800[22]Southampton, England and Port Everglades, FL[25]Sister ship to Quantum of the Seas
TBAQuantum classMid-2016[9]Planned4,180[9]167,800[9]TBA3rd Quantum-class cruise ship
TBAOasis classSummer 2016Steel cutting began September 20135,400227,700[26]TBA3rd and largest Oasis-class cruise ship. Planned to be largest passenger ship in the world.

Retired ships[edit]

Former RCI ships no longer in the fleet
Ship Name with Royal CaribbeanYear BuiltYear RetiredCurrent StatusCurrent NameCurrent OperatorCurrent Home Port(s)NotesImage
Song of Norway19701997Sold for scrap[27]Formosa QueenAsia Star CruisesGuangzhou, China
Sundream (cropped).JPG
Nordic Prince19711995Not in serviceM/V Ocean Star PacificPV Enterprises International
MV Aquamarine off Patmos (cropped).jpg
Sun Viking19721998Operating as a floating casinoOriental DragonOCEANIC GROUP INTL LTDHong Kong
Omar III Exterior (cropped).jpg
Song of America19821999OperatingMS Louis OlympiaLouis Cruise LinesAthens, Greece/Kusadasi, Turkey
Thomson Destiny (cropped).jpg
Viking Serenade19822002Operating under Thomson's all-inclusive Island Cruises brandMS Island EscapeThomson CruisesPalma, MajorcaEntered service with Royal Caribbean in 1990.
Island Escape (cropped).JPG
Nordic Empress/Empress of the Seas19902008OperatingMS EmpressPullmantur CruisesSpain/Malmö, SwedenRenamed Empress of the Seas in 2004
NordicEmp1 (cropped).jpg
Sovereign of the Seas19872008OperatingMS SovereignPullmantur CruisesBarcelona, Spain/Rome, Italy/Genoa, ItalySovereign class
RCI Sovereign of the Seas (cropped).jpg
Monarch of the Seas19912013OperatingMS MonarchPullmantur CruisesCaracas, Venezuela/Colon, Panama/Cartagena, Colombia/ArubaSovereign class
Monarch of the Seas (cropped).JPG

Ship Amenities[edit]

As of 14 May 2013 (2013-05-14), complementary amenities available on all ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet include in-stateroom televisions and telephones, a main theater featuring Broadway-style and headliner shows, a rock climbing wall, a basketball court, an indoor fitness center, a multi-story main dining room, the Windjammer buffet, 24-hour room service, the Adventure Ocean children's program, a multi-deck atrium with glass elevators, and multiple lounges (including the signature Viking Crown Lounge located at the top of the ship surrounding the funnels). Paid amenities on all ships include ship-to-shore calls from stateroom telephones, WiFi and cell phone access at sea, a casino, bingo, a full-service spa, and multiple shops and bars. Other amenities that are not specific to one specific ship or class of ship are shown below (amenities in italics are available to all guests and are complementary):[28]

ShipOutdoor PoolsIndoor PoolsHot TubsFlow- ridersMini GolfOutdoor Movie ScreenIce RinkRoyal PromenadeCentrum Aerial ShowPark CaféBoardwalk Dog HouseJohnny RocketsBen & Jerry'sCupcake CupboardItalian RestaurantChops GrilleIzumi Asian CuisineMexican RestaurantSamba GrillChef's TableCoke FreestyleConcierge ClubDiamond ClubNurseryDream Works ExperienceNight club
Oasis of the Seas6No102YesYesYesYesNoYesNoYesNoYesGiovanni's TableYesYesNoNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Allure of the Seas6No102YesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesNoYesGiovanni's TableYesYesRita's CantinaYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Freedom of the Seas3No71YesYesYesYesNoNoNoYesYesYesPortofinoYesNoNoNoNoYesYesYesYesYesYes
Liberty of the Seas3No71YesYesYesYesNoNoNoYesYesYesPortofinoYesNoNoNoNoNoYesYesYesYesYes
Independence of the Seas3No71YesYesYesYesNoNoNoYesYesYesGiovanni's TableYesNoNoNoNoNoYesYesYesNoYes
Radiance of the Seas113NoYesYesNoNoNoYesYesNoNoNoGiovanni's TableYesYesRita's CantinaYesYesNoYesYesYesNoYes
Brilliance of the Seas113NoYesYesNoNoYesYesNoNoNoNoGiovanni's TableYesYesRita's CantinaNoYesNoYesYesYesNoYes
Serenade of the Seas113NoYesYesNoNoYesYesNoNoNoNoGiovanni's TableYesYesRita's CantinaNoYesNoYesYesYesNoYes
Jewel of the Seas113NoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoPortofinoYesNoNoNoNoYesYesNoNoNoYes
Voyager of the Seas3No7Planned 2014YesPlanned 2014YesYesNoNoNoYesYesNoPortofinoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNoYesYes
Explorer of the Seas3No7Planned 2015YesPlanned 2015YesYesNoNoNoYesYesNoPortofinoNoNoNoNoNoYesYesNoNoNoYes
Adventure of the Seas3No7NoYesPlanned 2014[29]YesYesNoNoNoYesYesPlanned 2014[29]Portofino* [29]NoNoNoNoNoNoYesPlanned 2014[29]NoNoYes
Navigator of the Seas3No71YesYesYesYesNoNoNoYesYesYesGiovanni's TableYesYesSaborNoNoNoYesYesYesNoYes
Mariner of the Seas3No7NoYesYesYesYesNoNoYesYesYesNoGiovanni's TableYesNoNoNoNoNoYesYesYesYesYes
Legend of the Seas114NoYesYesNoNoYesYesNoNoYesYesNoYesYesNoNoYesNoYesYesYesNoNo
Splendour of the Seas114NoYesYesNoNoYesYesYesNoNoNoNoYesYesNoNoYesNoYesYesYesNoNo
Grandeur of the Seas216NoNoYesNoNoYesYesNoNoYesNoGiovanni's TableYesYesNoNoYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
Rhapsody of the Seas116NoNoYesNoNoYesYesNoNoYesNoGiovanni's TableYesYesNoNoYesNoYesYesYesNoNo
Enchantment of the Seas216NoNoYesNoNoNoYesNoNoYesNoNoYesNoNoNoNoYesYesYesYesNoNo
Vision of the Seas116NoNoYesNoNoYesYesNoNoNoNoGiovanni's TableYesYesNoNoYesNoYesYesYesNoNo
Majesty of the Seas2No2NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNo

*Portofino planned to be replaced with Giovanni's Table during an upcoming refurbishment.

Private resorts[edit]

Royal Caribbean operates two privately owned resorts that are used as stops on some Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries. They are Labadee, a resort on the northern coast of Haiti; and Coco Cay, a private island in the Berry Islands region of The Bahamas. Each resort features canopies for eating, lounge chairs, palm trees, and white sand beaches.


Docking in Haiti[edit]

In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Royal Caribbean Cruise lines continued docking cruise ships at the Labadee resort despite the ongoing humanitarian crisis . While the ships delivered relief supplies to the affected and the company has promised to donate all proceeds from the visit to help the earthquake victims, many passengers on board the cruise ships were "sickened" by the company's decision to dock in Haiti. Associate vice president John Weis defended the company's decision by stating that the company had "tremendous opportunities to use our ships as transport vessels for relief supplies and personnel to Haiti ... Simply put, we cannot abandon Haiti now that they need us most." The Labadee resort, located over 60 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, is on lease to the company from the Government of Haiti.[30][31]

George Allen Smith case[edit]

On July 5, 2005, passengers on board the Brilliance of the Seas reported what appeared to be blood on a part of the ship below the passenger balconies. After a search, George Allen Smith was discovered to be missing and thought to have fallen overboard. A criminal investigation into possible foul play was conducted, and a brief press release on the company's investor relations website announced the settlement of the case,[32] later revealed to be more than $1 million.[33]

Environmental record[edit]

In 1998 and 1999, the company was fined US$9 million because one of its ships, the Sovereign of the Seas, had repeatedly dumped oily waste into the ocean and tried to hide this using false records, including fake piping diagrams given to the US Coast Guard. Because the company was and is incorporated in Liberia, Royal Caribbean argued that this case was not in the jurisdiction of US courts. Despite their argument, they were unsuccessful.[34]


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  18. ^ ><Monarch amplia frota da Pullmantur em 2013><PressTur><
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  28. ^ "NOW OUR BEST SHIP IS EVERY SHIP.". Royal Caribbean International. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
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  33. ^ "Judge uphold widow's settlement". AP/AOL. May 2, 2008. Retrieved May 10, 2008. [dead link]
  34. ^ "U.S. keeps wary eye on cruise ships for more pollution". USA Today. November 8, 2002. Retrieved May 14, 2008. 

External links[edit]