Home Cruise Safely 8 Things You Need to Know About Cruise Ships and Safety

By cruising.org

The cruise industry is highly regulated, scrutinized, and transparent—more so than many other sectors of travel and hospitality.  A new “app” from ProPublica.org, which compiles all of the publicly-available information about cruise ships into a single database, is clear evidence of that truth.

Unfortunately, the alarmist tone of the accompanying article unfairly perpetuates misconceptions about the cruise industry, often based on false accusations by professional industry critics.

Cruise lines are leaders in the travel industry when it comes to providing transparency and informing guests of their rights to safety, comfort, and care. The well-being of passengers and crew always comes first, and the 2013 Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights is just one of many ways the industry has publicly and plainly shared that commitment. CLIA Members are proud of their record in operational safety, environmental stewardship and guest care, and publicly available data shows that the industry’s performance is outstanding.

Here are the facts:

  1. Allegations of crime are rare on cruise ships and a small fraction of corresponding crime rates at similar venues on land.  The data is available publicly: since 2013 more than 90 percent of cruise lines operating in North America have been voluntarily posting all allegations of serious crime to their websites, which are also reported to the FBI.
  2. The FBI, with field offices around the world, has jurisdiction to handle all investigations and prosecutions of alleged serious crimes involving Americans. If the ship sails from American ports, this is true no matter where the ship is when an incident occurs. Even if the ship sails exclusively abroad, the FBI has jurisdiction over all serious crimes involving Americans on the high seas.
  3. If a serious crime is alleged onboard a cruise ship that departs from or arrives in the U.S., the FBI must be notified immediately or the cruise line faces stiff fines and penalties.  The ship’s experienced and trained security personnel must follow stringent procedures in securing appropriate areas and gathering information for the authorities.
  4. Cruise line passenger contracts contain the very same types of terms and conditions that one finds in contracts for cell phone service, airline tickets, or hotel rooms.  These contracts, which must comply with federal statutes, are based on well-established principles of U.S. consumer law and have been upheld by courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, as reasonable and fair.
  5. Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships are uncommon —with 22 million people taking a cruise in 2014, the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program lists just nine outbreaks. According to CDC statistics, 20 million people in the U.S. come down with Norovirus every year, or about 1 in 15.  Thanks to crews’ robust focus on sanitation, the odds of a passenger being involved in a Norovirus outbreak on a cruise ship are estimated to be 1 in 12,000.
  6. Cruise lines manage pools with the safety of passengers and crew members in mind at all times. As with the vast majority of land-based hotels and resorts, cruise lines typically provide clear and conspicuous signs that a lifeguard is not present. With guidance from public health and safety authorities, CLIA’s member cruise lines continue to assess the need for further action beyond current practices.
  7. Man overboard incidents on cruise ships are very rare—and nearly always known to be the unfortunate result of intentional or reckless acts.  Uniform minimum railing and balcony heights, structural barriers, along with many other safety measures prevent passengers who are acting responsibly from “falling” off a cruise ship.  Although any one incident is unfortunate, out of 21 million cruise passengers in 2013, there were less than 15 overboard incidents, or about one for every 1.5 million passengers.  To put that into perspective, a person is 500 times more likely to be struck by lightning (1 in 3,000) than the rate of overboard incidents on cruise ships.
  8. International regulations and CLIA policies protect the safety, security, and fair treatment of crew members. Hours of work and rest must comply with international law, flag state regulations, and any applicable collective bargaining agreements, including the International Labor Organization’s Maritime Labor Convention, which protects more than 1.2 million seafarers worldwide that work on cruise ships.

For more facts on the cruise industry, visit www.CruiseForward.org.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.