From catching a bug to a cruise accident – people constantly wonder if a cruise ship is a safe option for a vacation. While the headlines in the media can certainly spark some suspicion with merit, it is important to recognize just how few of those cruise ship incidents actually occur. When those stories hit the headlines they are a big deal. But for the number of cruises that take place each year the rate of accidents is low compared to other forms of transportation – especially driving a car.
For example, in 2013, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were nine gastroenteritis outbreaks aboard cruises, seven of which were from the Norovirus, affecting about 1,200 passengers. To put that into perspective, more than 21 million people in the United States are sickened by the Norovirus each year according to the CDC.
While it is reported that there is a growing number of outbreaks at sea, that can be directly related to the number of people who are going on cruises increasing and the number of cruise ships leaving ports also increasing. It is estimated that more than 22 million people will cruise in 2015.
Beyond getting sick on a cruise, it is also important to weigh the chances of an incident on the ship or a passenger going overboard. There are several important facts that you must be aware of when determining if you are comfortable with a cruise as your vacation.
1) Ships must provide survival craft for 25% more guests than are actually on board
2) The U.S. Coast Guard enforces safety, security and environmental regulations for all cruise ships operating out of U.S. ports
3) Based on statistics of incidents – a cruise ship vacation is just as safe as a commercial flight
Those are just a few of the facts that people are generally unaware of when they are determining if they want to choose a cruise as their next vacation. Ultimately, a cruise ship is as safe as you make it – be conscientious of your health and surroundings, pay attention to the crew so that you know what to do in case of an emergency and know when you need to go with your gut instinct to keep yourself safe.