Three major cruise operators—Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Carnival—will begin posting statistics of crimes committed on their ships starting on Thursday.
Murder, sexual assault, and theft are not the kinds of things you expect to find advertised on cruise ship brochures.
Starting Thursday, however, three major cruise lines will begin posting crime statistics on their websites. The companies voluntarily sharing the information with customers will be Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian cruises.
“Beginning on Aug. 1, we will include an additional link that would take guests to a list of all alleged crimes on Royal Caribbean ships,” Cynthia Martinez, Royal Caribbean’s director of global corporate communications, told the Daily News in an email. “The list will go back to the 3rd quarter of 2010.”
As of now, Royal Caribbean has a link on its website that directs customers to the Coast Guard, where industry-wide information on cases that have been closed can be searched. Going forward, however, the three major cruise lines will each share the number of criminal allegations like rape, murder and theft that have been made on their own ships.
A glance at the existing Coast Guard statistics shows that 26 cases of sexual assault have been publicly reported by the cruise lines since 2010, though the actual number of passenger complaints is much higher.
"Consumers deserve to know what rights and protections they have and, more importantly, do not have on their cruise," U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. said last week at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Rockefeller has introduced a bill to require cruise companies to disclose specific crime statistics, even those that have yet to be investigated by the FBI.
"Cruise lines are on notice that the safety and protection of their passengers is now their No. 1 priority, whether they like it or not,” Rockefeller said.
Of 130 crimes reported to the FBI by the cruise industry in 2011 and 2012, just 31 were made public, according to a newly released Senate report.
"It was interesting that the cruise lines all of a sudden decided to post crime data on their websites," Kendall Carver, chairman of the International Cruise Victims Association, told the Orlando Sentinel. "We are all pleased with that, but we will have to see what they post. ... The devil is in the details."
An estimated 10 million passengers took a cruise from a U.S. port last year.
By David Knowles, New York Daily News
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