Today Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that they will begin employing lifeguards at their family pools this summer. I have been advocating for years that cruise ship companies should step up to the plate and pay the money to put lifeguards at the swimming attractions onboard cruise ships. These days, mega cruise ships have major swimming attractions, and drowning is a serious risk aboard these cruise ships. I have seen way too many drownings that could have been prevented.
Previously, Disney cruise lines was the only cruise ship company that had decided to place lifeguards at the swimming attractions on board their ships after the near-drowning of a four-year-old on one of their cruises. However, despite the fact that drownings continued on board cruises, the other major cruise ship companies including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess and Holland America Lines, continued to not have lifeguards on their ships.
We recently reported that Royal Caribbean stepped up to the plate and finally put lifeguards onboard their ships after additional drownings occurred. Unfortunately,multiple cruise ship drownings had to occur to get the cruise lines attention regarding such an important aspect of safety when operating water amusements onboard their ships. As I have reported many times, the shipboard activities onboard these mega cruise ships pose serious safety risks, as many of these attractions are built for land. Having these attractions on a floating hotel with thousands of passengers, including an environment where alcohol consumption is rampant and children are present, poses a serious safety risk. This means that all reasonably available safe guards must be implemented by the cruise ship companies to protect the passengers, and they should not put profits ahead of safety.
In fact, it has just been reported that Norwegian Cruise Line is building another mega cruise liner that is going to have a Ferrari racing track onboard its ship, where people are going to be able to race small speed cars around the track at sea. This will be interesting to see what additional safety risks will be present with such an activity onboard a cruise ship. We already know there is rock climbing, zip lining, simulated surfing, and huge water slides onboard cruise ships, among other activities. In addition, the cruise ship companies take passengers to foreign ports that also pose additional safety concerns. While cruising is a great way to take a vacation, people must be aware of safety risks on board cruise ships before embarking on a cruise with their family. This includes sexual assaults, including sexual assaults on minors, which have been reported on cruise ships at a much greater frequency than one would expect.
Awareness is the key. In the past, cruise ship companies hid these known safety risks from the public in order to protect their image conveyed to the public in order to sell more passenger tickets. Again, cruising is a wonderful way to take a vacation, but do not rely on the cruise ship industries statements regarding safety. Do your own homework. Maybe even contact a Maritime lawyer for some tips on how to be safe on a cruise ship!