Danger can lurk onboard cruise ships too, according to critics, espe­cially because of heavy drinking and the cut-​​loose atmos­phere of some ships. Rates for sexual assault on cruise ships seem to be about 50% higher than on land, according to Ross Klein, a pro­fessor at Memo­rial Uni­ver­sity in New­found­land, who studies the cruise industry.

The cruise industry says such reports are overblown. A spokesman for the Cruise Lines Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion directed ques­tions about onboard crime to James Alan Fox, a North­eastern Uni­ver­sity crim­i­nol­o­gist whose research it has pre­vi­ously spon­sored. Fox says that while he wasn’t familiar enough with Klein’s work to eval­uate his spe­cific find­ings, Fox told us that his own research sug­gests ships have lower crime rates than other pop­ular tourist des­ti­na­tions like Las Vegas or Orlando. One reason is crowds, cam­eras and secu­rity staff. Another is cruising’s bour­geois demo­graphics. “There are no high-​​crime areas on cruise ships,” he says.

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