There have been claims recently that alleged serious crimes occur fre­quently on cruise ships and that many of those crimes go unre­ported. Nothing could be fur­ther from the truth.

For an industry that enjoys a high repeat cus­tomer rate and with some of the largest cruise lines catering to families, any alle­ga­tion of a serious crime is one too many. How­ever, an objec­tive look at the data — as well as the tes­ti­mony of law enforce­ment offi­cials and inde­pen­dent experts — demon­strates that the rate of alleged serious crimes on cruise ships is a small frac­tion com­pared to cor­re­sponding rates reported on land in the United States.

Dr. James Fox of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, one of America’s leading crim­i­nol­o­gists and often called upon by Con­gress as an expert to tes­tify, recently wrote in a study: “By any mea­sure, travel by sea aboard com­mer­cial cruise lines is excep­tion­ally safe in terms of the risks asso­ci­ated with crim­inal activity.” He has also com­mented to news reporters that “cruising is just about the safest vaca­tion option except per­haps for relaxing in your own backyard.”

Not only are alle­ga­tions of serious crime dra­mat­i­cally lower than on land, cruise lines are sub­ject to the most strin­gent legal require­ments for reporting alle­ga­tions of crime in the entire hos­pi­tality and travel indus­tries. Since 1996, every alleged serious crime on a voyage to or from the United States involving a U.S. cit­izen, and even those involving for­eign nationals if the inci­dent hap­pens in U.S. waters, must be reported in writing to the U.S. Coast Guard and FBI.


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