ABC's 20/20 Covers Costa Concordia Disaster (Part 2) Plus Out of Control Cruise Ship Drinking & Violence

ABC Film Crew at Port of Miami - ABC 20/20 - Cruise Ship Drinking and ViolenceLast night ABC News aired a cruise ship special on its 20/20 program about the Costa Concordia disaster.  Narrated by Chris Cuomo from Italy, the one hour program contains an inside look at this latest cruise ship disaster based on interviews with surviving passengers.

You can watch the first segment of the show, which focuses on details of the cruise disaster, here

The 20/20 program also took a hard look at the problem with excessive drinking during cruises.  I learned a new phrase last night, of being "cruise-ship drunk."  You will see lots of videos of passengers being "knee-walking" or "fall-down" drunk.  Not a pretty sight.

The show correctly points out that there is a direct correlation between excessive drinking and violence, which is compounded by the tendency of the cruise lines to push the sale of booze, the insufficient number of security guards, and the absence of an independent police force.  We looked into these problems over the last few years in our articles:

Cruise Ship Brawls - A Problem that Will Get Bigger with Bigger Ships

More Cruise Ship Violence - A Drunken Brawl On Carnival's Dream

Cruise Refunds and a Drunken Backstreet Boy?

Latest Royal Caribbean Rape Allegation Reveals Problem of Underage Drinking on Cruises

Carnival Murder Case Reveals Out of Control Cruise Booze

The 20/20 program includes a few clips of me at the port of Miami explaining the problems of cruise ship drinking and violence.

The segment below is about 5 and 1/2 minutes:  



Watch the entire 20/20 "cruise confidential" program here.

Video credit:  ABC NEWS / ABC 20/20

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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Julie S - January 21, 2012 5:22 PM

I have been on several cruises, two of which were Carnival. I have never experienced seeing at violence. Yes, Alcohol is served, but it is up to the passenger to say NO. It's vacation time. Boat, resort, it's part of the package. They focus on the what they think is the negative, when they don't show any of the positive!

Gabs - January 22, 2012 5:02 AM

Julie, you are right, it is up to each person to decide if and how much to drink, but when people decide to drink too much, innocent bystanders, even children, could be in harms way and security is deficient and can take too long to defuse a situation.

deb - January 23, 2012 11:30 AM

I have been on at least 4 Carnival cruises and will be going on my 5th next month. I have never seen or heard of any of this behavior you have shown here in this video. If you noticed, most of these incidents are being made by young adults, mostly college age people, or younger with fake IDs, who knows if they are even of legal age to drink, does Carnival or any of the other Cruise lines check these IDs, probably not!

Toniann - March 1, 2012 3:00 PM

This goes back to the whole take responsibility for your own actions thing. At the end of the day people make their own decisions. Just because the cruise line is selling alcohol by the gallons does not mean I need to drink it. Just because they serve meat and I am a vegetarian does not mean I need to eat it. Every passenger should be held responsible for thei OWN actions. If youre stupid enough to get plastered and beligerant on a cruise than whatever the consequence may be - you should own up to it. The only thing I would fault the cruise for is the selling of alcohol to minors, the cruise lines need to crack down on asking for ID. I can tell you that in the 2 cruises i have taken i was never once asked for an ID. Maybe when given my cruise ship card it shows my age? Im unsure.

William - May 3, 2012 12:40 PM

As a former crewmember, what I caught on a couple of occasions was young (underaged) kids buying clear grain type alcohols on shore (ie: Mexico doesn't really care about drinking age) and then pouring those alcohols into water bottles, etc... Difficult for security to catch them unfortunately, but they'd still spot-check and catch a few. For the two I came across on the pier (I wasn't in my Officer's uniform at the time), I just walked up behind the kid, showed my ID and said "let's have a little talk" and we tracked down some parents. (Honestly, I loved the expressions of shock & dismay that they were caught...) One incident resulted in a debarkation of the family as they condoned the behavior and wouldn't control their children. As an American I felt more strongly about it than some of the foreign crew that have different cultures. The ships follow US law as the drinking age is 21 and the bar tenders check ID but there's always that one damned 21 year old buying drinks for the kids or someones got a false ID... Probably some better training for the bartenders to spot false ID's, learn what the various state drivers licenses should look like, etc. My suggestion would be to add an ID card lookup tool to the Point of Sale terminals showing samples of what each ID card should look like. Flagging the onboard Sale & Sign cards wouldn't cut it since they don't (can't) have photo's and can easily be shared...
That's my two cents... Parents - be responsible for your kids and expect to be removed from the ship and pay for a flight home or be confined to your cabin for the duration if you can't act like an adult! Crew - you need to take this more seriously and protect your guests! (if even from themselves just like a normal stateside bar)

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