Today the Wall Street Journal published an article about the cruise industry's efforts to overcome damage to its reputation while battling off criticism by a consumer group and efforts by Congress to regulate the industry.
The WSJ points out that the cruise lines have a lot to be concerned with, including "stranded vessels, fires, people falling overboard and being victims of crime."
The cruise industry claims that no regulation is necessary because it adequately polices itself. The cruise lines cite a number of self-imposed (although largely unenforceable) recommendations to provide a safe and secure cruising experience for almost 21 million cruise passengers a year.
I was quoted in the article saying that cruise passengers should not take comfort in the so-called "bill of rights:"
“It’s not a bill of rights, it’s a bill of the industry’s rights, a voluntary scheme to limit their own liability.”
One of the problems I pointed out is that cruise lines register their ships and incorporate their companies in countries outside the U.S. In the process, the cruise industry avoids U.S. taxes, U.S. minimum wage laws and safety inspections.
Most cruise lines are also not employing automatic man-overboard system, as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010.
You can access the WSJ here, but you need a subscription to read the whole article.