With cruise safety hearings coming up later this month in Washington, the debate will resume regarding how many crimes really occur on cruise ships.
The cruise lines will say that crime is rare but will not refer to any database to support their their self-serving conclusion. Cruise lines do not reveal their own internal crime statistics, except when ordered to do so under the threat of sanctions by a court.
But there are some on-line sources of information. In addition to this blog, there is of course the web site Cruise Junkie by cruise expert Ross Klein who tracks cruise ship crimes.
Another interesting source is a database by the Fort Lauderdale newspaper, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, which listed cruise crimes from December 2007 to October 2008. You can look at the hundreds of various crime allegations, some petty and some very disturbing, here.
Unlike the Miami Herald which is beholden to the cruise lines which advertise in the Miami newspaper, the Sun Sentinel has maintained a sense of journalistic integrity when it comes to reporting on things that go wrong during cruises.
The Sentinel also has a sense of humor about the cruise industry. Take a look at the cartoon which ran last week after several Princess cruise ships returned to Fort Lauderdale filled with passengers sickened by norovirus:
" . . . viral diseases, crimes of violence, theft, seasickness, weight gain, liver damage, possibly getting stuck at the dinner table for the entire journey with people who deny the theory of evolution … sounds like the kind of vacation from which lasting memories are made . . ."
The cartoon and comments are by Chan Lowe who has been the Sun Sentinel’s editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years.
Cartoon credit: Chan Lowe / South Florida Sun Sentinel / Tribune Media