The non-profit International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization released an interesting press statement today.
Earlier this year, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee convened a hearing about protecting cruise ship passengers. Senator Rockefeller planned to introduce legislation which required the cruise industry to report crimes and overboards which occur on cruise ships.
Under intense pressure before the Senate committee, the executives of the three major U.S. based cruise lines (Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean) promised at the outset of the hearing to begin to "voluntarily" report cruise ship crimes and man overboard situations. Was this an earnest commitment to transparency or a last ditch effort to stave off legislation?
My son and I were at the hearing. The first thing I thought was "sounds good, but what tricks are the cruise lines up to this time?"
Shortly after the hearing, the cruise line began to post their crime and man-overboard data.
Royal Caribbean and sister line Celebrity Cruises quickly proved that they can’t be trusted. They chose to disclose only three (3) overboard persons for the time period from October 2010 to June 2013. As explained in our article Cruise Line "Voluntary" Crime & Man-Overboard Disclosures: Royal Caribbean’s Data Is Incomplete and Misleading, at least eleven (11) persons went overboard during this time period.
Royal Caribbean was particularly sneaky. It chose to define man-overboards as excluding all crew members and included only U.S. passengers. In the process, Royal Caribbean summarily excluded eight men who were either crew members or were non-U.S. citizens who went overboard.
So instead of learning the complete story about people disappearing from Royal Caribbean ships, the public learned of only 27% of the truth (only 3 out of 11). This is exactly the type of deceitful conduct that Senator Rockefeller wanted to avoid.
So what tricks were played by Royal Caribbean’s competitor, Carnival?
The ICV press statement today reveals that Carnival Corporation, which owns Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa, HAL, P&O Cruises, Princess and many others, combines all of its its cruise brand data in one tally in order to dilute the rate of crime on its cruise brand with the most crime.
Why does Carnival Corporation (the parent company) do this? Because it gives the false appearance that Carnival Cruise Lines is much safer than it actually is. Based upon research by cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, Carnival Cruise Lines makes up less than half the total of the Carnival brands but accounts for a whopping 88% of all the crimes for the parent company, Carnival Corporation. (The conclusions are based on crime data obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request for the period covering October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008.)
The purpose of the cruise crime disclosure is to permit consumers to determine the safest / most dangerous cruise lines to take your family on cruises.
But the cruise lines are playing a big game. Trickery and dishonesty are the names of the game.
The Carnivals and Royal Caribbeans can’t help themselves. They are incapable of telling the U.S. public the truth.
That’s one reason why the House and Senate have introduced the Cruise Passenger Protection Act (H.R. 2800 and S.1340). And that’s why you should insist that these bills are enacted into law.
You can read the ICV press release here.