Can you trust the cruise lines’ new passenger “bill of rights”?

Hellen/Shutterstock
Hellen/Shutterstock

Maybe it was the string of customer-service disasters, starting with the Costa Concordia tragedy last year and leading up to the recent Carnival Triumph “poop” cruise, on which passengers were left adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for five days without working toilets.

Maybe it was the threat of government regulation from Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.), a vocal critic of the cruise industry, that made it move.

Then again, maybe we should just take the cruise industry at its word on its decision, announced just before the Memorial Day holiday, to introduce a passenger “bill of rights.”
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A long way to go to ensure passengers’ safety on cruise ships

Any day now, the president is expected to sign the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, which promises to make cruising safer.

Maybe you don’t think of a floating vacation as a dangerous activity — after all, the last headline-grabbing sinking of a cruise liner was that of the MS Sea Diamond, which ran aground near Santorini, Greece, back in 2007. Two passengers disappeared and were presumed dead in that incident. The cruise industry also contends that it has an outstanding safety record when it comes to onboard crimes such as theft and assaults.

Just one little problem: The federal government doesn’t require cruise lines to report these crimes in a meaningful and systematic way, so we have to take them at their word. And some passengers don’t.
Read more “A long way to go to ensure passengers’ safety on cruise ships”