Ashleigh Johnston, Account Executive
Cruise ships today make the Titanic, what was once the world’s largest luxury liner, look like a bathtub toy. The novelty factor of sailing on the world’s largest ship is still there, but on a level designers and builders of the ill-fated ship could have never imagined.
Ships have evolved into floating cities, some capable of holding over 6,000 passengers and over 2,000 crew members. With an abundance of restaurants, bars, shops, amenities and activities, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean International are promising “you’ll never be bored.” And while that is probably true, safety experts are wondering if the race to be bigger and better is putting passengers in danger.
With greater numbers of passengers on one vessel comes greater risk if something goes wrong. Consider also the language barrier between international crew members and passengers, plus the basic logistics of safely handling over 6,000 people during an emergency situation. Safety experts say the industry has merely been lucky that there haven’t been more incidents and the recent problems are just a taste of what could happen on the so-called megaships.
Additionally, these same experts claim the cruise ship industry is suffering from a serious lack of oversight and enforcement. Although there are certain laws cruise ships must comply with, the concern is based around doubt that the ships are not able to handle large-scale emergencies or evacuations.
It must be noted though that both the Carnival Triumph and the Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas were mentioned in the article and both suffered incidents at sea this year to varying degrees of severity. However, these are not newer ships or the largest in either fleet. To include them in the group of megaships may be a bit misleading (Costa Concordia is a whole other story entirely). Nonetheless, reports planting the seeds of fear and distrust of an entire industry could gain some unwanted attention and traction.
No form of travel is without risk. While it’s probably fair to say this one article doesn’t spell disaster for the entire cruise industry, it calls attention to the way we handle our messages. We can’t be so excited to create the next gimmick that we lose touch with the public and the concerns they may be having. We have to be in touch with the public mindset at all times, and not lose sight of our audience.