Cruise Lines Release Onboard Crime Data

August 2, 2013

Update, 10:23 a.m. EDT: Carnival Corp. has released the aggregated data for its four North-American based cruise brands (Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Seabourn). The information is on Carnival Corp.'s Web site, though links to the page are available on the individual brands' sites.

In a two-and-a-half-year period, Carnival Corp's four North American brands carried some 65 million passengers and reported:4 alleged suspicious deaths of passengers; 4 alleged missing U.S. nationals; 34 alleged rapes; 22 alleged sexual assaults; 26 alleged nonsexual physical assaults; and 16 reports of thefts of over $10,000.

(August 1, 4:20 p.m. EDT) -- As promised during the recent Senate hearing on oversight of the cruise industry, cruise lines began releasing onboard crime statistics on their Web sites today.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean International
Celebrity Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises
are publishing the numbers of all alleged crimes dating to the fourth quarter of 2010.

None of the Carnival brands has released information yet. Cruise Critic has reached out to Carnival Corp. to find out when it plans to publish its onboard crime data. During last week's Senate hearing, Royal Caribbean's president and CEO Adam Goldstein said the three major cruise companies (Royal, Carnival and Norwegian) would release a "compilation of allegations of crime" August 1.

The move is in keeping with the intent of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, written in 2010 to require the reporting of all crimes. But this never went into effect because language was inserted into the act shortly after it passed that allowed the FBI to reveal only crimes that are investigated and closed by the FBI. The lines are now disclosing all reported crimes regardless of investigational status and will update the reports on a quarterly basis.

The status of the crimes reported is not laid out in the statistics; crimes might still be under investigation, charges dropped or cases closed.

"We are proud of this initiative and believe that it addresses many of the concerns raised with the limited public reporting required by the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act," Cynthia Martinez, director of global corporate communications for Royal Caribbean Cruises, told Cruise Critic. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

Martinez added it's too early to tell how consumers will respond to the numbers, but Royal Caribbean believes consumers will appreciate the ability to "see for themselves that cruise ships are among the safest venues when compared to any landside communities or destinations."

Michael McGarry, senior vice president of public affairs for Cruise Lines International Association agreed. "Consumers will see that the incident of crime on cruise ships is dramatically lower than crime rates on land, regardless of the size of a company's fleet."

Cruise Critic crunched the numbers Royal Caribbean and Norwegian reported and found:

In two-and-a-half-year period, Royal Caribbean International carried some 8,800,000 passengers and reported:

•2 missing U.S. nationals

•23 alleged rapes (13 committed by passengers, 10 by crew)

•23 alleged sexual assaults (7 by passengers, 16 by crew)

•16 alleged nonsexual physical assaults (7 by passengers, 9 by crew)

•23 reports of thefts over $10,000

The records do not distinguish between whom the attacks were committed against (passenger vs. crew).

In the same time period Norwegian Cruise Line carried some 3,800,000 passengers and reported:

•4 alleged rapes (all by passengers)

•6 alleged sexual assaults (2 committed by passengers, 4 by crew)

•2 alleged nonsexual physical assaults (all by passengers)

•2 reports of thefts over $10,000

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor