"" Writer's Wanderings: How Safe Are You On A Cruise Ship?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How Safe Are You On A Cruise Ship?

When an airplane crashes do you stop flying? When a cruise ship sinks do you stop cruising? The answer is probably not. But the latest catastrophe at sea, the Costa Concordia, leads one to question the safety precautions put in place that all ships and crew and passengers are supposed to follow.

Each cruise line is a little different in its approach to muster drills or lifeboat drills as it used to be called. They are required to be held within 24 hours of a ship's sailing. Most are held before the cruise ship leaves port to embark on its itinerary. Holland America, of all the cruise lines we have experienced is probably one of the most stringent in enforcing attendance and attention at the drill. But even then, a lot depends upon the captain and crew and how well they conduct the drill.

Within the last couple of years it has been decided that life jackets need not be worn to the drill. I'm guessing that too many passengers were injured after the drill because of trailing straps from the life jackets tripping people. There is usually a demonstration by a crew member on how to put your life jacket on.

Celebrity has gone to showing a video--the same one that plays in your stateroom continuously the day of embarkation. Like on an airplane, most people ignore it. And on our last cruise on the Eclipse we found our muster station in the Photo Gallery crammed with people. I wondered if there would have been room for all of us had we worn life jackets? Imagining what it would have looked like had there been a real call to muster stations for an emergency, I could only guess a real disaster.

When all is said and done though, the safety of a ship lies in the hands of the captain. We have found some who may not be great at PR but they run a tight ship and it shows in cleanliness, order, crew performance, etc. He's not just a "pretty face" for the cruise company as I've heard some referred to. Hopefully the cruise companies will concentrate on what makes a good captain for the safety of their ships and passengers and not for how good they are at PR.

Check in Thursday for some tips that you can do to keep yourself a little safer and enjoy cruising more.

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