Today marks the 2 week mark since the tragic Costa Concordia accident. The Costa Concordia images and video have been streamed live on the TV and Internet from the time that we began covering it on the night of the Concordia incident.
Some news programs shamelessly used this incident to sensationalize everything that could possibly go wrong on a cruise ship…. regardless of the facts. ABCnews 20/20 did an hour long special and quickly slipped in the fact that cruising is the safest form of vacationing and that cruising is statistically safer than crossing the street.
During the ABCnews 20/20 cruise report, ABCnews 20/20 and I were tweeting back and forth. During that program they shared this fact with me on Twitter:
Cruising is 8 times safer than crossing the street in New York City. ~ ABCnews 20/20 on Twitter
The ABC2020 Twitter account only has 36,000 followers… it would’ve been nice if they would have shared this statistic on the air with millions of people watching.
Cruise Ship Safety:
It’s been frustrating watching the media skirt around the facts of cruising during the last 2 weeks. The good news is that experienced cruisers desire to continue cruising has not been impacted by the incident. Most share the sentiment of Barbara D. on CruiseDeals.com Facebook page:
“I think now would be the SAFEST time to cruise – no captain is going to deviate from the approved course at this moment! Sign me up. ” ~ Barbara D.
I agree with Barbara, while cruising has displayed a remarkable safety record over the last 100 years, we are headed into a time of even more safety and security.
I can’t sit here and write that cruising is 100% safe. But, I can say that it is statistically safer than driving, flying, or even crossing the road. Driving is one of the most dangerous things that we do in life… we make it safer by wearing seatbelts, defensive driving, not texting, etc.
Since nothing in life is 100% safe, here are some cruise safety tips [most of which apply to all travel]
Cruise Safety Tips
#1: Drink alcohol in moderation. No matter if you are on a resort, a local bar, or on a cruise ship; the more intoxicated you get the more likely you will do something that causes bodily injury. Also, in case of an emergency on land or at sea drinking too much alcohol will make you unable to respond in a necessary manner to save yourself or others.
#2 Pay attention during the Muster [lifeboat] drill. I’m as guilty as anyone for taking the muster drills lightly. I have taken pictures and tweeted them at numerous muster drills. After 20 cruises, I’ve done just about everything except pay really close attention to the drill. From now on, I will make sure I know multiple routes to my muster station.
#3 Buy Travel Insurance. We have been recommending travel insurance for years because you never know when an unforeseen medical condition, injury, or weather event can disrupt your vacation. Travel Insurance can save you $1000s in a medical emergency while on a cruise ship or in a foreign country.
#4 Stay connected with Walkie-Talkies. Everytime I cruise, I see families and couples with walkie-talkies so they can stay in contact on the ship. I always say, next cruise I’m getting walkie-talkies because it can be tough to stay connected with your group while at sea. For my upcoming family spring break cruise, we will have walkie-talkies.
#5 Carry Photocopies of your Passport or travel documents. We recommend cruising with a Passport even if it is not required by the cruise line for your itinerary. Photocopy the passport and keep the photocopy on you while leaving the original in the safe.
#6 In port, use common sense. Don’t flash cash. Be aware of surroundings, have a map, and if just venturing out on your own plan out your route ahead of time.
#7 Don’t let your kids or early teens run all over the ship without you. Make sure your older teen stays with groups or friends. After dinner teens need to be in teen club or in the room.
No matter if you’re in the local grocery store parking lot, at a resort, or even on a cruise ship we can run into the occasional person who has bad intentions. Cruise ships are safer than other vacation options because it is a controlled environment. Random people cannot just come and go from the ship. There are cameras all over most cruise ships. In the rare case that another passenger or crew member causes harm to you or your possessions on a cruise ship, report it immediately to the pursers desk.
Cruise Ships Sinking
The Costa Concordia accident was caused by a Captain going off the planned route to do a “drive-by” of an island. Prior to this accident, I’m confident that Captains going of route was extremely rare. After this accident, it is a guaranty that Captains will not make even the slightest change in the route without proper approvals. The Costa accident was a once in 100 years event… use the tips I offered above and cruise confidently.
Author note: Rich Tucker is founder/editor of CruiseSource.us and has cruised 20+ times in the last 5 years. Winner of the 2008 Shorty Award for providing the best travel content on Twitter. Follow @CruiseSource on Twitter