After a bruising couple of years for the global cruise business, ship operators have emerged with a sharper focus on safety and reliability — and on setting travelers’ minds at ease.
Two years after the fatal grounding of the Costa Concordia in Italy, the industry has adopted new rules on emergency drills, ship operations and life jackets, and has introduced a “passenger bill of rights.” And Costa owner Carnival Corp., has announced massive investments in ship upgrades following the disabling fire aboard the Carnival Triumph a year ago.
“I first started cruising in 1965 and certainly I’ve not seen this level of attention and focus on safety,” said Douglas Ward, author of 2014 Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships. “I think all the cruise lines are definitely going in the right direction.”
Some critics say the changes are more talk than action, but cruise companies and longtime observers say the prolonged attention has led to a safer product and a greater willingness to shine a light on sensitive subjects. Everyone agrees, however, that there is more work to be done…