The cruise industry has not fared well at all in recent years and this latest incident works to maintain that precedent. Last weekend a 6-year-old boy drowned in a swimming pool onboard a Carnival cruise ship while vacationing with his family. Although Carnival has said that the incident marked the first time that anyone has ever drowned on one of its vessels, the news comes as a sad reminder that Carnival Cruise Lines in particular and the entire cruise industry in general has a long way to go in regaining the public’s confidence regarding the safety of its ships.
To say that this is entirely Carnival’s fault may seem unfair to some extent. After all, the child drowned in a swimming pool which could have happened anywhere, whether on land or on a cruise ship. Children drown in their bathtubs so generally speaking it is not particularly uncommon for something like this to occur. However, it is uncommon for cruise ships to have on-duty lifeguards posted at their onboard swimming pools and in that regards Carnival is no exception. There was in fact no lifeguard on duty and there never is and the industry as a whole rarely if ever provides lifeguard protection on their cruises.
The cruise line industry has been accused of cutting financial corners at the expense of their passengers when it comes to safety and security onboard its vessels. Reports of theft, physical and sexual assault, and other crimes and unfortunate incidents have been occurring at an ever-increasing rate onboard cruise ships in recent years but it is difficult to determine if the incidents themselves are actually increasing or if it is simply the reports thereof that are on the rise. Recently federal legislators proposed a bill that would mandate a greater level of transparency among cruise lines in reporting crimes and accidents that occur on its ships. Cruise lines have historically been woefully secretive about reporting negative incidents but have been forced to do so in recent years if for no other reason than what seems like an increase in the number of incidents that have occurred. This latest drowning incident involving a young child will hopefully incite these cruise lines to spend a little extra on much needed lifeguard protection for its customers.