There have been claims recently that alleged serious crimes occur frequently on cruise ships and that many of those crimes go unreported. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For an industry that enjoys a high repeat customer rate and with some of the largest cruise lines catering to families, any allegation of a serious crime is one too many. However, an objective look at the data — as well as the testimony of law enforcement officials and independent experts — demonstrates that the rate of alleged serious crimes on cruise ships is a small fraction compared to corresponding rates reported on land in the United States.
Dr. James Fox of Northeastern University, one of America’s leading criminologists and often called upon by Congress as an expert to testify, recently wrote in a study: “By any measure, travel by sea aboard commercial cruise lines is exceptionally safe in terms of the risks associated with criminal activity.” He has also commented to news reporters that “cruising is just about the safest vacation option except perhaps for relaxing in your own backyard.”
Not only are allegations of serious crime dramatically lower than on land, cruise lines are subject to the most stringent legal requirements for reporting allegations of crime in the entire hospitality and travel industries. Since 1996, every alleged serious crime on a voyage to or from the United States involving a U.S. citizen, and even those involving foreign nationals if the incident happens in U.S. waters, must be reported in writing to the U.S. Coast Guard and FBI.