James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston and former consultant to the International Council of Cruise Lines, has testified before congress about cruise ship safety. He said cruises are safe vacation destinations, especially compared with other locations tourists choose, and says crime rates at sea are much lower than on land.

“Despite the fact that there is a high level of alcohol consumption, they have very low rates of violence, and that’s owing to the fact that there’s a large number of security personnel and even security cameras,” Fox said. “… Also the demographics of a cruise population is different than the general population. It tends to be more family population, elderly population. (There’s) not typically gang bangers on a cruise ship.

“It’s not a cross-section of the general population, and that actually is in favor of cruise ships, in terms of safety.”