Can the Cruise Industry Improve its Reputation?
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Lifeboat

There have been a number of very well publicised incidents involving cruise ships and companies within the last couple of years, the largest and most shocking being the sinking of the Costa Concordia which tragically claimed the lives of thirty two passengers and crew members.

There have also been a number of smaller (and far less serious) incidents which have further tarred the reputation of the entire cruise industry. How can cruise companies and the industry as a whole now work to improve its reputation?

One saving grace is that almost 90% of all cruise holidays are booked through travel agents, rather than online. Travel agents provide a personal, positive and reassuring voice to potential passengers when negative situations come to the fore and are far more-friendly than a computer screen staring back during the online booking process.

One good thing for passengers and potential passengers is that these negative situations force cruise companies and the cruise business into making positive chances which will affect their cruise holidays in the future.

Since the Costa Concordia tragically struck rocks and partially sunk off the Italian island of Giglio in January of 2012 cruise lines have altered their safety measures on board in order to make cruises safer for passengers and crew. This is obviously a very positive step to take in order to protect those who chose to sail with them and should ensure that nothing of this nature will happen again.

Sustainable Cruising is having a Positive Effect

Another positive effect on the cruise industry in recent years, is the issue of sustainable cruising and helping the cruise industry become as environmentally friendly as possible.

This can be done through the use of energy saving LEDs, investment into new power management systems, commitment to recycling, investment in alternative and renewable energy sources and many other energy saving processes.

The industry is already investing in monitoring and improving their impact on the environment, and if this were to be better publicised rather than all of the negative stories which have been put out there by the media in recent years it would balance the story.

People read the negative reviews which are put in-front of them and it does very little to improve their opinion of cruising and cruise holidays.

One main thing this travel sector should continue to do is deliver great holiday experiences to their passengers. The more people who cruise and have fantastic cruise holidays and share these stories with their family and friends, the more the cruise industry’s reputation will improve.

People listen to the opinions of their friends over things they read online, in magazines and in newspapers and if cruise companies can deliver an experience that has people going home and excitedly telling their friends and family about it then it can surely only have a positive effect.

Had any experiences that would you would like to see addressed? Tell us below.

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Travel Safety Tips in Port
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One thing many people worry about both before and during their trips is safety. Depending on which ports of call and which countries you are visiting, different safety tips will apply.

Dress suitably for your surroundings

There are certain places where you need to be respectful and cover up. In some countries it is necessary to cover up for cultural and political reasons and if you’re visiting these countries then you should absolutely respect this and follow guidelines. Countries such as Morocco prefer women to cover up by wearing head scarves and cover knees and shoulders. Other times, religious places such as St Paul’s Cathedral in the Vatican City, require that both women and men cover their knees and shoulders.

Ensure you do some research before you embark on your trip so that you have the appropriate clothes for the appropriate times.

St. Pauls Cathedral

Don’t carry large amounts of money or valuables

This is really just common sense. Leave all of your valuables, and any large amounts of cash safely locked away in the safety deposit box that you’ll find in your stateroom. You don’t want to have your wallet or purse stolen on a day trip in port and to find out you’ve lost everything. Always be aware of your surroundings and if you feel uncomfortable in any situation, remove yourself from it as quickly as possible.

Wallet

Make sure you leave plenty of time to return to your ship!

This is one of the most important tips I can give you. Check and double check the time you have to return to your ship in order for it to sail. Then, if you are travelling somewhere using public transport, make sure you check the return times, and definitely don’t leave it until the very last minute. Cruise ships aren’t required to wait for passengers who are late returning to the ship (unless they are on an organised excursion) and you don’t want to get to the dock only to see your cruise liner pulling away.

Public Transport

Know the correct way to behave in the places you are visiting

It is very important to know the correct way to behave in the places that you are visiting, especially in places where religion and politics are contentious issues. Always know the proper ways to behave in the countries you will be visiting and make sure you adhere to them. This should ensure you don’t get into any trouble and are prevented from returning to your cruise ship.

Other than these basic tips, the best piece of advice I can offer is just to make sure you are always aware of the people around you. Don’t take any unnecessary risks and always look after yourself and those you are travelling with. And don’t forget to have fun!

Behaviour

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The Issue of Safety and Cruising
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The issue of safety and cruising is always one which people focus on. Part of the reason for this is because the cruise industry has come under intense scrutiny from the media ever since the tragic accident in early 2012 when the Costa Concordia crashed and 32 people sadly lost their lives.

This was undoubtedly a horrific accident and one which should never have happened, but the media portrayal surrounding the incident conveyed that cruise holidays were an unsafe mode of transport and that the chance of something going wrong is highly probable.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Cruising is actually one of the safest forms of transport. It’s statistically far safer than flying and safer than getting into your car and driving to the local shops, or anywhere for that matter. Cruise holidays are also 8 times safer than simply crossing the road in New York City. It’s time for the myth that cruises are unsafe to be well and truly shattered.

The cruise industry is one of the most strictly regulated within the tourism sector. Cruise ships are constantly under scrutiny to make sure they stand up to safety standards, as well as for their environmental impact. There are, however certain cautions you must exercise whilst on board a cruise ship just as you would on a land based holiday.

Below Bud Darr from CLIA talks about safety measures taken by the cruise lines.

One of the first things you will do when you embark your ship, usually before it leaves port, will be to attend an official muster drill.

This involves the entire ship reporting to their designated muster station, which is where you should go in case of any real emergency. You should listen carefully to all announcements made by the staff and make note of any instructions you are given in the unlikely event you need to use them in a real situation. These muster drills ensure that all passengers know exactly what to do in case of an emergency.

As with any travel on land there are certain precautions you should take whilst on board your cruise. You should always use the safe in your stateroom to store any valuables or money that you have with you.

Don’t leave your personal belongings lying on your sun lounger whilst you head off to indulge at the buffet for lunch. Enjoy a few holiday drinks on your well-earned trip but don’t let it get out of hand, keep your wits about you and exercise the same cautions you would on land.

Be sensible, be cautious and remember to have fun and you’ll have the holiday of a lifetime!

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