CruiseMates Newsletter
 
Squeeze More Everything into your Carnival Vacation
Bring the whole gang on any Carnival Cruise and get ready for some serious fun. Because almost everything is included, like comfy accommodations, jaw-dropping destinations, delicious dining options, live entertainment, and so much more.
Book your Carnival function

Avalon Waterways
Save up to $1,500 per couple on 2011 River and Small-Ship Cruises*

Avalon Waterways is introducing fleet-wide enhancements, from L'Occitane bath essentials, to the Comfort Collection by Avalon in every stateroom enticing the senses like never before. View 2011 cruise offers.

Allure of the Seas CruiseMates Cruise from $779
We have the best prices on Allure we have seen yet: Central Park view from $949. $100 shipboard credit. Join our group cruise.

Norwegian Epic CruiseMates Cruise from $599
A Cruisemates group cruise with Chef Matt Sigel of the popular series Hell's Kitchen. Norwegian Epic 10-30-10

kiplingers

Kiplinger's Magazine named CruiseMates to its Top 25 Best Value Travel Sites

CruiseMates is the most useful cruise-review site. We especially like its advice columns, which are written for people of different ages and interests.

WHERE THE BARGAINS ARE

Last Minute Deals Looking for a deal? Check America's Vacation Center's last-minute cruise offers! Click for Details!

Other HOT Deals...
  • from $399
    7-Night Norwegian Jewel roundtrip New York to Port Canveral, NCL Private Island and Nassau - balcony just $649
  • $250 credit
    Sail the Caribbean with Celebrity and receive up to $250 in onboard credit!
  • from $429
    7-night New England/Canada on MSC Poesia from New York to Halifax, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and ends in Quebec.

We want your cruise reviews!
CruiseMates started publishing our readers' cruise reviews long before other web sites even thought of it. We already have thousands of reviews online, but there are never enough! CruiseMates and our sister site cruisereviews.com both want more of YOUR cruise reviews. So, please send them to us:


 
08.05.2010
The new Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act mandates that cruise lines report crime
allegations to the Coast Guard

Cruise Crime Reports Come In
The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel contacted us yesterday to say they have published the first batch of cruise crime reports from the cruise lines as mandated by the new Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010. This new law, signed by President Obama just last week, mandates the cruise lines to compile a comprehensive list of all allegations of serious crimes reported onboard their cruise ships and even in port.

The crimes the cruise lines must report include sexual assaults, physical assaults and thefts over $1,000. They must make this list available to the FBI and the Coast Guard.

The Sun Sentinel has done an excellent job of categorizing these incidents, all reported between December 2007 and October 2008. There are 12 cruise lines reporting 12 different categories of "incidents" including death, assaults, man overboard, stalking, sexual assault, theft, child pornography, drugs, robbery and sexual contact.


Norwegian Cruise Line's 7-day Caribbean from $699. Visit ncl.com to book your cruise today.
Book now at ncl.com

But the average cruiser needs to understand that these lists are merely the re-reporting of allegations made to cruise ship safety officers onboard. These are not lists of proven crimes, they are reports of incidents that may or may not indicate a crime has taken place; essentially the same information one would get listening to a police scanner.

The database categories include the ship's name, its location at the time of the incident and whether it was in port or at sea. For example, the very first incident listed in the database compiled by the Sun Sentinel is under the category "death."

The next category is "victim." Now, we aren't sure we agree with this term since it implies a crime occurred in every event. In fact, the category only signifies whether the person involved was a guest or a crewmember.

In this first incident it was a guest. The next category is "did the report mention alcohol" which only requires a yes or no response. In this case the indication is "yes."

Next is the "description of the incident." In this first incident it says, "A 77-year-old guest was reported missing from the ship, with his luggage and an open bottle of vodka on the balcony. A suicide note was later found."

The final category is "outcome of the investigation," which reads "Investigators learned that the man was in extremely poor health and had left a suicide note for his ex-wife."


Save up to $1,500 per couple on 2011 River and Small-Ship Cruises
Avalon Waterways is introducing fleet-wide enhancements, from L'Occitane bath essentials, to the Comfort Collection by Avalon in every stateroom enticing the senses like never before. View 2011 cruise offers.
Avalon Waterways 866.397.6594

End of story - for this incident anyway, and for this man who decided to end his life the way we have been reporting for many years is more common than you may think - suicide by cruise ship. It isn't a subject we talk about commonly, but it is a reality of life, and death, at sea. People sometimes choose to end their own lives by jumping from a cruise ship, which as we have said, is more of a "final solution" than many people probably expect. The chances of being rescued after jumping from a ship are very small. There are eight listed incidents of death in these reports, plus two incidents of man overboard. There are no reports of "murder" or of people being "thrown overboard" in the months covered in this report. We since have heard about one case of domestic murder on a cruise ship which resulted in an immediate arrest by almost a dozen FBI agents arriving by Coast Guard cutter before the ship was even within U.S. jurisdiction.

There is only one robbery listed, which occurred in port in the Solomon Islands.

The one incident of "child pornography" is actually an allegation made by one female guest that another male guest was showing inappropriate pictures to children. But the interesting part is the location; in port in Key West, in front of "trolly bar." Why weren't local officials notified and arrests made? Most likely because the report was not made until everybody was back on the ship. Why?

There are 90 reports of sexual contact, but 43 reports of sexual assault as a separate category. Interesting differentiation. One would assume the difference is that the sexual contacts were not found to be crimes, but that is not true. In fact, the outcome of many of the listed "sexual assaults" is that no charges were brought, either because the victim chose not to press charges or the accused said the incident was consensual. Either way, no follow-up investigation ensued; and that decision is always made by the FBI.


Squeeze more everything into your vacation
Bring the whole gang on any Carnival Cruise and get ready for some serious fun. Because almost everything is included, like comfy accommodations, jaw-dropping destinations, delicious dining options, live entertainment, and so much more.
Offer Details >Book your Carnival function

In case you didn't know, the cruise lines all signed a mutual agreement to report all incidents of crime on cruise ships to the FBI back in 1999, according to CLIA. In fact, it is common knowledge that the FBI believes the cruise lines over-report crimes, and they do not take any action in the majority of reports they receive. But the cruise lines report them all - and have been doing so for over a decade now.

In the end - it is the very vagueness of this "mandated reporting of crimes on ships" that bothers us. There is next to nothing new about cruise ship crime you can glean from these reports. There are always two sides to every story. CruiseMates has been telling you for years that these reports would be damning to those who want to read them that way, and exculpatory to those of us who still believe cruising is the safest vacation possible.

I am sure a lot of people will be reading these reports in the near future. And if you feel any different about cruising when you are done please tell us why here: First Cruise Crime Reports Released.

gray hr

new feature articles

Has The Caribbean Cruise Lost Its Lustre For You?
Are you tired of the "same old" Caribbean, and look to a wider variety of itineraries now? blue arrows

Queen Elizabeth to Sail Again
The new Cunard Queen Elizabeth is currently under construction and still about two months from completion in Monfalcone, Italy. blue arrows

Holland America Cruise Review
Nieuw Amsterdam, the second of the line's new "Signature-class" of vessels. blue arrows

Culinary Quest Aboard Seabourn Odyssey
Our culinary editor gives this luxury line the palate test. Will the food taste as good as it looks in these pictures? blue arrows

Are Cruise Line Bar Prices Too High?
One of the top questions asked on any cruise website is about drink prices on cruise ships. blue arrows

gray hr

Read about CruiseMates

NEW YORK TIMES:
"Many sites that offer reviews are selling cruises, which raises questions about impartiality. An exceptions is CruiseMates."

FORTUNE MAGAZINE:
"The Web's best site for articles, advice, or chatting with Cruise People. Self-financed and run independently of the industry, so their opinions are impartial"



NEW CRUISEMATES CRUISES!

Chef Matt Sigel's Cruise with CruiseMates
Join Chef Matt Sigel's on Norwegian Epic, Halloween Cruise, Oct 30, 2010 Travel from Miami to Costa Maya, Roatan Honduras and Cozumel - 7-days

Let's Get Lei'd 5.0
We're doing yet again - for the fifth time (because these cruises do so well) - We are going to Hawaii on a Princess ship, this time the mega-Sapphire Princess. We sail from Los Angeles and return to the same. Eight days at sea and five beautiful ports of call - four of them in Hawaii, plus Ensenada. February 26, 2011.

Allure of the Seas
Join your CruiseMates on the newest world's biggest cruise ship on October 2nd, 2011, on the sister ship to Oasis of the Seas slated to debut in early December of 2010. We have great prices and plenty of onboard fun in store for you!