Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Industry

Effective last week, Disney Cruise Line has imposed a fleet-wide smoking ban on all cruise ship passenger balconies. This new policy is in accordance with the non-smoking trend seen aboard the majority of cruise lines, as passengers are demanding a reduction in smoking areas. These demands, which have been largely communicated through letters of complaint, are affecting both public spaces and guest balconies on ships.

Described as “simply evolutionary” by Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships 2014 author Douglas Ward, the new smoking bans are seen by many as long-awaited and overdue. Public spaces throughout the country have been implementing similar rules over the past several years. Because of this, commentators are far from surprised to see new policies instated. Although cruise ships have traditionally included both smoking and non-smoking areas, the ban on smoking aboard guest balconies is new – and certainly a result of complaints from passengers experiencing the secondhand smoke from balconies near their own. Despite these bans, Disney is still designating open-air smoking areas in order to accommodate all of its guests.

Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, and Cunard Line are among the other cruise lines hardening their stance against smoking, particularly on passenger balconies. To toughen the stance against smoking, Royal Caribbean is fining violators of these new rules up to $250. However, not all cruise lines are taking as stringent of measures to prevent smoking. Carnival Cruise Lines, for example, still permits smoking on all balconies except those of the spa cabins. Please click here to learn more about these new smoking policies aboard cruise ships, or contact individual cruise lines to learn of their smoking developments.

The numbers are out on the public’s view of the cruise line industry, and they aren’t what many in the industry would have hoped for. A new Harris poll on public trust and perception of the cruise industry indicates that the industry’s damaged public image has continued to plummet since the fire aboard the Carnival Triumph in February, 2013. That incident, which was heavily publicized by the media, left passengers and crew stranded onboard for four days without propulsion or power until they were towed to port at Mobile, Alabama. After the fire on the Carnival Triumph, public trust in cruising hit a historic low and has continued to decline. Since the fire, the public’s faith in the cruise ship industry is down 12%.

The public’s perception of the quality of the cruise ship experience has also declined since February. Potential first time cruisers are much more reluctant to splurge on a vacation aboard a cruise than they were a year ago, with 56% who have never taken a cruise saying that they are less likely now to book a cruise than they were a year ago. It should be noted that this poll, which was conducted from May 14-16 of this year, occurred before a fire broke out aboard the Grandeur of the Seas on the less than two weeks later. Although it did not cause as much damage as the fire on the Triumph did, and seems to have been handled in a much better fashion, it seems likely that the latest incident will only further damage the industry’s image among the traveling public.
The cruise line industry has taken several measures over the last several months to help minimize the damage done to their public image. (A summary of those steps, along with news of the fire on the Grandeur fire, was the subject of a prior entry on this blog). The result of these efforts is difficult to ascertain, but one thing the survey makes clear is that the cruise line that has suffered the most damage to its reputation is Carnival. While trust in the industry as a whole has dropped 12 percent since the fire onboard the Triumph, trust in Carnival has decreased by 26%. And when it comes to the public’s perception of the quality of the cruising experience, satisfaction with Carnival has decreased by 28%. (Carnival Cruise Lines is a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, which owns several other lines including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Costa Cruises. Costa was in the news last year when one of its ships crashed into a reef off the shores of Tuscany because the captain veered off course and ventured too close to shore. Thirty-two people lost their lives, and legal battles over compensation from this accident are still ongoing). For more information about cruise ship accidents, or to see if you have a case, contact The Law Office of David H. Pollack at 305-372-5900 for a free consultation or visit our website at www.davidpollacklaw.com.