Are Cruise Holidays Safe From Terrorism?

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

soldiers against a sunsetThese days, it feels like terrorism and the possibility of terrorist attacks are on everyone’s minds. These unexpected assaults on the public have an incredible capacity to leave you feeling anxious, unsecure, and threatened. Recent history has shown us that almost nowhere is off limits for a terrorist group to plan an attack. And, as a result, the question often comes up: Are cruise holidays safe from terrorism?

The short answer is that nowhere is necessarily “safe” from terrorism. Terror cells exist in all countries and have developed efficient ways of blending in until the moment comes for them to strike. That said, we can say that terror attacks on cruise ships are rare.

Safety Procedures Are In Place

The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) takes cruise line, cruise passenger, and crewmember safety very seriously. All cruises have security staff and all employees are trained for what to do in case of an emergency.

Additionally, cruises typically enforce an exclusion zone around their ships when they dock in port. This prevents smaller ships (the kind most likely to be carrying terrorists on an attack mission) from approaching the cruise ship.

Screenings are also in place every time passengers enter the ship. X-ray scanners evaluate luggage, stringent security checks are conducted, and passengers must go through detectors similar to those at airports. All of these layers of security are in place to ensure that the cruise line is well informed as to who and what is coming aboard the cruise.

While it is true that there are numerous countries, specifically in the Middle East and the Crimea that the cruise lines have chosen to avoid sailing all together to due to travel advisory warnings and the current state of affairs in those countries.  In the event of an unforeseen or developing situation in a country on a vessel’s itineraries the vessel can alter its itinerary if needed when the vessel’s safety is determined to be at risk.

Your Safety Is a Main Concern

Considering the investment at stake in the vessel, and the duty owed to its crew and passengers, Cruise Lines do take terrorism risks very seriously both while in port and underway.

So although we cannot assume that cruise passengers are not at risk of falling victim to terrorist activity. We also do not have any reason to believe that cruise passengers should be any more concerned about terrorism than they would be if they were taking another kind of vacation.

It is our hope that this discussion has helped both inform you and ease any initial fears you may have. However, we are here for you. So if you have questions that you feel would benefit from the advice of a maritime lawyer, you should not hesitate to contact us.