I got an email from Norwegian Cruise Lines today, being a past customer of theirs, reminding people that their ships are very safe to sail upon. It talks about how long their captains have been captains (on average) and what it takes for them to reach that exalted position, which is about fifteen years.
Of course, their newest ships, with their odd, blocky look, are state-of-the-art cruise ships and loaded with every possible bell and whistle, their bridge crews extensively trained in their operation and, really, when I sailed on one of their older ships, I didn’t have many complaints about the ship or her captain – I got a chance to chat with him during a docking operation and he was more than happy to explain to me what was going on (even though I knew already).
I got the letter as a result of the disaster in Italy, which doesn’t really surprise me – but I like it. Even if I never step foot aboard an NCL ship again, it’s nice of them to point out the integrity of their crews and captains, their adherence to existing maritime safety laws and protocols, and the like. And they had to do something like this so that potential customers won’t be put off sailing the high seas.
Haven’t heard from Carnival yet – they own the Costa Concordia (or what’s left of it) – and you’d think that once people found this out, they’d be going nuts trying to convince customers here of the safety of their ships and the competency of their captains and crews. But, I understand they’re a little busy with salvage operations and extensive damage control and preparing for the onslaught of lawsuits that’s sure to hit their corporate wallets very hard.
Personally, I wouldn’t let this incident deter me from cruising again. Those folks who were considering taking to the seas are sure to have second thoughts about this now and I say to them, go cruising and have fun; you really do stand more of a chance having a problem just getting to the airport than you do being aboard a ship.
On our last cruise, the guy who took us to the airport was scarier than being on the ship; he seemed to have a bit of a problem keeping the van between the lines, making me wonder if he was fully awake by the time he arrived to get us – and that, folks, was the worst moment of our entire trip.
I do recommend that if you decide to cruise, do a search for the ship you’ll be sailing on; you should be able to find a wealth of information about it, like when it was built, if it’s ever been refitted or in dry dock for repairs – stuff like that. You can also find out about its current captain and crew – just ask the cruise line.