In 2010, there were 35 total reported incidences aboard all cruise ships running out of an American port. Of those 35 reports, 28 were sexual assaults. 18 of those 28 sexual assualts involved a passenger as the victim, while the remaining 10 were crew. In all of 2010 there were 4 total deaths; 3 of these were passengers and 1 was a crew member. The United States Coast Guard records do not elaborate on the cause of these deaths, except to say that they were classified as suspicious, which I assume rules out things like heart attacks, heat strokes and other general environmental factors that the cruise lines cannot control. Carnival Cruise Lines was by far the leader in reported incidences for 2010, representing 16 of the 35. Carnival recorded 12 sexual assaults, 2 assaults with serious bodily injury and 2 suspicious deaths. Not a great year for Carnival. Royal Caribbean had the second worst record with 8 total incidences; 6 sexual assaults and 2 suspicious deaths. Followed by Holland America with 4 reports, Princess Cruises with 3, Disney Cruise Line with 2 and MSC Cruises tied with Norwegian Cruises each with 1 reported incident. None of the bottom five cruise lines recorded any deaths in 2010.
Okay, so, 2010 looks like it was a bad year to be sailing the open seas. Good news though, 2011 turned out to be much better. There were only 16 reported incidences total that year and of those 16, 13 were sexual assaults and 3 were assaults with serious bodily injury. There were no recorded deaths (suspicious deaths, that is) in the entire year. Hooray for drinking, gambling and over eating in international waters without hurting each other (too badly)! In 2011, Carnival Cruise Lines again topped the reported incidences list with 9 of the 16 incidences. Again, not great for Carnival, however, I do believe that a good portion of the statistics running against Carnival is due to the fact that they are the biggest cruise line operating out of America.
Obviously all of these stats I've thrown at you so far are of crime aboard cruise lines. So, what about cruise liners sinking? Does that happen often? No, not really. In 2010, there were 2 ships that sank, but neither of them could be considered bonafide cruise ships. One carried 18 passengers and the other carried 64; small boats to be sure. In 2011, there were 4 reports of ships sinking, and again, none were large boats like your typical luxury cruiser. The largest of these four carried 196 passengers (although in that particular case the maximum number of passengers the boat was rated for was 120). Generally speaking, cruise ships don't sink. They have very specific paths they follow and are usually strictly held to these coordinates. If you're interested in reading more about reported incidences of ships sinking, then check out Cruise Junkie for more information. They have all the stats from 1979 to the present.
All in all, you're actually very safe on a cruise ship vacation. Considering that there are approximately 200 cruise ships operating world wide with an estimated 12 million passengers enjoying these cruises each year, you're far more likely to die in a car accident than on a cruise ship. What happened to the Costa Concordia on that fateful Friday the 13th was indeed a tragedy, but it was a freak accident that is not likely to be repeated.
So, how do you feel about all of this? Try the polls below and see whether you share the majority opinion.
After reading about what happened to the Costa Concordia Cruise Ship, are you still willing to take a cruise ship vacation?
Will the Costa Concordia disaster deter you from going on a Costa Cruise Line vacation?
Source: The United States Coast Guard Investigative Service (USCG) - Cruise Line Incident Reporting Statistics