Statement from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

The safety of passengers and crews aboard the CLIA cruise fleet is the number one priority for our members. Even as cruising has increased in popularity, cruise lines have maintained an exceptional safety record, with policies and practices that often exceed those required by law. In fact, operational incidents involving cruise ships have reached all-time lows in recent years, making cruising one of the safest ways to travel. Although rare, crime that does occur onboard cruise ships is taken very seriously and is subject to strict reporting procedures involving international, national and local law enforcement agencies. These legal requirements— combined with a system of transparency as well as a commitment to provide passengers with the best possible cruise experiences— create a powerful incentive for cruise lines to both adopt and implement policies meant to protect those onboard. ­­  

Additional Information

  • All cruise ships in international service must be in compliance with international regulations, including the “International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea”, or SOLAS.   This is just as true of a U.S. flagged vessel operating internationally, as it is for an internationally flagged vessel visiting a U.S. Port.   
  • Compliance with SOLAS and other international regulations is verified by the Flag state, often through the use of recognized organizations such as Vessel Classification Societies.     
  • Vessels visiting ports outside their own country of registry are subject to further examination under a process called Port State Control.  In the US, this function is performed by the U.S. Coast Guard.  All foreign passenger vessels must demonstrate compliance with international requirements, as well as additional U.S. regulations, before they are permitted to embark passengers in the U.S. These examinations are rigorous and conducted on a regular basis to ensure continued compliance.         
  • Cruise lines choose where to register their ships based upon a variety of business reasons.  However, it is in their business interest to register under reputable Flags.  Flags with poor performance histories are typically subject to more frequent examinations by port state control authorities around the world.     
  • CLIA member lines agree to uphold international safety and environmental protection standards as a condition of membership.  Moreover, CLIA member policies that address safety and environmental topics are more stringent that international requirements in many cases.

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