Cruise Industry Family Focus Brings Safer Ships

 Not all that long ago, a 3-night sailing on any given cruise line could aptly be called a ‘booze cruise’ and the clientele on board were there to drink, perhaps to excess. This was not the cruise experience of choice for families with small children. But part of what seems to be an industry-wide effort to draw mom, dad and the kids, things are changing.

Safety First
With safety at sea still solidly in the spotlight, cruise lines are taking another look at all aspects of what they do. Exceeding requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), that already made safety instruction mandatory, cruise lines have added more. Now, in addition to the legal requirements, Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) members have adopted a policy that standardizes safety procedures.

Not all that long ago, a $20 bill/bribe to a cabin steward would allow skipping muster drills so the non-stop party that began when passengers first arrived on the ship could continue. That won’t happen today as crew members and supervisors check each and every cabin carefully.

No More Over-Serving
In addition, look for cruise lines to serve their alcohol-consuming passengers responsibly, focusing on families and multi-generational families rather than swinging singles. Along the same lines, we’re seeing cruise lines focus on culinary events with a focus on celebrity chefs, cooking classes and shore excursions offering a food element.

On longer sailings, we’re more apt to find connoisseurs-in-training exploring wines of the world than Joe Six Pack, anxiously awaiting the belly-flop contest.

More Than Mindless Entertainment
Entertainment on many cruise lines now includes more of a family-friendly element, starting with children’s programming. Each major cruise line has added household name family elements ranging from entertainingDreamworks characters on Royal Caribbean ships to edufun Dr Seuss on Carnival Cruise Lines. But it does not end there.

Would being tucked in at night by Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob Squarepants be appealing to your child or grandchild? You can do that on Norwegian Cruise Line. How about immersing that child in the world of Barbie? Royal Caribbean’s Barbie Premium Experience has girls age 4 to 11 set to sail on a Barbie dream cruise complete with fun, fashion and runway moments.

Call it a natural evolution of what cruise lines are offering, a reaction to safety-related issues in the news lately or just the right thing to do; the onboard experience at sea is changing. There is still plenty of liquor, more than enough diversion and ample opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and go back to real life refreshed. Fans of the ‘booze cruise’ can still craft one with the elements in place on most major cruise lines; they won’t be in the majority though.

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