| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Health, safety history of cruise ships tough for customers to assess

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.
A photo provided by passenger Don Hoggatt of Dallas shows the tent city built on the Lido deck of the Carnival Triumph cruise ship for people to spend the day or night in to escape the stench from the lower decks of the disabled ship. AP

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, 6:48 p.m.

MIAMI — A byzantine maze of maritime rules and regulations, fragmented oversight and a patchwork quilt of nations that do business with cruise lines make it tough for consumers to assess the health and safety record of the ship they're about to board in what for many is the vacation of a lifetime.

Want to know about a ship's track record for cleanliness? Want to assess the food preparation? It's not that easy to find, in part because there's no one entity or country that oversees or regulates the industry with its fleet of ships that are like mini-cities floating at sea.

In the case of Carnival Cruise Lines, the owner of the Carnival Triumph that spent days in the Gulf of Mexico disabled by an engine fire, the company is incorporated in Panama, its offices are based in Miami, and its ships fly under the Bahamian flag — a matrix that is not unusual in the cruise line industry.

For potential passengers seeking ship information, there's no central database that can be viewed to determine a track record of safety or health inspections. No one agency regulates everything from the cruise line's mechanical worthiness to the sanitation of its kitchens.

These are not new issues — they had been raised in Congress before the Triumph incident.

“This horrible situation involving the Carnival Triumph is just the latest example in a long string of serious and troubling incidents involving cruise ships,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who led a committee hearing on cruise safety last year.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. ‘12 Days of Christmas’ items top $34K, up 0.6 percent
  2. New Navy destroyer Zumwalt’s seaworthiness questioned before sea trials
  3. Pot doctors in medical marijuana states push boundaries with marketing
  4. Iraq War veteran, mother of 2 slain in Colorado clinic rampage
  5. Upstate New York town threatened by Arizona man in online post, reports say
  6. Scandals leave Oklahomans in dark
  7. Disability claim waits grow alongside swelling caseloads for judges
  8. Foreign policy expert: Obama administration should create Syria safe areas
  9. Chicago police videos of black teen McDonald’s death lack sounds; protests planned for ‘Black Friday’
  10. Feds tell railroads they must meet deadlines for lifesaving technology
  11. Hawaii confronts dengue fever cases