If you haven’t watched the news in the last two weeks, a cruise ship capsized off the coast of Tuscany, Italy. The captain took an unauthorized detour to get close to an island. His motives are still unknown. The ship hit the reef and began to sink and eventually tipped to its side.

While hundreds of passengers scrambled into life boats, many jumped off and swam to the island for safety. Unfortunately, more than 30 passengers were not so lucky and perished in the crash.Tales of a passengers range from a father who saved his children but was unable to save himself to a couple who was celebrating sending their last child to college.

In addition to the loss of life, light oil has begun to leak into the ocean. Crews are devising plans to safely remove the fuel before it contaminates too much of the ocean. The captain, who is in custody, allegedly fled the scene after crashing the ship and faces criminal charges. Passengers and residents of the Tuscan region are forever changed by a disaster that could have been prevented.

Cruises are a popular way to travel. Passengers just pay the fare which includes transportation, a room and all you can eat food. It can be a great way to see the sights while relaxing. But with this recent crash, many wonder if it is safe to go on a cruise. We have come a long way since the Titanic, but cruises are not as safe as you think.

A recent Newsweek article reported that many cruise staff members are ill-prepared for this kind of emergency. Inefficient communication and lack of communication can greatly impair how efficient a staff can, say, get passengers safely off a sinking ship.

Newsweek quotes a former cruise ship employee who said that the safety training was often given in another language, making it difficult for staff to understand. When being audited or investigated, staff members were crammed with safety info and even given “cheat sheets” so they would pass inspections.

While the cruise company of the sunk Italian ship claims that all staff is adequately prepared for any safety issues, some other safety issues arise.

When first arriving on a cruise ship, the entire ship full of passengers gathers together while wearing life jackets to teach about basic safety tips and what to do if we did indeed capsize. But what good does a training do if the staff is not able to handle the panic?

Passenger to crew ratios have increased significantly in that last few years. That means there are less people to clean the ship, serve the food and, most importantly, who know what to do in a disaster. Crew members are often working 14 hour shifts for seven days a week.  This routine can go on months after months, making the staff tired and off their game. A fatigued and weak staff is not who I want to put my faith and safety in.

After hearing about his crash, would you still book a cruise?

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