TW study finds cruise lines could further boost security

Cruise lines have tightened security since 9/11 but still can do a better job making their ships safer for passengers, based on results gathered from "How secure? An In-Depth Look at the Security of Hotels, Airlines, Cruise Lines and Convention Centers," a study sponsored by Travel Weekly Research.

After 9/11, 72% of cruise lines said they made at least moderate changes to security procedures. Cruise lines recently had to change procedures in response to new International Ship and Port Facility Security regulations. Because of these new ISPS regulations, 50% of those polled said they made major changes.

Eighty-three percent said their investment in security has increased. One cruise line executive said, "We now have extra onboard security, no more open bridge, limited guest access, prebooking documentation and electronic manifests."

It does not come as a surprise, therefore, to learn that 83% said their passengers are very safe.

Still, there are some areas that might require attention. For example, although all cruise lines surveyed conduct background checks on crew members and 80% conduct similar checks on officers, only 20% check the background of contractors working on each ship. Also, only 40% said they always require photo IDs when passengers and crew reboard following shore excursions.

As for cruise terminal inspections, 40% of respondents said they do not use metal detectors, and 60% do not use X-ray machines for inspecting passengers and crew members.

Research for the cruise line section of the study was conducted between May 5 and 24. Information about obtaining the full report is available at www.ntmresearch.com.

Art Pfenning is the research director for Northstar Travel Media, Travel Weekly's parent company. Send e-mail to [email protected].

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