Cruise ship tourism is one of the fastest developing industries in the world. People are eager to get access to various traveling opportunities and enjoy their vacations. It is hard to define one particular reason for why some many people want to try cruise ship tourism at least once in life. The peculiar feature of this industry is people’s desire to choose cruise ship industry in spite of the fact that fuel costs are increased, and the economy of various countries decreases considerably.
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Australia, the Unites States of America, and the Caribbean region benefit a lot from the possibility to develop the cruise ship industry and attract the attention of many tourists (Brida & Aguirre, 2008). However, it does not matter what country offers its cruise ship tourism opportunities. It is necessary to consider a number of health and safety issues to help people being confident in their solutions and preferences.
Travelers’ safety and health remain to be important questions for consideration worldwide. It is necessary to consider possible threats and understand how the chosen issues can be solved.
The current report aims at investigating health and safety issues in cruise ship tourism to evaluate the current state of affairs in the sphere of the Australian cruise ship industry, define the importance of the chosen aspect, consider the threats the staff and consumers may suffer from, and introduce the ideas on how the chosen health and safety issues can be improved in terms of cruise ship tourism.
Cruise Ship Tourism: Essence and Peculiarities
Many researchers identify the growth of the cruise industry as phenomenal because, during the last four decades, this kind of tourism has introduced itself as a powerful and beneficial service with a more or less stable income (Dowling, 2006). Its international growth is explained by the possibility to diversify the products and create a new market with a number of luxurious services for people of different social classes. The main benefits of cruises for tourists are as follows (Dowling, 2006):
- Ships are defined as self-contained in comparison to other traveling means;
- High-quality food is usually offered in the best serving style;
- People are provided with a chance to visit different places without any problems (except those connected to the natural disasters) in a short period of time;
- Passengers have a variety of insurances to be protected from any possible harm during travel.
In fact, people like cruise ship travel due to the possibility to be confident in everything that happens on board. They have enough space to relax and enjoy a variety of services starting from having personal cabins with bed, shower, toilet, etc. and ending with a chance to use swimming pools or other attractions.
Globally, the industry has the revenues of $36.37 billion in 2013 and $37 billion in 2014 (“Statistics and facts on the cruise industry,” n.d.). Such numbers make it possible to improve each segment of the industry and provide the necessary improvements in a certain period of time.
The above-mentioned table is taken from the online source about the statistics of the marine industry during the last several years.
The Caribbean and Europe are the countries that have already demonstrated good results in cruise shipping. The USA and Australia are the countries where the growth of the chosen industry is still undergoing, and it is possible to predict that the results of these regions may be overwhelming. Still, in order to avoid problems and challenges, the representatives of this industry in different countries have to consider the importance of health and safety issues and develop the ideas that can help to make the segment better.
Health and Safety Issues
The transportation of people through water had a long history and began in the Middle Ages. Cruises were used to discover new lands, carriage of huge luggage, or just meet some personal preferences. It is hard to neglect the fact that people like traveling with comfort, and they cannot avoid a chance to enjoy the luxury traveling far from home. Besides, in addition to the issues of comfort and luxury, the question of health and safety should be raised properly.
When people choose cruise tourism, they want to be sure that their travels are safe. They want to enjoy the quality of services and a kind of insurance that their presence on shipboard is under the control of professional security services. In spite of the fact that the questions of health and safety are frequently raised in the sphere of cruise ship tourism, people involved in this sphere do numerous attempts and succeed to introduce the best and safest services.
People have to be confident in their protection. The staff should consider all safety issues to introduce high-quality services. Safety issues are currently discussed due to frequent cases of terrorism or inabilities to overcome or foresee the accidents caused by poor weather conditions like floods, fires, storms, etc.
Safety questions are discussed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This organization aims at solving the problems of environmental pollution caused by ships and various safety and security aspects. A certain framework is offered to the shipping industry that promotes effective service implementation.
The evaluation of health issues in the cruise ship industry takes an important place as well. International shipping should be organized in the best and safest way; that is why special committees make sure each ship has several properly trained and experienced doctors, who are able to help passengers or the members of a crew in cases of emergency.
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The World Health Organization admits that a ship’s medical facility should not be defined as a hospital with all required equipment and experts; it is more like an infirmary with a possibility to help people during a certain period of time (“International travel and health,” 2015).
Health and Safety Issues in Different Countries
Different countries have their own peculiarities in regards to the questions of health and safety, and in the current report, Australia will be discussed and compared with the USA and the Caribbean region. Australia is usually introduced as a generally safe destination (“Health and safety,” 2015). Its government takes care of personal health, safety, and security due to promoting a stable political system, low crime rates, and the attention to the local standards.
The American and Caribbean regions have almost the same situation in terms of health and safety issues in cruise ship tourism. All countries have to follow the standards offered by the IMO because it is hard to solve the questions of safety if one nation finds it appropriate to have saving boats made of glass-reinforced plastic, and another nation insists on having the boats made of steel (IMO, 2015).
That is why the IMO elaborates the needs of all nations involved in the cruise ship industry and introduce the standards that help to control the situation in the sea.
Still, the USA is one of the countries that continue developing cruise ship industry, and it is hard to predict what measurements and opportunities can be offered in a short period of time. As the cruise ship industry has a considerable impact on such spheres as economics, international business, and politics, more attention should be paid to health and safety issues not only in regards to the tourists but also in regards to the crew members.
Importance of Health and Safety Issues in Cruise Ship Tourism
For many people, it seems to be a dangerous and unpredictable period when a person visits an unfamiliar environment. The point is that people cannot be sure of the quality of health and safety issues; still, they are eager to try some new drinks, activities like fishing in an open sea or snorkeling. People need more protective means and insurance that nothing bad can happen to them. In fact, the injuries can be caused by the inability to cope with new equipment or carelessness while making an action.
It is very important to provide service consumers with the required portion of information but make sure that people are satisfied with all options they have access to. Customer satisfaction is a crucial issue for consideration since the 1990s. Cruise ships usually introduce a variety of services, and the crew should check if the offered services do not prevent promotion of health and safety. Security and medical competence should be the questions of high priority.
Medical practitioners and tourism authorities should have enough information about the physical and emotional conditions of their passengers to understand their health and safety needs properly. For example, if there are the patients with diabetes or asthma, the doctor of a board should have enough basic equipment and drugs to help such passengers in a case of emergency. Sometimes, it is not even necessary for the passengers to know that the crew has all necessary items to help if some troubles take place.
It is enough to tell that everything is under control, and if passengers have some doubts in regards to health or safety issues, it is better to provide them with detailed information. Much depends on people and their personal demands: some people want to know if they are protected enough during a trip, and some people just want to forget about the details and enjoy a trip with its comfort, quality, and variety.
Identification of Complaints and Uncertainties in Terms of Health
Health issues in cruise ship tourism can vary from a passenger to a passenger. Cruise vacations, as many other types of vacation, are usually about eating, drinking, and entertaining.
As a rule, the most frequent health problems are heart attacks, different cardiovascular diseases, and diarrhea that are caused by a frequent use of alcohol, tobacco, or other unknown products, sunburn that is caused by due to a chance to spend much time under the sun, motion sickness because some people are not ready for marine travels, and the diseases that can be transmitted by means of physical (sexual) connection that cannot be usually controlled by the members of a crew.
During a cruise, people have a threat to have any of the above mentioned and many other health problems (it depends on the regions where a trip takes place and the presence of some local chronic diseases). The only difference is the conditions under which sick people should be treated. It is impossible to have a whole hospital on board with the necessary equipment and a number of experts. That is why any ship or boat should have a medical practitioner that is able to analyze the situation and offer the best possible treatment.
Health issues are closely connected to the food that plays an important role in any vacation as people are eager to evaluate the services offered and the opportunities they may have access to. As soon as the food is delivered to a ship, it should be properly kept during the whole vacation. Professional cooks should know how to work with different ingredients and make sure no threats can be observed. In addition, it is necessary to keep an eye on the quality of dishes offered to passengers. The question of hygiene as a part of all health issues discussed is urgent on shipboard.
Besides, certain attention should be paid to the question of vaccination. To make a vacation safer, passengers are usually asked to have the required vaccination to avoid health threats. Each member of a crew is obliged to pass a medical investigation regularly not to become a source of health problems aboard.
Safety Issues on Board
Some people do not understand why much attention is paid to the question of safety on board because people are isolated from negative outside factors, the crew and passengers are usually checked by tour operators, etc. However, people should not forget that though the word ‘pirate’ is usually associated with some movies or historical events, the cases of pirate attacks are still possible. The interested people know that huge cruise travels are usually full of rich people, who are ready to spend a lot aboard.
Many passengers like to take their jewelry, cash, and portable technological devices to feel comfort. Pirates may gain control over such cases and plan their actions beforehand to achieve the required richness. Passengers aboard have no place to hide or avoid terrorists or pirates; that is why special organizations spend much time and efforts to provide each passenger with safe and secure conditions for traveling.
The International Maritime Organization is the main association that takes responsibility for the safety of the conditions under which passengers travel across oceans. At the same time, this organization is not able to have its representative on each board; that is why the quality of services and safety depends a lot on the way to how a team of a ship is able to control everything aboard.
Under the rules and standards introduced by the IMO, the country of registration takes responsibility for the enforcement of the laws and conventions that can promote safety (Wood, 2008). Besides, people should think about their personal safety as well and try to avoid the mistakes that can lead to unpredictable and unpleasant results. As a rule, all ships have a number of rules introduced to all passengers during a trip. People have to learn them and get a chance to avoid or prevent a threat that can take place.
However, sometimes, many people find it unnecessary or just a waste of time reading the instructions and following the orders. This kind of negligence is one of the first reasons for why some many discussions are developed around the issues of health and safety in cruise ship tourism. The evaluation of threats is a crucial step in the report that has to be taken.
Threats that Make Health and Safety Issues Burning
Personal Attitude to a Trip
In spite of the fact that cruising is declared as one of the safest forms of tourism because the fewer incidents take place, people forget about simple still vital rules to be followed while choosing cruise ship tourism.
The main thought that should be kept in mind is the fact that this kind of vacation/trip is usually available for a number of people at the same time. These people are other passengers and the crew. It is very important to follow the norms of behavior and avoid conflicts and fights because even if a ship is huge, and a number of entertaining options exist, it may happen to meet unwanted people frequently.
The presence of alcohol is one more aspect to be considered. On vacation, people like entertaining, and, unfortunately, the use of alcohol is one of the entertaining means that cannot be substituted. People want to relax and forget about the norms usually. That is why it is better to have several security people, who take control over the passengers and make sure there are no behavioral deviations from the basic safety norms aboard.
A Variety of Opportunities
Many people are impressed with the opportunities they have during their cruise ship vacation. They cannot resist the temptation to try everything they have access to. As a rule, tourists use too many food products but do not pay much attention to physical training that leads to the obesity problems. Besides, people are free to enjoy the beauty of sea (ocean) and neglect the basic safety measurements, and their inattention leads to different traumas.
Finally, there are a number of new people that want to become friends and have a good time entertaining together. It is hard to realize true intentions of unknown people, and entrusting people within a short period of time may become a problem that results in the robberies, rapes, and other unpredictable and unpleasant outcomes.
Every member of a crew should be properly instructed on how to behave with tourists and take care of them in a professional way. It is evident that people, who choose cruise ship tourism, want to provide themselves with high-quality services and the abilities to relax. The fact that some people watch their moves can frustrate or irritate.
That is why some ship workers do not want to cause discomfort and pay less attention to the travelers. It is a serious mistake that is made by some people. As soon as a person comes on board, a crew takes responsibility for him/her.
Ideas to Improve Health and Safety Issues in Cruise Ship Tourism
In addition to the activities offered by the professional organizations like IMO or WHO, people should try to improve health and safety issues by themselves. Of course, it does not mean that the whole vacation should be spent in a personal cabin with a number of products taken from the home and a number of vitamins taken hourly.
People are able to take several simple precautionary steps to protect themselves on board and help each other enjoy the beauty of vacations. The following ideas can be used to realize that the identification of health and safety issues in cruise ship tourism should become a problem for tourists and for a crew:
- Vaccination is one of the easiest and safest way to be protected in vacation;
- People should be careful with everything they are going to eat because some unknown dishes may contain some allergic products;
- Attention to personal stuff, money, and documents is obligatory (it is possible to use saves;
- Necessity to be introduced to a crew and a steward responsible for a particular floor cannot be neglected;
- There is no need to have much money because the majority of ships support financial transactions or the presence of special keys or debit cards to make payments;
- Passengers should check the locks and close portholes as soon as they are going to leave a cabin because it may happen that “unexpected” guests can use the opportunity and “visit” a cabin.
It does not seem very difficult to follow these rules and make sure there are fewer threats to health or safety. Unfortunately, the current state of affairs shows that the cases of terrorism and numerous thefts bother tourists even on ships. Even the most professional organizations and powerful countries are able to control such accidents.
That is why people, who choose cruise ship tourism, should learn more about the situations and behavior to be considered on shipboard and in cases of emergency. Maritime crimes and the ordinary crimes that take place on land differ considerably, and people have to understand the difference and be careful.
In general, there are no doubts that health and safety issues in cruise ship tourism have to be properly defined, discussed, and evaluated. The marine tourism industry has a huge potential to be developed in many port countries. Australia, the USA, and the countries of the Caribbean should consider their opportunities the most because it is a good chance to have stable economic and political situations. If the country has the necessary portion of natural resources and an appropriate international reputation, the chances to succeed in the tourism industry are high indeed.
All tourists have to be satisfied with their vacations on ships, and health, as well as safety, issues should not cause any problems. Special organizations should gain control over the activities of a crew, and each member of a crew should take care of passengers, and passengers, in their turn, should consider their own safety by means of following simple directions and suggestions. Being healthy is the goal people want to achieve in their ordinary lives. And being healthy aboard is the goal people in the sphere of cruise ship tourism should achieve.
The presence of terrorism, the inabilities to support food control all the time, and the challenges with control of passengers’ behavior are the obstacles that should be analyzed and solved. The government of every country involved in cruise ship tourism has to provide the required portion of the financial support in time. It is better for people to share their own opinions on how to improve safety on shipboard because a variety of options and informative sources help to consider different aspects of the issues considered in the current report.
Brida, J.G. & Aguirre, S.Z. (2008). The impacts of the cruise industry on tourism destinations. Sustainable Tourism as a Factor of Local Development,9,110-117.
Dowling, R.K. (2008). The cruising industry. In R.K. Dowling (Ed.), Cruise ship tourism (pp. 3-17). Cambridge, MA: CABI.
Health and safety. (2015). Australia. Web.
IMO: Frequently asked questions. (2015). Web.
International travel and health: Travel by sea. (2015). World Health Organization. Web.
Statistics and facts on the cruise industry. The Statistics Portal. Web.
Wood, R.E. (2008). Cruise tourism: A paradigmatic case of globalization? In R.K. Dowling (Ed.), Cruise ship tourism (pp. 397-406). Cambridge, MA: CABI.