The majority of the 22 million passengers who cruise annually travel without issues or problems yet incidents that occur on cruise ships become headline news.
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), a longtime critic of the cruise industry and chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, will conduct a hearing on cruise passenger protection July 23, 2014. Rockefeller introduced The Cruise Passenger Protection Act in July 2013.
Some of the key provisions of the Cruise Passenger Protection Act include:
Currently major cruise companies voluntarily report crime data on their website, the new law would require cruise ships to fully report and make data available on the Department of Transportation (DOT) website.
Require a study of cruise professionals including medical personnel.
Establish an advisory committee for consumers and a toll-free hotline for complaints.
The hearing includes four witnesses representing passengers, no cruise line representatives are on the witness list. The witnesses are a plaintiff attorney who is a board member of the International Cruise Victims Association and three passengers.
Stewart Chiron of The Cruise Guy was interviewed on NBC 6 and points out that cruise ships do go above and beyond. He asks “What more can cruise ships do? The same types of complaints happen on shore.”
The hearing will stream live at the Senate Commerce Committee’s homepage.