Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University, who has served as a consultant to the Cruise Lines International Association, says an examination of the three largest cruise companies’ crime statistics for 2010 through 2012 show that the rates of serious crimes like rape and assault at sea are only a small fraction of the rates on the U.S. mainland.
Writing for the Boston Globe’s website, Fox notes that the major cruise lines submit passenger manifests to both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard for screening. In addition, passengers and crew are searched for weapons and other contraband every time they board ship. The confined space on cruise ships limits the opportunity for offenders to attempt quick getaways. Fox concludes that travel on cruise lines is “quite safe in terms of the risks associated with criminal activity” despite the high density of passengers and crew in small spaces, the large number of closed quarters, and high alcohol consumption.