Is Cruising Safe?

Posted on 01/08/12 No Comments

As I read the articles and reports of the Italian cruise ship disaster I feel for the families of travelers involved and I think back to my last cruise and our marveling over how they never even completed the safety briefing.  Though we left from Venice, Italy, we were traveling on a recognized cruise line.  Our previous cruise had been in the Caribbean with Royal Caribbean and the safety briefing had been regimented and thorough (a distinct memory of that cruise).

Leaving from Venice, we got as far as being huddled in a grand dining room for the safety briefing before disbanding with no idea of even the location of the life boats.  Plenty of people remarked that this safety briefing was ‘a joke’ or a ‘waste of time’.  As experienced cruisers, the fact that we did not feel as safe is not so much important; what is important is the fact that we were not, indeed, safe.  Again, as with everything I preach in business, it all starts with ‘What’s the Goal?’

Among the chief concerns, if not the mission of a cruise line, must be the safety, well-being and enjoyment of its passengers.  That safety briefing, required on all cruise lines, is a critical factor to the accomplishment of this mission.  Every aspect of it must be carefully detailed in a strategic plan.  Every execution of it must be carefully monitored in an accountability management system. What are the three steps to everything I preach in business?

  1. Clear Goal
  2. Comprehensive Strategy
  3. Execution

The headline reads ‘After sinking, some wonder: Is cruising safe?’.  Of course! – it could be…

If safety is a priority (goal), a comprehensive plan can be developed that takes into account every known or conceivable variable (strategy).  It is then critical to implement an accountability management system to measure performance and get back on track on a timely basis (execution).   As is the case in terms of profitability for companies following this formula, the degree of safety of cruising is a function of the comprehensiveness of the strategy – not only what you plan on doing but also every thing that can go wrong (accounting for pilot error for instance) and the effectiveness of the accountability management system.

Now that safety is a consideration, based on my experience, I will cruise exclusively with Royal Caribbean in the future.  Every cruise line features amazing food, great diversions, cool destinations and plenty of entertainment.  The big selling point moving forward will be safety.  Royal Caribbean would do well to incorporate that into its mission statement.  Travelers like me will appreciate them for their attention to a safe and enjoyable vacation.

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