Norwegian Cruise Line issued a statement to travel agents yesterday telling of how very safe their ships are and that agents should have full confidence that their vessels meet and exceed safety requirements. In that statement, CEO Kevin Sheehan goes into great detail on the experience of command officers, navigation protocols in place and more. Adding that Norwegian holds safety drills prior to departure on every sailing, the epistle sent off to the travel agent community would suggest that Norwegian is right on the ball, taking care of business.
A second look raises some questions.
One has to wonder why Norwegian did not join in with the rest of the cruise industry (and the rest of the planet, for that matter) expressing their condolences, at least for those who died, on Costa Concordia. That omission simply jumps off the page as being odd and, getting inside cruise vacations as we do here, prompts a closer look.
Within minutes of that email statement arriving I had travel agents asking:
- “Have they not heard of the Costa Concordia grounding over at Norwegian Cruise Lines?”
- “Are there hard feelings between Norwegian and other cruise lines? “
- All other major cruise lines joined in the chorus of “We thought we were safe, we still do but there’s work to be done to make sure.” Why not Norwegian?
“Our Captains are experienced seafarers with an average of 33 years at sea,” Sheehan writes. We’re always a bit skeptical about organizations that tout “experience” expressed in this manner. We really don’t have any reason to believe that there is a lack of experience on the bridge of Norwegian ships but statements like this beg the question “I wonder how many years of experience the captain on MY ship has?” 50 years? 30 years? 20 years? 1 year? Add them all up, divide by four and the numbers work out right.
Personally, I’d rather not have the guy with one year experience driving the ship but then we go on to read that it takes at least 15 years to be a captain. We feel better. Still, why the cold shoulder to the cruise industry? Why the need to distance themselves?
Maybe Norwegian’s Facebook page has a clue. While other lines had stopped social media interaction and advertising, thought to be inappropriate during this trying time for the cruise industry and out of respect for those affected by the Costa Concordia grounding, Norwegian started a Facebook contest giving away free cruises this week in addition to ongoing promotions.
“As part of “Norwegians Take it to the Next Level” sales event, new reservations made through March 31, 2012, can receive same category upgrades, reduced deposits and e-coupons worth up to $400 in on-board savings (for sailings taking place before December 31, 2012) on select ships,” reports Cruisemates.
Scouring the line’s Facebook feed we did find a note of condolence as well as the same text sent to Norwegian’s travel partners first. No. Make that Facebook First, Partners five days later. Got it.
Here then is that statement from Norwegian:
Thank you for partnering with Norwegian Cruise Line. We are confident that your customers will have an excellent experience aboard our ships. We want to take this opportunity to assure you that the safety of our guests and crew is, at all times, our number one priority.
Our bridge operations are based on a two-person team approach. Accordingly, there are always two officers in charge of bridge operations, mandating strict adherence to operating procedures. Furthermore, our bridge teams follow pre-set voyage plans which are thoroughly reviewed and discussed by the Captain and bridge team prior to port departures and arrivals
We operate all of our vessels to meet and exceed the requirements of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention and the International Safety Management Code maritime standards, the international safety requirements which govern the cruise industry. Every crew member is well trained in the Company’s stringent safety protocols, participating in weekly safety drills onboard every one of our ships.
Our Captains are experienced seafarers with an average of 33 years at sea. All of our Captains come up through the ranks progressing from Second Officer to First Officer and then Chief Officer up to Staff Captain before they can become Captains. On average, it takes 15 years for a Captain to be promoted into that role. We further ensure that our Captains regularly undergo rigorous simulation training on navigation and bridge operations.
To assist our Captains and Officers while at sea, we have extensive navigation protocols in place. Our bridge operations are based on a two-person team approach. Accordingly, there are always two officers in charge of bridge operations, mandating strict adherence to operating procedures. Furthermore, our bridge teams follow pre-set voyage plans which are thoroughly reviewed and discussed by the Captain and bridge team prior to port departures and arrivals. In addition, all of our ships employ the latest state-of-the-art navigational equipment and technology to ensure that our bridge teams have the most accurate data regarding the planned itinerary.
Prior to every cruise setting sail, we hold a mandatory safety drill for all guests during which important safety information is reviewed and demonstrated. We also show an extensive safety video which runs continuously on the stateroom televisions should further information be required.
We appreciate you choosing Norwegian Cruise Line. As your Travel Partner, we are committed to giving you all the support you need to keep your cruise sales strong, now and well into the future.
Kevin Sheehan Chief Executive Officer
- Cruise line rewards like a Norwegian (chriscruises.net)
- Cruise line expands youth program, like a Norwegian would (chriscruises.net)
- New cruise ship adds options sailing from Northeast U.S. homeports (chriscruises.net)
- Celebrity Cruises talks safety (chriscruises.net)
- Cruise line changes name, looks forward, engaging guests along the way (chriscruises.net)