47 Major Crimes Were Alleged on U.S. Cruise Ships in the First Three Months of 2024. Here’s What to Know

How safe is your cruise? Overall, extremely safe. Literally millions of passengers sail each year from the United States, and the total number of major alleged crimes reported comes out to around 200 annually.

The latest crime reports published by the U.S. government show dozens of crimes alleged during the first three months of the year across millions of passengers.

That means the individual chances of being a victim are low. Even so, crimes do occur on cruise ships, and thanks to reporting requirements from the U.S. government, passengers can get (some) insight into what’s alleged.

Days ago, the latest report on crimes aboard cruise ships was just released and what it showed will definitely be of interest to many cruisers.

Major Crimes Required to Be Reported By U.S. Cruise Ships

Cruise lines sailing from the United States come under the rules of the Cruise Vessel Security & Safety Act (CVSSA). This law required a number of steps be taken on ships regarding safety, including regular reporting of alleged crimes onboard.

These crimes include only major incidents, so smaller issues aren’t counted. Alleged crimes that are required to be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation include assault with serious injury, suspicious death, homicides, kidnapping, sexual assault and more.

Then, these crime reports are broken down by cruise line and whether they were committed by a crew member or a passenger. Every quarter the reports are uploaded to the U.S. Department of Transportation website for public viewing.

Low Rates of Crime, But a Disturbing Figure in One Area

The latest report covering January through March 2024 was just released, showing there were 47 alleged incidents aboard U.S. cruise ships that met the criteria to be included.

Take a look:

As has been the disturbing trend, sexual assaults and rape continue to outweigh other crimes by a large margin. This report included a total of 32 reports of sexual assault or rapes for the first quarter of the year. In 2023, there were a total of 131 such crimes reported. Those figures come in at roughly the same annual rate, showing no signs of a slowdown.

At current rates, there is a report of sexual assault or rape aboard a cruise ship about once every three days across all lines and ships sailing from the United States.

Surprisingly, assault with bodily injury saw sharp jump. In this case, all eight reports came from one cruise line -- Carnival.

In 2023 there were only 22 assaults alleged across all lines for the entire year. In 2019, the last full year of cruising before the pandemic, there were only nine cases. The current pace puts assaults to total more than 30 should current trends continue. That's well above 2023.

You can see the total incident counts for each cruise line in the chart below:

In general the number of incidents seems to correspond with the size of the cruise lines. For instance, Carnival and Royal Caribbean -- the two largest lines in the United States -- led the way with 17 and 11 incidents reported, respectively. We also noticed that Celebrity was not included on the list, making it the lone major cruise line to not have a major crime to report.

Common Sense Is Your Best Protection, Even on Vacation

One thing to remember is that millions of cruise passengers take to the sea from the United States each year. Industry figures put it around 14 million people per year.

In other words, the overall risk of being a victim are relatively low. Based on 2023 figures, it comes out to about a one in 73,000 chance. Even so, no one wants to be a victim, especially while on vacation.

That's why we always stress simply using common sense to protect yourself. Avoid situations where you might be at more of a risk, such as joining a stranger in a cabin, drinking too much, leaving valuables out in your cabin, or getting in arguments with others on the ship. 

The chances of being a victim are already low, but taking a few small steps can reduce them even further.

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