Cruise Ship Security: What Meeting Planners Need to Know

Sales Incentive trip - Silversea ship charter in Med

These days, safety and security are top of mind when planning a meeting or incentive trip. At a recent industry conference for meeting and event professionals, leaders from all travel sectors discussed security issues; I was invited to speak on behalf of the cruise industry. Here are important facts and an infographic that demonstrate the extraordinary measures the industry is taking to keep all passengers safe and secure.

Key Takeaways:

  • IDs are screened before travel day by law enforcement. Anyone with a felony conviction is denied boarding.
  • Weapons are not allowed on ships by passengers or crew – ever.
  • Hand luggage is screened twice– in the port terminal and onboard.
  • Checked luggage is screened and checked by bomb-sniffing dogs.

Facts About Cruise Ship Security

CLIA layers of cruise ship security

Much of what cruise lines do to protect passengers happens quietly, behind the scenes. And although the crime rate at sea is extraordinarily low, cruise lines maintain a watchful eye for suspicious activity. In fact, they operate with multiple layers of security.

  1. Access to the cruise ship terminal, ship, passengers, and passengers’ belongings is strickly enforced. Proof of identity is required.
  2. Second, all passengers, crew, carry-on baggage and luggage must pass through screening checkpoints before boarding. Sniffing dogs trained to detect explosives are used in the security area.
  3. Third, prior to embarking or disembarking, passengers and crew are required to pass through security checkpoints.
  4. Fourth, cruise lines maintain an official manifest for each ship, which includes all passengers, officers, staff and crew. This list is shared with U.S. authorities to run through law enforcement databases.
  5. Fifth, video surveillance is used to monitor onboard activity .

Additional Cruise Ship Security Measures

  • Major cruise lines have sophisticated security departments run by former federal, state or military law enforcement officials and staffed by professional security personnel.
  • Highly trained ship security officers are on call and patrol ships 24/7.
  • Carnival Corporation will be the first cruise company to partner with INTERPOL for advanced security screening to further increase passenger safety on all 101 ships across 10 brands around the world.
  • In many destinations, divers go beneath the ship before it leaves port, and the cruise line takes great precautions when taking on provisions, with dogs used to enhance security.
  • Perhaps most importantly,  ports of calls and itineraries can be changed when necessary due to world events.
  • For the ultimate security, consider chartering a ship exclusively for your group.

Safety at Sea Assures Greater Peace of Mind

The result? A highly secure and safe environment for a meeting, conference or event, because the growing concern surrounding large conferences and public gatherings is random shootings. Cruise ships provide the most secure environment compared to most convention centers or hotels because of the stringent security procedures -a focus of the cruise industry since the 1970’s.

For normal travel emergencies, ships provide a well-equipped infirmary staffed by qualified doctors and nurses to handle emergencies as needed with rapid, often life-saving response.

In addition, cruise lines have well-trained “Care Teams”, ready on short notice to travel to any ship to assist passengers and their families in a time of emergency. They typically offer counseling, handle repatriation, and make arrangements for ongoing assistance as needed. This is a great support to any meeting planner’s staff, and provides peace of mind when planning an event onboard a ship.

Learn More About Cruise Ship Security & Safety

If you have additional questions or concerns about meeting on a cruise ship, please give us a call at 305-661-1880, send an email to


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