Norwegian Cruise Line adds lifeguards amid mounting industry pressure

Norwegian is adding lifeguards to the four largest cruise ships this summer.

(Norwegian Cruise Line)

After a number of very well-known drowning or near-drowning incidents on board the mega-cruise ships, Norwegian will be the world’s third largest cruise line adding lifeguards are ships.

On Wednesday, the Miami-based company has announced that it will be lifeguarding staff to the four largest ships– Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic– this summer. The cruise line expects that the entire Norwegian fleet of 15 ships to be manned with lifeguards within the first three months of 2018.

“Norwegian has stationed pool monitors on our largest ships since 2015 and we are now taking further steps to ensure the safety of our youngest guests, with the addition of certified lifeguards on our fleet,” Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian said in a statement.

“While the parents are always the first line of supervision when it comes to safety on the water, we felt it was important to these added measures on our fleet.”


Norwegian follows in the footsteps of the Disney Cruise Line was the first in the industry to add lifeguards are ships in October 2013 after a very well-known near drowning incident. In March, Royal Caribbean announced that it had started staffing ships with lifeguards and expects the roll-out complete by June.

Previously, Norwegian had pool monitors—crew members not trained in the traditional life of the energy saving measures– monitoring the swimming pools and water features on ships. Going forward, all of the lifeguards on board cruise line ships will be trained and certified by the American Red Cross, and monitor family pools during opening hours.

The move is considered a step in the right direction by parenting groups, but many wonder why the industry is so slow to the mandate of the lifeguard staffing.

“In my opinion, it is because of the financial analyses do not add up for the cruise line,” maritime lawyer Michael Winkleman told Fox News.

In 2015, Winkleman, the company represented four families who lost or nearly lost children to drowning-related incidents on board cruise ships. He took the Death on the High Seas Act as a major reason for the lack of action of cruise lines to implement change.

“[The] cruise lines had no reason to spend money on the lifeguards when there was no real threat to their bottom line.”


But now the times are changing, according to the lawyer, as a father of two young children, says that it has become a personal mission to cruise lines safer. With Disney, Royal Caribbean and now Norwegian on board, Winkleman has set his sights on the next goal: Carnival Cruise Lines.

“Our company and our customers will continue to do what we can to make the public aware of the fact that Carnival is now the outlier in the cruise industry and still refuses to lifeguards on the ships,” said the lawyer.

“I think that this will soon change as the families on a cruise pick-RCCL or NCL over Carnival because their children are safer.”

Eventually, the lawyer hopes that the Death on the High Seas Act to be repealed, but recognises that “realistically that is an even more uphill battle than the force of the cruise lines put lifeguards on their ships.”

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