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A Surprising Fact About Modern Day Cruise Ships: Still Not Enough Lifeboats

titanic 33 cents US STAMPThis one definitely falls under my Miscellaneous Thinking category and has nothing to do with the publishing business, but I was genuinely surprised to read this fact in the article “Lack of Backup Power Puts Cruise Passengers at the Ocean’s Mercy” in The New York Times today:

Massive new vessels like the Oasis of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean, can carry up to 5,400 passengers and 2,160 crew members… Experts say that evacuating any vessel is a dangerous, last-ditch procedure. And the prospect of doing so on a ship like the Oasis of the Seas is daunting. It carries enough lifeboats for 6,500 people; or 1,000 seats fewer than its maximum capacity.

I’ve read that section three times because I keep thinking I must be reading it wrong. Am I? Or is anyone else surprised to learn cruise ships aren’t required to have enough lifeboats for all of the passengers and crew? For some reason, I thought this issue had already been addressed after a terrible tragedy…


  1. Max Hunt

    Good stuff and I just read this aloud. My mother-in-law bought a week long cruise for herself, my wife and 2 teenage daughters for Christmas so with all the stuff that’s gone on lately, I’m reading aloud quite often!! Who me? No, I’m not into the macabre). They leave on March 3rd…and no, I was not invited.

    • Brian James Freeman

      I’ve been on one cruise and it was a lot of fun, but sometimes you hear the horror stories of how badly things can go and it makes you wonder! 🙂

  2. Kristen

    Thanks for the info. I had actually wondered about such with the large cruise ships that are sailing today. Seems like learning from mistakes is an antiquated philosophy. The $ rules all.

  3. Dave

    Apparently, around one thousand crew members are expendable 🙂

    • Brian James Freeman

      I wonder if that makes for an awkward job application process. “Hey, why is the position called Assistant Chief Engineer (EXPENDABLE)?”

  4. Max Hunt

    No, the job application has a line asking, “In an emergency, are you strong enough to throw a passenger out of a lifeboat so you do not perish?” 🙂

    • Brian James Freeman

      “Have you ever been described as a flotation device?”

  5. Bill Bacon

    While it is true that there are not enough LIFEBOATS for everyone onboard, there are enough for all the passengers. There are, additionally, LIFERAFTS for the crew. Ships are required to have lifesaving appliances for 100% of the capacity of passengers and crew.

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