Disney adds lifeguards to its cruises
Disney Cruise Line has reportedly become the first major cruise line to install lifeguards on all of its ships.
Although no official announcement has been made, passengers on board the Disney Dream and Disney Magic have seen lifeguards stationed by family pools since late September, according to Cruise Critic.
Disney Fantasy and are expected to follow suit with the new policy within the next couple of weeks.
Lifeguards will be on duty at all times the pools are open, which is generally all hours of the day, apart from night-time and if there's bad weather. Disney stated that it regularly looks at its policies on these and all issues and is always willing to make changes where necessary.
Currently, most cruise lines do not provide life guards for their pools. However, the issue has been cast into the media spotlight in the last few weeks following the drowning of a young boy onboard a ship operated by Carnival.
The tragic event occurred onboard the Carnival Victory while it was at sea and en-route to Port Miami in the US. At the time, Carnival told the Associated Press: "To the best of our knowledge it is the first time a child has drowned aboard one of our ship.
"Carnival extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family during this very difficult time. The company's CareTeam is providing assistance and support."
Although such cases are rare, it did prompt many to suggest that cruise lines and hotels have an obligation to ensure that youngsters in their pools are safe. On the other hand, some remain adamant that the responsibility for watching children while they are on a cruise ship remains with parents.
According to Carol Finkelhoffe, chair of the Cruise Line & Passenger Ship Committee in the US, all cruise lines should be providing lifeguards for family pools. She said earlier this month: "Someone should be watching the pool. It's foreseeable that these types of accidents can happen ... and they should do something to prevent them."