In a safety-enhancing move, Royal Caribbean International is adding certified lifeguards at all pools across its fleet.
"The addition of lifeguards on Royal Caribbean's ships is a positive move," says Peggy Rosenthal, franchise owner and vacation specialist, Dream Vacations, Bella Vista, AR. "As a former lifeguard, I respect the water and support moves to improve water safety.”
Travel Agent received the following statement from Royal Caribbean:
"Royal Caribbean International has implemented a water safety program across our fleet to raise awareness amongst our guests about the importance of vigilance while enjoying water features on our ships.
"This program incorporates gear and safety guidelines provided to guests throughout their cruise. These include lifeguards on duty at all pools during opening hours, swim vests for children 4 – 12 years old, a water safety presentation in the Adventure Ocean kids program as well as a teen 411 session on water safety.
"All lifeguards have been trained and certified by StarGuard Elite, an industry leading International Aquatic Risk Prevention and Lifeguard program.
"The campaign will be rolled out starting in March and will be available on every ship by June 2017."
Royal Caribbean confirmed that the lifeguards will be dedicated solely to the lifeguard job. They won't fulfill any other role on the ship.
At least one lifeguard will be stationed at every pool (including the Solarium) during all open hours.
The water safety program also encompasses enhanced signage, educational messaging, safety vests in three sizes for kids, children's water safety flyers, and incorporation of water safety into the passenger muster drill.
Applauding Royal Caribbean's "investment in safety" is Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president, CruiseOne, Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc.
"It not only demonstrates the cruise line’s commitment to attracting families, but is also a benefit for all passengers," emphasizes Fiorino. "Any type of program that addresses passenger safety and concerns will have a positive impact on the overall industry.”
Shift in Perspective
Lifeguards -- or the lack of -- has been a hot topic in the cruise industry for some time. Ships typically have signs that say "No lifeguard on duty."
The industry's philosophy has been that ships are similar to hotels which also often don't employ lifeguards. It's a swim-at-your-own-risk situation.
While most lines do not have lifeguards, Disney Cruise Line added lifeguards in 2013 after a child nearly drowned in one of its onboard pools. Unfortunately, parents having a good time on vacation can become distracted. Several fatalities or severe injuries have occurred over the years.
Royal Caribbean says the new program with lifeguards and enhanced water safety features isn't meant to replace a parent's watchful eye. All children under 12 must still be in the care of a parent to use any of the pools onboard, according to the line's policy for use of the pools.
Lifeguard Introduction Schedule
Lifeguards already started their duties onboard Oasis of the Seas this past weekend. Clients heading to a different ship? Here's the full schedule (subject to change), as confirmed by Royal Caribbean late Friday:
Harmony of the Seas: March 7-11
Independence of the Seas: March 11-16
Anthem of the Seas: March 11-14
Liberty of the Seas: March 12-19
Freedom of the Seas: March 22-29
Allure of the Seas: March 23-26
Brilliance of the Seas: March 24-30
Quantum of the Seas: March 26-31
Ovation of the Seas: March 29-April 3
Navigator of the Seas: March 31-April 5
Serenade of the Seas: March 31-April 7
Jewel of the Seas: March 31-April 4
Rhapsody of the Seas: April 5-8
Majesty of the Seas: April 21-24
Empress of the Seas: April 24-29
Adventure of the Seas: April 26-29
Enchantment of the Seas: May 8-12
Grandeur of the Seas: May 13-18
Explorer of the Seas: May 15-26
Mariner of the Seas: May 26-June 4
Radiance of the Seas: May 28-June 6
Voyager of the Seas: June 5-12
Vision of the Seas: June 15-27