THIS WEEK’S BIGPITCH: After charges of assault and waste-dumping, how can the cruise industry repair its image?

Mike Clifford, Clifford PR, New York

Mike Clifford, Clifford PR, New York

Mike Clifford, Clifford PR, New York

Re-establishing consumer confidence is key to the future success of the

cruise industry, and only by making passengers feel good about their

safety and well-being will cruise ships begin to repair their image. For

those lines accused of wrongdoing, I’d recommend a proactive media

campaign to tell the world about the concrete steps being taken to

ensure that no further problems arise. I’d start by increasing security

where possible, better educating employees and creating materials to

reassure prospective guests. Not only will this help assuage fears, but

it will also enable quick-acting companies to stand out from the


Marianne McInerney, National Business Travel Association, Alexandria,


The industry must develop and promote a strong industry-wide


As in many other industries, the actions that have attracted attention

have been few. It has dealt with these well, with only a few exceptions

that have caused a ripple effect. But it is time for a total proactive

response. A little-known secret is that the cruise and related maritime

industries have been at the forefront of developing waste-management


A representative association must call for an industry-wide code of

conduct and publicize it through media outreach and through partnerships

with environmental organizations. The issues of safety and sexual

assault require a multi-tiered approach that should begin with an

association initiative that can be applied through each individual

operator. Multicultural sensitivity and safety training should be a

requirement for all new employees, and existing staff should complete a

minimum amount of training each year.

The industry must also be responsible for providing passengers and

employees with information on how to be safe.

David Kratz, Kratz & Jensen, New York

Having a high-profile spokesperson speaking out against toxic dumping

and security measures imposed by the security lines is very


It is important to communicate directly with the customer in brochures

and marketing materials about staff security measures as well as

facilities and the lines’ safety record. They should also be publicizing

staff stories from a human-interest point of view. If the line is

putting out information about safety, they become an the expert source

in the customer’s mind.

With toxic dumping, firms could offer special cruises actually

designated as green cruises. A huge number of people will always buy

something if it’s environmentally correct. The line could also form an

alliance with a non-profit environmental organization and donate a share

of proceeds from cruises to it. They can also do onboard seminars and

classes on marine life classes and on how to protect the environment

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