Cruise tourism is a globalized phenomenon that experts and tourism scholars have studied from multiple perspectives. A general overview is needed to expand the current understanding of cruises in our modern societies. As the industry has grown so too has the scientific interest in it. Sociologically speaking, one of the aspects that historically characterized this form of tourism has been isolation; travelers seek cruise-tourism as a mechanism of escapement. The lack of commitment of cruise-tourism consumers to local economies and habits produces troubling points, discussed in specialized literature. Cruise-tourism specialists have evaluated the industry in terms of its impact on local economies. From 90s decade onwards, the concern for economic multipliers and economic impacts set the pace regarding the question of sustainability. From this viewpoint, cruise shipping helps communities to preserve their natural resources. Ecological destinations such as Antarctica and Australia have been offered to provide international demand of ecological consciousness.
However, in the last years, to be more exact after the attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, cruise related tourism has been seen as one of the safest ways to experience foreign travel. The current period has been challenging to the tourism industry. From virus outbreaks to terrorism, the onset of this new millennium produced many problems for the tourism industry. Under such a context, many policy makers insisted on the need to improve the sense of safety at tourist destinations. The intervention of national governments, in this process, was of paramount importance by identifying and tracing those elements that jeopardize the societal order. Starting from the premise that cruise consumption mirrors the feeling and political contexts of societies, this conceptual review essay emphasizes on cruises as modern dispositive where travelers are protected.
Security has been commoditized and is offered as a product. Cruises combine not only aspects of security and curiosity, but also represent a valid alternative to integrate hospitality and mobilities, but unless otherwise resolved, cruise tourism in case of accidents may become a trap. From Titanic to Costa Concordia the degree of vulnerability of passengers may actually be higher in cruises than other means of transport (first and foremost whenever a strange virus surfaces and expands rapidly on board) (Miller et al, 2000; Lois et al, 2004). This paper provides readers with an all-encompassing view of risk and practical suggestions to be followed to mitigate the risk on the high seas. Particularly, the question of technological mobility engenders new threats to be seriously re-considered. Safety related studies of cruises seem to be in their infancy. To fill this academic gap in the literature this review examines not only the historical roots of mega-cruise accidents, but also the conceptual discussion of risk re-production in sociology.