Cruise ships are often called "floating cities" with droves of people in close quarters for a week long excursion. While luggage checks and metal detectors keep dangerous firearms off of the ship, it is harder to tell if cruise lines are as specific about filtering those with dangerous felonies in their past.
An estimated 10 million people board cruise lines annually for vacation getaways. Much like a hotel or plane, cruise lines in the U.S. are not required by law to do criminal background checks, or block passengers who may be registered sex offenders.
Published policies for cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian do not state any restrictions on passengers with a criminal history.
Though not advertised, cruise lines can keep their security protocol confidential.
A Carnival representative told First Coast News in response to whether they check backgrounds or the sex offender registry for traveling passengers: "We do not disclose our security protocols, so as to not undermine their effectiveness."
Cruises going to Canada do have criminal history restrictions. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, anyone with a criminal record including misdemeanors or DUIs could be blocked from entering Canadian territory without first obtaining a waiver.
A congressional decision made it mandatory for crime statistics on cruise lines to be made public.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation incident reports, out of 106 crimes on cruise lines reported to the FBI in 2017, there were a total 76 reported sexual assaults. Thirty-five of the alleged assaults happened on Carnival ships.
Carnival's website addressed these numbers saying the statistics are very small in comparison to the four million guests their line carried last year.
"With 23 of our 24 ships currently sailing from US ports, we carry more guests in North America than any other line," the website reads.