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Experts weigh in on cruise ship safety

Travel experts insist cruises are some of the safest ways to travel, despite last weekend's tragedy off the coast of Italy.

Investigators now say 29 people are missing after cruise liner Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy Friday. A coupe from Minnesota is still among the missing. The CEO of the cruise line that owns the ship said Monday the captain did not follow an authorized route, which in turn caused the ship to hit a reef. The captain has been charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship.

Travel agents say there are some precautions to take if you are going to plan a cruise for your next vacation. Last weekend's cruise ship calamity off the coast of Tuscany is one experts call a rarity.

"They're very highly regulated so it's a very safe method of travel. Obviously it was a terrible accident, but it looks like it was human error," says Christopher Oakford with AAA of the Bluegrass, "Know your exit strategy. Talk if you're with family members about what you do if you get separated and how you can get off the ship if need be."

"All the major cruise lines do have safety drills and I think sometimes we like to laugh or minimize the importance of those drills, but it's very important and a situation like this just makes you realize how important it is to participate," says Avant Travel Agent Darlene Silvestri, who doesn't want last weekend's tragedy to overshadow the safety records of so many reputable cruise lines. She does recommend you book travel through a local, trustworthy agent.

"The incident in Italy is very tragic and it's unfortunate because overall the cruise industry has been a very, very safe industry and we just hate when these type of things happen because it is kind of an isolated incident," says Silvestri.


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