Agents warned of ‘Dispatches’ backlash

The programme was filmed on a Celebrity ship

Travel companies have leapt to the defence of the cruise industry ahead of a television programme due to be aired Monday night (1 October) over labour and wage issues.

The Channel 4 Dispatches show, named ‘Cruises Undercover: the truth below deck’, has been criticised for its unauthorised use of video and expected unbalanced view around the wages staff on cruise ships receive. It sees an undercover reporter take up a job as a waiter on a Celebrity Cruise ship and follows a similar format to its other exposes.

In anticipation for a backlash following the programme, ACE has issues a ‘Working at Sea’ document for agents detailing how regulated cruise lines are when it comes to recruitment and the stringent protection available. It also lists the benefits that cruise ship staff receive such as free accommodation, meals and medical care, as well as gratuities.

Julie Lo Bue Said, leisure director at Advantage said the programme could come as a further blow to the industry after the Costa Concordia and challenging months the industry has already faced this year.

“I understand that Celebrity Cruises will be investigating the programmes findings but for Channel 4 to go to such extraordinary lengths to send one of their reporters undercover is a nonsense,” she added. “Dramatisation of these documentaries does nothing to educate the public to the facts, but represents poor value TV entertainment and creates a negative image for a sector that has invested so much over the years to innovate its products into aspirational brands for all travellers.”

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