Norwegian Cruise Line will begin stationing lifeguards at pools across its fleet starting this summer, in a move designed “to ensure the safety of our youngest guests.”
Norwegian made the announcement on Thursday, a month and a half after Royal Caribbean made a similar decision.
While the entire fleet is expected to get lifeguards by early 2018, Norwegian’s largest ships — Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic — will be the first have them starting this summer.
“While parents are always the first line of supervision when it comes to water safety, we felt it was important to provide this added measure across our fleet,” president Andy Stuart said in a statement.
While Norwegian had already been employing pool monitors stationed at pools on its largest ships since 2015, the lifeguards will be trained and certified in CPR and other rescue methods by the American Red Cross. They will be on duty during scheduled hours.
As part of the program, Norwegian will also offer free swim vests to adults and children on those first four ships.
“We are now taking further steps to ensure the safety of our youngest guests with the addition of certified lifeguards across our fleet,” Stuart added.
The announcement comes after a string of recent incidents on Norwegian ships. The most recent one came in 2015 when a 10-year-old girl drowned in a crowded pool on Norwegian Gem.
A year prior to that incident, two small children were pulled from a Norwegian Breakaway pool during sailing from New York to the Bahamas. Only one of the two children survived.
The news makes Norwegian the third major cruise line to employ lifeguards on its ships. Royal Caribbean became the second in March when it announced that lifeguards, trained by StarGuard Elite, would be installed at all pools during opening hours.
Disney Cruise Line, which began requiring its ships to have lifeguards in 2013, was the first cruise line to do so, announcing the decision six months after a four-year-old boy nearly drowned on Disney Fantasy.
Drownings have also occurred on other large cruise lines—most notably Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises. Those lines haven’t announced any plans to employ lifeguards as of yet.