"There was always bumping heads," said Taplin.
The former detective said the level of training of the security guards who worked under her was not as tight as she thought it would be. She claims some security guards admitted to being unable to identify drugs and weapons on the security X-ray machines.
"Passengers should have concern," said Taplin.
According to Disney officials, ship security personnel receive approximately 200 hours of security education and training during the first year and ongoing retraining, including courses hosted by government and outside experts. Employees who screen passengers and crew boarding the ships practice techniques similar to those used by the Transportation Security Administration, according to representatives with Cruise Line International Association.
“We have tremendous confidence in our security operations and our security officers, all of whom have significant security-related experience and nearly all of whom have vast law enforcement or military experience,” said Disney Cruise Line's president. “We disagree with Dawn Taplin's characterization of our security operation.”
"Cruise lines take a number of steps to address passenger security, including the sharing of passenger information with law enforcement prior to a ship's departure from a U.S. port that is checked against criminal databases and terrorism watch lists," said Cruise Lines International Association Public Affairs director David Peikin.
However, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol does not typically share information with the cruise line about other passengers with past criminal records, such as registered sex offenders or violent ex-convicts.
Taplin confirms her security team was never instructed to watch out for any particular passengers on a cruise.
"The crew crime is worse, in my personal opinion, than the passenger crime," said Taplin.
She says she investigated crew members showing up to work intoxicated, getting into fights, and stealing alcohol and personal electronics left behind by passengers.
Disney officials said they have no tolerance for such behavior, which could result in termination. The company points out they conduct random drug and alcohol screening of all crew members.
Following a New Year's Eve party on board the ship, Taplin investigated a crew member who exposed himself to a female crew member.
"This was a rape getting ready to happen," said Taplin.
Disney Cruise Line officials notified Port Canaveral police and the FBI of that January 1, 2012, incident. However, the FBI declined to get involved and the state attorney's office for Brevard and Seminole Counties decided not to prosecute, according to a report.