5 Tips for First Time Cruisers

You Can Never Know Enough

As a lawyer who has been suing cruise lines for decades, I can positively attest that the types of incidents I have handled on cruise ships are diverse and vary from each other immensely. Cruise ships are floating cities who, like dense urban environments, provide a unique set of challenges for safety and security. I have represented a range of cruise ship passenger incidents including sexual assault cases, slip and falls, and medical malpractice; and from these experiences I have put together a list of 5 tips that I think might make your next cruise vacation a little more safe and pleasant. Even if you are somebody who cruises multiple times a year, there might be some pieces of information in this list that you have not yet considered, so I urge you to take notes before embarking on your next sea voyage. 

Tip #1 – Find The Medic:

My first tip is to make sure you know where the medical center is on the ship, and what hours it operates:

While it may seem obvious for some, many people – including some of my own past clients – had no idea that their cruise ship has an onboard medical facility. Whether you are on a Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, or Princess Cruise, your ship definitely has some type of medical facility to treat injured or sick passengers while at sea. These facilities, however, are not always perfectly equipped to handle serious injuries, and can be inadequately operated by untrained professionals. The ‘doctors’ in these medical facilities are almost never licensed to practice medicine in the United States, and I have represented hundreds of clients whose injuries were misdiagnosed or mistreated in these medical centers. That being said, knowing where to find the medical center might be the difference between life and death for some unfortunate passengers, and I recommend you do your best to locate it before it is too late. 

If you or somebody you know ends up having to make a visit to the medical center onboard a cruise, I recommend you do not sign any papers without speaking with an attorney. Members of the medical staff, whether it be nurses or doctors, have a special interest in making sure the injury you suffered could not be seen as the fault of the cruise line, even if it clearly was. Therefore, do not sign any documents without speaking with an attorney, as you might be jeopardizing your rightful future claim.

Tip #2 – Early Bird Gets The Cruise:

My second tip is to make sure you arrive at your embarkation port city at least 1 day before the cruise leaves. 

I have heard many nightmare stories of people missing their long awaited cruise voyage because of a canceled flight or traffic jam. My best piece of advice to avoid any possible issues is to make sure you arrive at your embarkation city the day before you are scheduled to leave, and get to the port hours before you think you’ll need to. Arriving early to your embarkation town will also give you time to explore the city before you go off on your maritime adventure, and might make for some equally memorable experiences. 


This might be the most important and crucial tip in the entire list: BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE. Travel insurance is a specialized insurance you can easily purchase which protects you in case of an accident or medical bill while on your next overseas vacation. Travel insurance can be represented through an emailed card or physical card depending on which company you use. 

I have handled countless incidents of panicked and injured passengers unable to get the right medical attention in foreign and faraway countries because they do not have the right insurance. Your American health insurance will likely not be of service in a hospital in Honduras, the Bahamas, or wherever your next cruise will take you, so make sure you get the right travel insurance to ensure your safety and financial security. Travel insurance is also easily attainable online. 


Tip #4 – Buy Your Shore Excursions With Your Ship:

Shore excursions can be the most amusing and anticipated parts of going on a cruise journey. Whether it’s ziplining through Haitian mountains or getting a tour of a rum factory, shore excursions can make any destination extremely memorable. Buying your shore excursion with a third party company not affiliated with your cruise line is a grave mistake which cruise lines and lawyers like myself advise against. Not only are you putting your safety and security in the hands of strangers, but you are also missing out on the legal benefits of staying in house in the unfortunate but common case of an accident taking place. Cruise lines make sure the excursions they provide maintain a million dollars in insurance, and the cruise line themselves are a named insurer. This can facilitate any claim of cruise line accountability in case you get injured during the excursion. Also, if the cruise sponsored excursion is late for some reason, the ship will wait for you, unlike a third party company; and believe me, you do not want to be stranded without your ship in a foreign country. 

Tip #5 – Do Not Wear Flip Flops:

My final tip is quite succinct; do not wear flip flops on board your next cruise ship vacation. I always tell my passengers to wear whatever shoes the crew is wearing. This is because the crew knows the conditions of the ship and the route the best. Flip flops are the most common shoes my injured clients are wearing at the moment of a slip, trip or fall. Flip flops provide almost no slip resistance, and are historically difficult shoes to safely walk around. On wet pool decks or unfamiliar environments, wearing flip flops can make navigating cruise ship floors much more dangerous and difficult, and can lead to a life changing injury. 

Closing Remarks: 

If you have a cruise vacation planned in the future, I strongly advise you to adhere to these tips and make sure your friends and family follow them as well. Cruises can be an amazing and fun time, but they can also result in disastrous injuries if you are not careful. As a lawyer who has successfully sued cruise lines for decades, I recommend you contact our law firm of experienced maritime personal injury attorneys in the unfortunate event of an injury or incident during your next cruise. We have been able to get injured and neglected passengers the compensation they deserve for decades.