Nothing can ruin a good night’s sleep on a cruise ship like the sound of screaming children thundering down the hallways at all hours of the night.   Carnival has hopefully finally put an end to this by instituting a new curfew policy

Passengers 17 and and younger that are not accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old, must be clear of all public areas by 1:00 AM.  There are exceptions for kids who are enrolled in the cruise lines supervised kids’ club programs like Club 02 or Circle C. 

As a Miami personal injury lawyer who has investigated dozens of incidents of children being injured on cruise ships, I applaud this measure.  But is it enough? The public areas of a cruise ship like the buffet, atrium or lido deck are not the most dangerous areas for kids.  Rather it’s the nooks and crannies of a cruise ship, like deserted top decks or lower decks that don’t attract much traffic late at night that I worry about.  

Understandably, parents have a misguided view as to how safe cruise ships are.  They are lulled into a false sense of security- by the relaxed “we got you attitude” that cruise lines like Carnival use to market to folks on vacation.  Cruise lines are like floating major metropolitan cities, with felons, child predators, drunks and everything else one could encounter walking through a place like Time Square.  And not the floating summer camp some parents imagine. 

I suggest you ask yourself, would you allow your 14 year old daughter to crisscross Times Square in New York City at midnight?  If the answer is no, you should think twice about letting them roam a cruise ship alone. 

Cruise lines do have an obligation to provide reasonable security to its passengers of all ages.  But at night cruise lines typically have reduced security staff that are predominantly focused on risk areas like the casinos, bars and discos- where youngsters are not allowed to be.  

To truly make kids safe on a cruise ship parents need to be more restrictive in allowing their children to be unsupervised while at sea- and for cruise lines to increase the ratio of security personnel to passengers.  Some new mega cruise ships like RCCL’s Wonder of the Seas has a capacity of nearly 10,000 people- which is roughly the equivalent of Sedona, Arizona.   Once parents realize this, they will hopefully have second thoughts about letting their children roam the ship alone at night.