Of all the possible accidents to occur on a cruise ship, a cruise ship tilt is considered one of the most unpredictable ones. A cruise ship tilt occurs when the ship leans heavily to either the port or the starboard. The most recent cruise ship tilt was on the Carnival Sunshine. Shortly after the ship left Port Canaveral for a five-day Caribbean cruise an electrical switchboard malfunctioned that affected the ship’s fin stabilizers. The technical malfunction caused the ship to tilt for approximately one minute, causing chaos onboard. Water in the ship’s pools spilled over, tables, glasses and dishes came crashing down as passengers frantically tried to locate their life vests.

During a cruise ship tilt, passengers can be injured, although the severity of the injuries depends on how serious the tilt was and where the passenger was injured. Some of the more common injuries during a cruise ship tilt include bruises, cuts and scrapes, and broken bones. Many times, when the tilt occurs, the sudden shift will cause a passenger to trip, fall, hit another object on the ship or even have an object, such as a chair, television or other piece of equipment in a cabin, fall on the passenger. Passengers have even suffered concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) after being struck by something on the head during the sudden shift that occurred during a tilt. One of the more serious injuries that can happen during a tilt is the passenger falling overboard.

It helps to understand what causes cruise ships to tilt or ‘list’ and the steps passengers can take to help avoid or reduce injuries if one should occur while on their cruise.

Most Common Causes of Cruise Ship Tilts:

– Computer glitches affecting the automatic stabilization programs;
– Steering malfunctions;
– Human error;
– Sharp turns;
– Strong winds;
– Waves hitting the ship broadside;
– Dangerous weather conditions combined with excessive rain and waves, causing the ship to be unbalanced.

Precautions passengers can take during and after a cruise ship tilt to remain safe:

– Remain calm;
– Always use handrails on the stairs;
– During a tilt, wait for the ship to regain stability, and a flat position before getting up and moving about;
– Secure all loose items in closed closets and drawers in your cabin;
– If you are near the edge of the deck, sit or crouch until the tilt is over to minimize risk of injuries;
– Use caution in bathrooms or near pools where water may have spilled over during the cruise ship tilt.


If you or a loved one has been injured on a cruise due to a cruise ship tilt while at sea, it is important that you speak with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury claims against cruise lines. Most cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, MSC, Disney, Holland America, Princess, Costa, Regents Seven Seas and Oceania require that claims against them be pursued in a very specific place under very strict deadlines. Failure to comply with each individual cruise lines deadlines can result in a complete loss of any and all legal rights.

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers is a personal injury firm located in Miami, Florida since 1991. We have fought hard to hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety. We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise. The sooner we can begin our investigation and preservation of key evidence, such as the CCTV footage of your trip and fall, slip and fall, assault or other type of injury the more likely we will be able to understand and prove how the incident occurred. Remember, the cruise lines have the most aggressive and well-funded defense lawyers in the world- protecting their profits. You need an experienced legal advocate in your corner who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical expenses, transportation reimbursement and pain and suffering. Call us today and speak with a cruise ship claims lawyer about your potential claim- toll free 1-866-597-4529, 305-441-0440, or by email. We are ready to help.