Our cruise ship injury law firm knows that this summer thousands of lucky families will enjoy their family vacations on board one of the many cruises departing from Florida. Husbands and wives wanting a little alone time will be tempted to drop the kids off at one of the “kids clubs.” As the parents head off to couples massages or the night club, they should keep in mind that the number one crime that occurs on cruise ships is sexual assaults.
The cruise industry spends millions to lure families on board, with teen lounges, water slides and ice skating rinks. The problem is that alcohol flows freely on cruise ships. Charles Lipcon’s book “Unsafe on the High-Seas” reports that in July 2004 a thirteen-year-old girl and her twelve-year-old friend were sexually assaulted on a Carnival Cruise ship by their cabin steward.
There are additional reports of minor children being served alcohol by crew members. One sad case involves a fifteen-year-old girl who was served ten drinks. She became violently ill and fell overboard, never to be found again.
As a Florida cruise ship injury lawyer I recommend the following to keep you and your family safe on the next cruise:
1. Do not put your guard down. A cruise ship is like a foreign city. People from all over the world are on board, with lots of dark and scary places to hide. Add alcohol and an inadequate security force to the mix and you have potential danger.
2. Keep Your Kids in Check. Insist on walkie-talkies and impose curfews. Be available if needed and check on them every 2-3 hours to make sure they are where they are supposed to be. Personally deliver them to the kids camp and pick them up. Do not allow them to wander alone.
3. Lock Your Cabin and Balcony Doors. You would not leave your apartment unlocked in a big city. Do not do it here.
4. Have a Buddy System. Do not wander the ship alone, especially at odd hours, especially for women or the elderly.
5. Do not accept drinks from strangers. Insist on an unopened bottle or can and pour it yourself.
6. Find out how and where you can contact ships security. If you are uncomfortable about a crew member or other passenger, notify security BEFORE it is too late.