Have you Suffered Injury due to a Cruise Ship Tilt?

Most cruise routes are planned with the conditions of the waters in mind ahead of time. However, as we all know the sea can be unpredictable. If the ship hits rough waters, it is common for the ship to tilt temporarily as the boat encounters unpredictable conditions.

Other times a cruise ship tilting can be the result of an electrical malfunction, which was the case 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.

A cruise ship tiling can be a frightening occurrence. It helps to understand what these are and how to prepare for them in the event this occurs while on your cruise. A cruise ship tilt occurs when the ship leans heavily to either the port or the starboard. Tilts can be minor, but they can also be quite significant and even terrifying, as seen in this video provided by Inside Edition.

As waves hit the boat as it travels, the ship is naturally going to rock from side to side, but if the boat tips strongly to one side or the other, this tilt can be dangerous, leading to passenger injuries and property damage.

One such serious tilt occurred in July 18, 2006, when the Crown Princess tilted severely off the Florida coast, injuring 93 people onboard- some were seriously injured. A tilt that causes the ship to tip more than 15 degrees to one side is considered severe or a “serious tilt,” even though a lower degree tilt can still lead to injury.

In another case, a computer glitch on the Carnival Legend caused the ship to list 14 degrees to the side, an angle similar to the list on the Crown Princess.

What causes a cruise ship to tilt? A tilt can be the result of many different factors, including an abrupt turn, steering malfunction, computer glitch in the ship’s automatic stabilization program, strong winds or waters, misaligned ship ballast, the ship being hit broadside by waves along the length of the ship, and poor weather conditions. However, many of the more modern ships are equipped with advanced technology that takes care of many of these natural conditions, which means a number of these occurrences can be attributed to human error.

If a cruise ship does 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.

Certain precautions can help even though it can be nearly impossible to predict whether the ship will tilt. When moving on the ship, always use handrails on stairways or ramps. Secure items in the cabin in closed closets, drawers or other locations other than leaving objects on top of a counter or table where they could easily fall off or be tossed off. During a tilt, remain where you are and wait for the ship to regain a stable, flat position before moving again on the ship. If you are on an exterior deck or near the edge of an exterior deck during a tilt, it is recommended you sit down or crouch down until the event is over.

Be cautious when moving again on the ship as surfaces may be wet from water splashing on the deck or floors when the ship regains stability after the tilt. It is always recommended that you remain calm during these incidents and make sure you keep all children or other passengers with you as calm as possible. After the tilt, make sure to account for all members in your party and cooperate with the ship’s crew during their emergency procedures after a tilt has occurred.


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.