Cruise ships are extremely popular for tourists looking for some rest and relaxation. However, in recent years, cruise ships have come into the media spotlight due to accidents or incidents that have occurred while passengers are on board.It is for this reason that the following safety tips can be lifesaving for individuals looking to book a cruise vacation.

Know the Law

The U.S. government passed a law in 2010 called the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act as a way to ensure safety of passengers on cruise ships. Before 2010, any crimes would be reported to the FBI. However, the crimes would hardly ever be released to the public. In fact, because the boats were on international waters, many crimes would fall between the cracks because of the lack of jurisdiction. This new law requires that all ships report publicly any crimes that occur onboard so that individuals who are interested in going on the ship can research and see what types of crimes have been committed in the past on that ship. The new law also required a minimum height be instituted for all ship rails. This height is 42 inches above the deck, although 54 inches is normally recommended. The updated law required ships to retrofit their cabins with certain safety features, such as peepholes, security latches and new technology, as well as closed circuit TV.  

Do Not Disregard the Safety Drill

The safety drill is important and is required by all cruise ships. It is often referred to as the muster drill, and the purpose of it is to educate passengers on what to do in the event of an emergency or evacuation. Like the safety talks passengers on planes hear before the flight takes off, many cruise passengers will ignore these drills and not pay close attention to the information disclosed.  In the event of an emergency, this can cost you.  Regardless, it is important that passengers pay close attention to this information as it is important for the safety of passengers. 

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Once on board, it is important that passengers locate the ship map to familiarize themselves with important areas of the ship. It can be helpful for the passengers to take a general tour of the ship, as well, to locate all of the activities on the ship, along with medical stations and safety devices, in case these are needed at a later time. 

Find a Life Jacket

The last thing a passenger wants is to not be able to locate his or her life jacket in an emergency. It may seem mundane, but as soon as the passenger settles into his or her room, it is important that he or she find the life jacket and make sure to try it on. Ship personnel can provide a different one if it is discovered that the life jacket does not fit or is defective.

Research the Ship

Due to the updated law, cruise ships are required to publicly disclose statistics of crime or safety incidents. Consumers can review these cruise line incident reports online.  It can help if the individual does his or her research to rule out certain vessels that are well-known for safety incidents or crimes along with failed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) inspections.  Before booking a cruise, consumers can go to the CDC website to research the ship and then read each inspection and determine whether or not the cruise line filed a corrective report. The CDC failed five of Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest operator last year, three of which occurred during the height of holiday travel: November and December.  And just last month the CDC failed the Carnival Liberty.

Report Crimes as They Happen

Along those same lines, if a passenger experiences a crime or witnesses something while onboard, it is extremely important that those incidents be reported for the safety of all on the ship, as well as those who are considering taking the same cruise line in the future. If a passenger witnesses anything at all that he or she thinks is suspicious, that passenger should report it as soon as possible. 

Be Smart with Off-Boat Excursions

When the cruise ship docks, passengers often have the ability to check out new lands and explore on their own. While this can be a fun experience, it is important that passengers be smart about what they do. Do not wander off alone and stay on the beaten path. Make sure that plenty of people are around at all times and be sure to give plenty of time to get back on board safely at the end of the day. 

Stay Well and Away from Illness

Passengers are in an enclosed space and in close quarters when it comes to a cruise ship, and it is for this reason that illnesses can spread extremely quickly. Always wash your hands, especially before eating, and when possible, avoid touching elevator buttons or handrails with bare hands, or, if a passenger does touch something, be sure to wash or disinfect hands afterwards. 

Monitor the Safety of Minors

Cruise vacations can be a great experience for the entire family, but many parents make the mistake of believing their children are safe to roam around the ship because of the closed-quarters. This mistake could be deadly. Keep an eye on your children at all times and do not let them wander off on their own. Make sure they are with an adult at all times and make sure they are aware of safety precautions, as well. 

Watch Alcohol Intake

When on a cruise, it seems like drinks are everywhere. While, yes, the temptation to overindulge in alcohol can be strong, it is always recommended that passengers watch their alcohol intake. Never accept drinks from strangers. Be cautious as to how much alcohol is consumed and ensure that food is eaten at the same time. Watching your alcohol intake can help prevent injuries as well as possibility of other incidents, including sexual assault or falling overboard. 

Always Use Common Sense

It can go without saying, but many times, common sense can be a lifesaver. Be smart about what activities are done and what excursions are taken while on the cruise. If anything gives the passenger an uneasy feeling, then do not do it. Do not wander off alone and be aware of your surroundings at all times.


If you have been injured on your cruise, on a wet and slippery deck, down a poorly lit staircase or steep gangway, in port on an excursion, or on a tender boat- it is important that you speak as soon as possible 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.