7 Things Every Parent Should Know Before Taking Their Children on a Cruise 

According to the American Association of Port Authorities, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association nearly 2 million kids under 18 years of age will take a cruise this year.   And with bigger and more exciting cruise ships being launched seemingly every week- taking the entire family on a cruise will become more popular and affordable in the years to come. 

However, taking your children on a modern mega cruise ship requires certainly planning and strategies to keep them safe- because cruise ships are much like a floating city- full of excitement and dangers.  As a cruise ship injury lawyer, I have investigated thousands of passenger injury claims- and sadly many of them have involved children who have been left on their own to explore and enjoy the ship.  

That is why we recommend the following 5 strategies depending on the age and maturity of your children to keep them safe on your next family cruise:

  1. Always have an adult share the cabin with kids- It is understandable that parents would like to have alone time and might want to put their children in a separate cabin.  However, we have seen cases where other passengers and sadly crew members have entered cabins where children are alone- and sexually assaulted a child.  
  2. Never Allow Kids to go to another passenger’s- Unless you know the other passenger- allowing your child to go to another passenger’s cabin is potentially very dangerous.  Oftentimes, kids like adults will meet other passengers on the cruise- and may want to show off their cabins to their new friends.  Problems can arise because people assume simply because other passengers are on a cruise with their families that they are “good and safe people” or have the same standards about safety as you might.  But unless you vet the other child and his or her family- allowing your child to be alone with them in a locked cabin is not a good idea, ever. 
  3. Never Allow Your Child to Accept Food or a Drink from a Stranger- This is especially important as most major cruise lines sell all inclusive beverage packages which can make it easy and cheap for someone to offer your child an exotic looking and potentially dangerous beverage.  We have seen cases where young girls who are traipsing around the ship in bikinis looking much older than they actually are- are offered and accept what they may or may not actually think are innocent drinks from strangers- only to have them be laced with alcohol or worse.  
  4. Room Keys- Giving your child a room key can be a bad idea- if they lose it or exchange it with another passenger.  We have seen cases where a child is convinced to trade room keys with other passengers like they are some kind of Pokemon card- only to have things suddenly lost or stolen from your cabin- or worse. If you child is given a key- make sure that if they lose it you notify the ship’s security immediately so that they can re-code your keycard and door lock.  This can be a hassle and often time consuming- even if you only have a few days or hours left on your cruise- but a very necessary safety measure. 
  5. Establish a Curfew: Cruise ship casinos and bars can operate all night long- letting your child wander a cruise ship after hours is not a good idea- where they can and will encounter intoxicated passengers and even crewmembers. Make sure that they are safely in bed, back in your cabin at a reasonable hour. 
  6. Don’t let kids explore- cruise ships have adult only and crew only areas that are usually not clearly marked and are easy to wander into.  Adult areas such as bars, nightclubs, spas, casinos are often not appropriate areas for young children for a variety of reasons.  And crew only areas are even worse- because they don’t have the same safety features, doors, floor, and protections designed for passenger areas.  If you decide to let your kids out alone- make sure they have a buddy with them at all times- even when and especially when they go into bathrooms. 
  7. Stay Sober- If you think that the cruise line or crewmembers will take responsibility for your child you are wrong- most cruise ships do not have lifeguards at pools or waterslides.  Instead, they leave your child’s safety to you- the parent.  At the same time they ply the exhausted and sunbaked parents with non-stop drinks and distractions which can lead to tragedy.  While it is understandable that as a parent you want to enjoy your vacation and party- just remember that your child’s safety depends on your ability to perceive dangers and protect them. 

If your child has been injured aboard a cruise ship, it is important that you hire an experienced maritime injury lawyer to investigate the incident and to hold the cruise line accountable.  Our cruise ship accident lawyers are located in Miami- near the corporate headquarters of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Norwegian Cruise Lines- we have over 30 years of combined legal experience suing cruise ships and cruise lines when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety. 

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has been involved in a slip and fall, trip and fall, sexual assault or other kind of cruise ship related accident onboard the vessel, on a gangway, tender boat or in port.  Call us today 866-597-5429 and speak to an experienced cruise ship accident lawyer about your potential claim.  We are ready to help you obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical expenses. loss of enjoyment of your cruise, travel reimbursement and pain and suffering.