Every year college students around the United States look forward to the arrival of warmer weather, the wrapping up of the school year, and spring break. By April, college students are ready for a little relaxation in a tropical destination. Over the years, cruises have become extremely popular spring break trips, but as with all spring break destinations, laidback time aboard a cruise ship does not come without some risks.
The accidents and injuries that often occur on cruise ships become even more common, as the combination of college students, crowded ships, and drinking heightens the potential for a spring break cruise accident. However, these accidents are not always the fault of rambunctious college students; in many instances the cruise company should have made better repairs, imposed standards, or provided resources to avoid injuries.
Dangers of Cruising and Heavy Drinking
For most college students, a robust social life will include some level of alcohol consumption and partying. For certain college students, their social lives and college experience are ruled by heavy binge drinking. In fact, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a governmental agency, estimates that nearly 40% of college students, or two in every five students, has engaged in binge drinking in the past two weeks. All this drinking is only exacerbated on spring break cruises.
The decision to consume copious amounts of alcohol is an individual choice, but the policy to serve this alcohol is altogether different. The bartenders and other employees on cruise ships have a duty of care to the passengers they serve, and that duty includes regulating the amount of alcohol consumed in cruise ship venues.
Accidents or injuries that occur because a passenger became intoxicated in the cruise ship’s restaurant, bar, or night club impose liability on the cruise line. For this reason, large cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival have policies in place regarding alcohol, but improper training, information, or hiring can still lead to issues. This is even more likely during spring break, when it seems major cruise ships become major party ships.
Controlling the Crowds
While cruise lines are accustomed to dealing with large groups aboard their ships, spring break is a particularly popular time. It can be more hectic for a cruise line, impeding their ability to present muster drill information or reasonably facilitate other safety drills. College students tend to be a less receptive audience, which makes providing accurate information to this sheer number of people doubly difficult. For many cruise lines, controlling the crowded ship for safety demonstrations and other essential information is where liability can begin.
The potential issues with crowd control extend to a cruise line’s on-shore excursions. Many of the Caribbean, Mexican, and other tropical destinations popular with spring break cruise ships prove equally popular with other spring break goers. This puts many students in one vicinity. Not only do cruise ships need to tighten controls on boarding and re-boarding the boat, but they must also have plans in place to respond to higher rates of accidents and injuries during planned excursions.
Non-Spring Breakers on a Party Cruise
One of the least ideal situations is to find yourself aboard a spring-break party cruise, when you are traveling with family or for R&R. According to Cruiseline, three nights aboard these boats can lead to very little sleep, fighting, and unwanted accidents. Each passenger is held to a level of accountability aboard these boats, but the cruise line is responsible for the safety of each passenger. This means providing security and procedures for keeping families and others on these ships safe and secure during a hectic stretch of the cruise season.
Speak with a Lawyer after a Spring Break Cruise Accident
There are usually underlying reasons why an individual becomes ill or injured aboard a cruise ship, and in many instances some liability falls upon the cruise company. This is no different during the alcohol-infused, crowded time that is spring break. If you have suffered an accident during a spring break cruise, it is best to speak with a maritime lawyer.
Aronfeld Trial Lawyers represents individuals involved in accidents on cruise ships at any time of year. Our Miami personal injury law firm can begin to evaluate your case and offer advice through an initial consultation. Call our office at 305-441-0440 or toll-free at 1-866-597-4529. You can reach us by email at [email protected]. Contact us today, we are ready to help!