Vacations are supposed to be a joyful time filled with excitement, relaxation, and memory making with family and friends. Many people save their whole life for an extravagant vacation, and millions of people choose a luxury cruise to be that once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Unfortunately, however, cruise ships pose certain dangers that are not typically on other types of vacations, and some people have even lost their lives while aboard an opulent cruise ship.
According to an article published on Quora.com, 356 people died aboard United States cruise ships from 2002 to 2013 and 21 passengers went missing. The popularity of cruise ships continues to skyrocket, and people are undeterred by the inordinately high number of cruise ship injuries and deaths each year. It’s estimated that about 23 million people boarded cruise ships in 2017, which is a massive jump from 1990, a year that saw only four million passengers on cruise liners.
Dangers on the High Seas
You’ve probably seen the movie Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, and maybe you’ve been leery of cruise ships since that blockbuster premiered over 25 years ago. But cruise ships, like airplanes, are very safe, usually. Most people who climb aboard a cruise ship for a 3, 7, or 10-day vacation come home safe and sound. However, there are those who suffer serious injury or death aboard these luxurious ships. Some of the most common cruise ship dangers include:
- Slip and falls: If decks have not been properly cleaned, mopped, and maintained, slips and falls may occur resulting in serious injuries
- Illnesses like food poisoning and viruses: We’ve all heard those horror stories of hundreds of people falling ill on a cruise ship due to food poisoning or a gastrointestinal virus that spreads like wildfire due to the sheer volume of people on these ships and inability to keep up with cleaning the surfaces that people touch
- Injuries while participating in activities like scuba diving, parasailing, and ziplining: These are some of the most fun activities vacationers can participate in while on vacation, but they also lead to many serious injuries due to inexperience, lack of safety training, improper maintenance, or reckless behavior
- Injury or death from medical malpractice: The doctors aboard cruise ships may not have an American medical degree or a license to practice in the US. On international waters, you may have to see a physician who does not speak your language well, or his training may not be adequate to treat your symptoms. Medical malpractice on board cruise ships can lead to serious injury and even death.
- Physical and sexual assault: With thousands of people on board and very little security, it’s not surprising that physical and sexual assaults occur quite often on cruises. With excessive alcohol use commonplace on board luxury cruise liners, judgment becomes impaired, and people tend to let their guard down, which makes it easier for predators to strike unsuspecting vacationers.
If you or someone you love has suffered a cruise ship-related injury, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Cruise ship liability claims require an attorney who focuses on this area of law. Once you’re back on land, you should contact an experienced cruise ship injury attorney as there are statutes of limitations on these cases and time is of the essence.