The season for fun on the High Seas is back! Many of you have family fun or romantic cruises planned over the next few months. Some of you are going on single’s cruises planning the party of a lifetime! Have FUN … but keep a few safety precautions in mind.
PARENTS KEEP AN EYE ON THE KIDS! You are on a ship in the middle of the ocean, what can possibly happen? Remember there are a few other cruisers on board. And, of course, there are almost as many crew depending on the size of your ship and cruise line. Some ships have a capacity of nearly 5,000 people. Security on the cruise lines is generally not adequate to oversee the activities of thousands of passengers. The crew is generally from other countries and background checks and training are not what passengers would find comforting. Unsuspecting teenagers are particularly susceptible to inappropriate contact from predatory crew and passengers. Check on the kids often and ask plenty of questions regarding with whom they are interacting? especially your teens! Two-way radios are a great way to stay in touch or designated times and locations for check in during the day. Kids’ clubs and daycare services are a great option for overworked parents looking for some relaxation. Make sure you meet all the crew that will interact with your children and ask questions about training and background checks. All of the members should be CPR trained. If any are not, that should be a red flag regarding the safety standards of your cruise line.
DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY! The cruise lines make most of their money on alcohol sales and excursions. As soon as you board, the music is playing with the steel drums beating tunes that you would normally not listen to on your car stereo. Strangely enough it is the greatest party song you have heard in a while. And then … the alcohol begins to flow.
Bars seem to be around every corner and on almost every deck. You have a little card that you get to use for everything you buy on the ship. Almost feels like those little umbrella covered drinks are sort of free. At least that is the state of mind the cruise line would like its passengers to have. I KNOW? YOU DON’T HAVE TO DRIVE! Have fun and drink up (responsibly)! If you have the misfortune of being injured while you have been drinking don’t just assume that it’s because maybe you had a few too many. The crew is mostly concerned with serving those drinks particularly around the bars and pool deck area. Generally, the crew does not stop serving the obviously intoxicated. Certainly none of the crew is generally cleaning the deck regularly from the spilled drinks and melting ice. The cruise line has a responsibility to maintain its ships’ safety for its passengers. This includes keeping it safe for ALL passengers including those the cruise line encourages to drink. Conversely, the crew has a responsibility to protect passengers from those that have had a little too much to drink.
Excursions can be a safe and fun way to spend time at ports of call. The cruise lines are responsible to provide safe passage and activities for passengers. The cruise lines generally have you sign a waiver of liability to participate in these activities. However, if you or a loved one is injured during one of these activities you should still contact an attorney. Many times the waivers of liability will not bar a claim if handled by an experienced lawyer.
CONTACT THE RIGHT ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY! A fact little known by passengers and by most attorneys is that the general Statute of Limitation for a personal injury claim, including any kind of assault, may be as little as 1 year. A passenger must also make an official claim with the Cruise Line itself within a very short period of time following return to port in the United States. All of this information is found on your ticket documents. Unfortunately, many passengers fail to meet the short deadlines.
FINALLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN AND MAKE SURE TO — USE PLENTY OF SUNBLOCK!!!