A cruise can be a wonderful way to spend your vacation, but not if the ship you're sailing on doesn't meet safety standards or happens to harbor a contagious gastrointestinal illness. You have a lot to do and consider when planning the perfect cruise, but you should also know about the possible downsides and what you may need to do if you encounter them.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong, But Hopefully Won't

While you don't want to be worried about every possible negative scenario, you do want to be aware of the different things that could go wrong on a cruise, so you can take steps to avoid them, if possible. Some of those things are:

  • Food poisoning or allergic reactions, be they aboard the ship or in an exotic port.
  • Ordinary slip-and-fall situations on slippery decks, stairs, or other surfaces.
  • Falling overboard, although this isn't as likely as movies (or your vivid imagination) may lead you to believe.
  • Incidents in a swimming pool or around the swimming area.
  • Norovirus, Legionnaires' disease, and other nasty things you might pick up from other passengers or the ship itself.
  • Injuries from high winds and rough seas, which may include cuts, pulled or torn muscles, broken bones, and head wounds.
  • Any trauma experienced that might have been preventable.
  • Miscellaneous mishaps resulting in harm to you, your party members, or even your belongings.

The location of your vacation may also affect your personal safety, so take care when booking a cruise with port destinations that may be undesirable. The State Department can help you choose a friendly destination, but your own efforts are going to go the furthest in terms of having a safe and memorable cruise.

How To Ensure Your Voyage Is More Likely To Be Enjoyable

A few simple steps can decrease the likelihood of something happening to you on a cruise ship, along with increasing your sense of security:

  • Thoroughly research the cruise line, including the parent company and online reviews.
  • Ask what safety training the ship's crew has gone through.
  • Check on the ship's safety mechanisms and features, such as lifeboats, guardrails, and sprinkler systems, among other things pertinent to passenger protection.
  • Find out the crew's ability to treat onboard injuries and illnesses.
  • Don't deviate from your usual routine of diet, exercise and, especially, alcohol consumption; doing so can upset your system or put you in danger.
  • Ask your own physician if you're ready for a cruise, including having all necessary vaccinations.
  • Call your medical insurer to understand what they'll cover, whether you're in US or international waters, onboard or ashore. 

The cruise line you book your vacation with should provide you with literature, covering their own safety rating, along with measures you can take to improve the experience and reduce the possibility of injury or illness. Also, if you have any specific concerns, find an online travel forum and investigate the experiences of other's or post a question of your own. Likewise, if you've already gone on your cruise and something unpleasant occurred, find out how such situations are handled, such as who and how to report the problem and whether or not you should seek legal counsel to represent you moving forward.

What To Do If Something Went Wrong On Your Cruise

If you or someone else in your party sustained any type of injury aboard a cruise, you have a limited time to act and, most likely, limited procedural criteria to meet. Claims must be filed in a specific location, depending on the circumstances and while many of the details regarding filing a claim can be found on your cruise paperwork or tickets, the best thing to do is to contact an attorney.

A cruise ship accident lawyer understands the complexities and nuances of your situation and will help you meet the confusing criteria of the legal paperwork. With everything else that you're probably worried about, you really don't need the added burden of figuring out how to navigate the laws pertaining to your or someone else's injuries. Maintain the integrity of any evidence you're in possession of, such as pictures, videos, witness testimony and/or the cruise ship's official statement or record of the incident. Include medical records (of treatment) with your evidence, and the law firm representing you will handle everything from that point on.

Few, if any, vacations can rival the perfect cruise; however, on the flip side, when things go wrong on a cruise, the results can be complete calamities. Plan well, research your potential cruise line extensively, and if something awful happens, contact a cruise ship accident lawyer to make things right for you.