Scared of Falling off a Cruise Ship? Here’s What You Should Know 

A cruise vacation can be a wonderful way to relax and enjoy time away, but the fear of falling overboard is a deterrent for some from ever booking a cruise. Approximately 300 individuals have fallen off cruise ships since 2000. In 2017 alone, 17 individuals fell overboard, and thus far in 2018, five people have been reported as falling overboard. On April 12, 2018, a woman fell from the Pacific Dawn, a P&O cruise liner. Crew members searched in the choppy waters after she had fallen overboard, but she was never found. In any given year, approximately 19 people on average fall overboard while on a cruise ship, based on data released in April by cruise industry consulting firm G.P. Wild. Relatively speaking, these numbers are low considering more than 20 million people go on cruises every year. The chances of it happening to you are slim, but it certainly doesn’t take away the fear. Knowing the facts can help clear up some misconceptions regarding the possibility of falling overboard while on a cruise. Specific Safety Standards Specific safety standards are in place to prevent passengers from falling overboard while on a cruise ship. These safety features include having railings be set at a certain height and having security cameras in public places. The Coast Guard is also working on new technology to report when someone falls overboard, although this technology is not on many ships. In addition, cruise bartenders are trained to tell when someone has had too much to drink, and if a passenger shows signs of having too much to drink, the bartender will not serve...

#MeToo Movement Making Waves in the Cruise Line Industry

As the “#MeToo” movement continues to gain momentum throughout the United States, cruise ship passengers are feeling empowered to do the same as reports of sexual assaults increase on some of the world’s most popular cruise lines. In fact, there have been 76 incidents of sexual assaults reported on commercial cruise lines in 2017, a 23 percent increase over the previous year, according to FBI statistics. The increase in reported crimes can be partly attributed to stricter reporting criteria the government imposed in 2016 regarding any alleged criminal activity on board cruise vessels, which has resulted in more extensive data being reported. Prior to the new law, any alleged crimes were only reported to the public after the FBI had completed investigating the incidents. Many times, these incidents were never counted or reported, which is concerning since sexual assaults are traditionally already underreported. One issue has been the security personnel on the vessel. These individuals are typically not law enforcement officials but rather privately-hired trained security officers. The training includes ensuring that certain areas of the ship are sealed, and evidence protected once a sexual assault is reported. However, the security personnel are not responsible for conducting a formal law enforcement investigation. This distinction can make a huge difference in how the actual investigation is handled and how the results of the investigation are reported. If an attack happens to an American national, or if the person who committed the attack is an American national, the FBI has jurisdiction over the investigation. If not, it can be more complicated in determining who has jurisdiction, and information such as the...

The Most Dangerous Cruise Ship Ports in the World  

The Most Dangerous Cruise Ship Ports in the World   Whenever a cruise ship stops at a port, it is important that passengers who choose to go on shore for excursions be aware of their surroundings at all time. In certain ports, however, that need for extra vigilance and safety awareness increases even more.  There are important tips to ensure safety and security while on a cruise ship, but what about when off the cruise ship? The following ports have been identified by the U.S. State Department as some of the most dangerous cruise ship ports in the world. Roatán, Honduras Just 40 miles off the coast of Honduras lies the island of Roatán. The island boasts of beautiful beaches and top-notch scuba diving and has quickly become a popular port of call for many Caribbean cruise companies. However, the country of Honduras happens to also have one of the highest murder rates in the world. While many of the Honduran islands still have low crime rates, as compared to the mainland, the island of Roatán has been reported as one of the more dangerous areas. According to the U.S. Department of State, “Roatan and the Bay Islands are geographically separated from and experience lower crime rates than on the mainland and other Caribbean islands; however, thefts, break-ins, assaults, rapes, and murders do occur.” Crime is specifically high in the area of Coxen Hole, where the cruise ship docks. Margarita Island, Venezuela Venezuela has traditionally been known as a country with high crime rate, including murder, kidnappings and drug trafficking. According to a State Department report, violent crime is at the...

Symphony of the Seas – The World’s Largest Cruise Ship Sets Sail

Symphony of the Seas – The World’s Largest Cruise Ship Sets Sail The world’s largest cruise ship, the Symphony of the Seas, has set sail on its inaugural voyage from Barcelona, Spain, and is headed on a cruise through the Mediterranean. The Symphony of the Seas is the latest vessel in the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships, which includes the Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. The Oasis-class cruise ships are exclusive to the Royal Caribbean brand and are heralded as the most exclusive class of ships available. The Harmony of the Seas, was launched in 2016 and held the previous designation as the “World’s Largest Ship.” Now the Symphony has earned that title in terms of passenger capacity and is considered a ‘game-changer’ in Royal Caribbean’s class and the cruise industry. Once onboard, passengers can venture into the Ultimate Abyss – the world’s tallest slide at sea – for a thrill of a lifetime and prepare to scale every height on the dual 43-foot rock-climbing walls. The Symphony of the Seas is 1,188 feet long and has the capacity to house 6,680 guests, as well as 2,200 crew members. It hosts 5,518 guest rooms with 2,759 staterooms.  There are 18 decks on the ship, 20 dining options, 24 elevators and seven ‘neighborhoods.’ One of these neighborhoods includes an adult-only Solarium lounge and a Central Park, which is aimed to give the adult passengers a place of refuge. A Boardwalk is also on board with a carousel. The vessel has other entertainment areas, including a 10-deck twisting dry slide, two surf simulators, a...

Cruise Ship Lawsuits on the Rise – See who’s being sued

— Carnival Corp., as well as other cruise lines, has seen a marked increase in negligence lawsuits in recent months. During the first three months of 2018, at least 83 federal personal injury cases were filed against cruise lines, which is an increase from previous years. In 2017, 188 negligence lawsuits were filed, while 164 lawsuits were filed in 2016. The factors that seem to fuel the rise include questionable medical care practices on the ships, as well as new shipboard attractions and onshore excursions, which include an added element of risk to passengers. Lawsuits filed against the three biggest cruise lines – Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, account for 78 to 87 percent of federal litigation over the course of the past five years, according to Bloomberg Law Litigation Analytics. These cases include injuries due to slip-and-falls, as well as illnesses and injuries, some of them due to medical decisions made by the ship medical personnel. One such incident occurred during a 2016 Royal Caribbean cruise where a passenger suffered from shortness of breath during the cruise, later dying. The family of the deceased passenger sued the cruise company as well as the ship’s doctor who they say ‘underdiagnosed’ the passenger’s heart attack, which delayed his treatment in a hospital in Alaska. One concern is the lack of supplies that ship doctors have on-board. If a passenger is truly sick, the only real option these doctors have is to evacuate the ship to the closest port, which they are often hesitant to do.  Who can forget the hundreds of passengers recently struck with...

MSC Cruise Ship Crashes into Caribbean Port

Cruise passengers aboard the MSC Armonia experienced quite the shock when their ship crashed into a pier as they began to dock into the port off Isla Roatan, Honduras. The ship was attempting to dock on Tuesday, April 10 around 9 a.m. when it struck and crumbled parts of the pier. Stunned witnesses reported that the 65,000-ton vessel was coming into the port too quickly. Video footage of the event recorded patrons of a restaurant located off the pier being told to get out of the kitchen as the ship quickly approached. According to the ship’s automatic tracking data, the vessel was shown to be traveling at about 11.6 knots on its approach but slowed to 8.7 knots as it came closer to shore, which is roughly equivalent to 13.3 mph on the approach and 10 mph as the ship came to shore. As the ship quickly came to shore, crew members were reported as trying to stop the ship by throwing two heavy anchors overboard shortly before the ship hit the dock. Unfortunately, their efforts were unsuccessful. The damage to the ship was relatively minor and no injuries were reported. The exact cause of the accident is still under investigation. Guests of the ship were able to disembark for shore excursions shortly after the crash. After repairs were made to the ship and it was cleared by Honduran Port State Control authority, the ship was then able to sail from Roatan to complete the remainder of the cruise course. The ship left around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning for the next stop on its trip, which was Belize. The...
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