Our Services For Cruise Ship Passengers

Information for Passengers

Free Confidential Consultation

law services for cruice ship passengers

Our job is to represent cruise ship passengers that are injured or become sick on cruise ships in their lawsuits against the cruise ship companies.

Cruise Ship Passengers can always consult their problems with us free of charge with the knowledge that whatever they tell us will always remain confidential.

Medical Care Assistance

We always help our cruise passenger clients obtain the medical care that they need. If the cruise passenger has health insurance, we help him to maximize it and collect it. If the cruise passenger does not have health insurance, we will find for him doctors who are willing to wait until the end of the case to collect their fees.

Wage Loss Assistance

We always help our cruise passenger clients collect all wage and salary losses they have because of injuries or sickness they have suffered during the cruise.

Our Own Doctors

We hire our own doctors to make sure our cruise passenger clients have been diagnosed and treated correctly.

Our Own Experts

We always hire our own experts to help us understand and prove the mechanics involved in the accidents, incidents, and illnesses our cruise passenger clients suffer on and off the ships.

B1-B2 Visas Assistance

Our cruise passenger clients that reside in the United States do not need a visa to attend the legal proceedings related to their lawsuit. When a cruise passenger client is a citizen of another country and resides in another country, he will need a B1-B2 visa to come to the United States for his case.

Whenever a cruise passenger client needs to come back to the United States for his case, we help him obtain his B1-B2 Tourist Visa.

free maritime law consultation

Free Case Evaluation

We are always happy to provide our cruise passenger clients with an estimate of how much money compensation they can receive for their injuries.

Money Compensation

We always fight to obtain for our cruise passenger clients the greatest amount of money compensation. In most cases, we can obtain money compensation for our client without the need for him to attend a trial or any other legal proceeding.

Fees and Costs

We never charge fees nor costs until we win your case.

We Are Always Available

We always answer all cruise passenger clients’ phone calls and Emails promptly to address any questions or clarify any doubts they may have.

The Rights of Cruise Ship Passengers

Information for Passengers

As a cruise ship passenger, you have rights the cruise companies want you to know. You also have rights the cruise companies do not want you to know.

These are the rights the cruise companies do not want you to know:

    the rights the cruise companies do not want you to know

  1. You have the right to receive money compensation for any accident, injury, assault, disappearance, drowning or near drowning that occurs aboard the cruise ship.  These include:
    A.   Slip and fall accidents during the cruise.
    B.   Rape or sexual assaults during the cruise.
    C.   Drowning or near drowning accidents during the cruise.
    D.   Disappearances during the cruise.
    E.  Any dangerous condition that causes you or your family harm during the cruise.
  2. You also have the right to receive money compensation for any accident, injury, assault, disappearance, drowning or near drowning during shore side excursions.

These are the rights the cruise companies want you to know:

    the rights of cruise ship passengers

  1. The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
  2. The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.
  3. The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available. 
  4. The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.
  5. The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures. 
  6. The right to an emergency electrical generator in case the main generator fails.
  7. The right to transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  8. The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  9. The right to have included on each cruise line’s website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
  10. The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line’s website.

Do you have any questions or concerns? Contact us for more information.

Money for Cruise Passengers for Dangerous Conditions Aboard the Ships

Information for Passengers

A cruise ship passenger has the right to sue the cruise liner and receive money compensation for accidents and injuries due to slip and falls aboard the ships.

If a cruise a cruise passenger is injured or suffers an accident during the cruise because of the negligence or the fault of the cruise line, he has the right to receive money compensation from the cruise line. The most common dangers that cruise passengers are exposed to are the following:

  1. Slip and falls aboard the ships. When a passenger is injured because the floor or the stairs he was walking on were slippery, defective, or dangerous, the cruise line is responsible for his injuries because it failed to keep the floor clean and safe. Therefore, if a passenger falls and injures himself because the floor or the stairs of the ship were dirty, slippery or defective, he is entitled to receive money compensation from the cruise line.
  2. Accidents and injuries during shore excursions in the ports.The cruise lines are responsible for accidents and injuries during port excursions.  If a cruise passenger is injured during a shore excursion, he can sue the cruise line for damages suffered. Frequently cruise passengers suffer accidents, injuries, or assaults during shore excursions in the different ports. The cruise lines are responsible for these accidents and injuries because the companies that run these excursions are often agents or partners of the cruise line. Therefore, if a cruise passenger is injured or assaulted during a shore excursion in a port, he is entitled to receive money compensation from the cruise line.
  3. Rape or sexual assaults during the cruise. Frequently, cruise passengers are the victims of rape or sexual assaults by the crew members or other passengers. The cruise line is responsible for these rapes and assaults for its failure to have a well trained crew or its failure to provide adequate security for its passengers. Therefore, if a passenger is raped or sexually assaulted, he is entitled to receive money compensation from the cruise line.
  4. The cruise lines are responsible for passenger safety.Drowning or near-drowning. When a cruise passenger drowns or almost drowns while participating in activities sponsored or supervised by the cruise line, the cruise line is responsible because of its failure to have adequate security or supervision such as a lifeguard on duty. Therefore, if a cruise passenger drowns or almost drowns, he or his family is entitled to receive money compensation from the cruise line.
  5. Disappearances. When a cruise passenger disappears during a cruise because he has been the victim of a crime on the ship, in a port, or because the cruise line employees sold him too much alcohol, the cruise line is responsible for his disappearance. Therefore, if a cruise passenger disappears because he has been the victim of a crime or because he has been maliciously drugged or intoxicated, he or his family is entitled to receive money compensation from the cruise line.

Our advice to any passenger that is injured aboard a cruise ship is to consult with a maritime lawyer immediately.

Cruise ship safety, contagious diseases, and the Norovirus

Information for Passengers

In the event of an injury that you contact a maritime lawyer. In early 2014, an extremely contagious virus spread among the crew and guests of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Those infected with the virus became violently ill with diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms. So devastating was the onset of the virus that the ship had to return to its port of origin, carrying over 600 ill passengers and crew members.

Cruise ship safety, contagious diseases, and the Norovirus.Following this disaster, experts theorized that the outbreak may have been caused by the norovirus. This virus is known for its quick spread and disgusting symptoms, which include intestinal inflammation, fever, diarrhea, cramping, and violent vomiting. Since the norovirus cannot be killed by standard household cleaning fluids, hand gels, or disinfectants, powerful chemicals are necessary to eradicate the virus once it has a foothold. The virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 12 hours, and it lasts nearly two weeks on soft fabric surfaces. Untreated standing water can harbor the norovirus for many months. As if its resilience was not enough, the norovirus is incredibly contagious. A tiny drop of vomit from one sick individual can infect over 100,000 people.

Royal Caribbean was not the only cruise line recently affected by an unsavory incident. One Carnival cruise ship suffered electrical issues, resulting in loss of power to the ship. Passengers and crew struggled with a lack of air conditioning and plumbing, leading to illness and deplorable conditions on board.

A credible cruise line should take immediate steps to address a major viral outbreak or power failure such as those reported in these two cruise ship incidents. The company should offer compensation to crew and passengers alike, to help alleviate some of the trauma from the voyage. Royal Caribbean, for instance, offered their passengers a refund of half their cruise cost, along with a credit of 50% off a future cruise. In addition, they conducted multiple barrier sanitizations of the ship, attempting to kill off any remaining vestiges of the virus.

Unfortunately, no one can tell for certain whether the virus originated on the ship as a result of unsanitary practices. In fact, it is far more likely that a passenger or crew member brought it aboard and infected others. The norovirus infects about 20 million Americans every year.  Therefore, it is sufficiently widespread for such an infection scenario to be possible.

To keep cruise ship incidents like this from occurring, crew members, passengers, and cruise companies must take a variety of precautions. Anyone with symptoms of stomach illness, whether they are paying customers or part of the crew, should refrain from boarding the ship. If the illness starts while the cruise is in progress, the affected individual should go to a medical center immediately. Medical professionals who suspect a contagious virus should recommend a limited quarantine for the sick person to prevent the illness from spreading to others.

Only through regular cleaning, routine sanitization, and careful inspection can a cruise company hope to minimize the impact of infection and sickness aboard its ships. The investment in cleanliness is worthwhile because it can save a company millions of dollars in customer fares.

If a cruise company upholds the proper standards of cleanliness and safety and passes all inspections by the Center for Disease Control, the company is most likely not at fault for the spread of a virus such as the norovirus. In fact, lawyers who process claims for personal injuries do not always take on claims related to norovirus outbreaks, since it is difficult to prove that the cruise line did anything to facilitate the problem. Other types of personal injuries claims against cruise lines are far more likely to succeed in court.

When stories of virus outbreaks on cruise ships surface, customers start to wonder if the luxury of the trip is worth the risk. They begin searching for cruise lines with the lowest recorded number of outbreaks. For instance, a cruise company like Royal Caribbean is actually far more appealing than the Princess Cruises line. From 2011-2013, nine different Princess Cruises ships endured norovirus outbreaks, compared to the Royal Caribbean’s four outbreaks.

Another factor that prospective crew members or passengers can look at is the number of inspections that a company’s ships have passed or failed. Some cruise lines have a reputation for passing a significant percentage of their inspections with a perfect score. Working for these companies or booking a cruise with them does not eliminate the possibility of a viral outbreak, but it can lessen the potential risk. A few of the top cruise lines known for their cleanliness are Costa, Norwegian, Oceania, and Disney. In contrast, stand ships like the Amadea of Phoenix Reissen cruises. This particular vessel failed its inspection miserably. The report revealed dirt, bugs, clogged drains, and multiple other issues.

Before you go to work on a specific cruise ship or book a cruise with a particular line, find out that cruise line’s record for inspections. Do a little digging to uncover any personal injuries that others have suffered aboard a cruise company’s ships. In addition, check out the results of sanitation inspections for some of the company’s vessels. Remember that a cruise company should keep its ships well supplied with state-of-the-art water filtration and disinfection systems. The cruise line must also have adequate medical centers that document every illness. In the galley and dining areas, cleanliness is paramount. The entire food preparation and food service area should be pristine, with all the high-quality equipment necessary to keep surfaces clean and to preserve food from contamination.

Cruise ship incidents such as the Royal Caribbean outbreak may make customers think twice about booking a cruise. In addition, these situations often cause concern among crew members who work aboard cruise vessels. Repeated personal injuries and illnesses aboard an employer’s cruise ship should inspire crew members to defend their right to a safe, sanitary workplace. If you are concerned about the cruise ship environment in which you work or relax, consult with a reputable maritime injury lawyer to see what legal recourse you may have.

Sources: marketwatch.com/story/6-most-hygienic-cruise-lines-2014-01-30, cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/gilist.htm

Maritime Claims: What Happens if You Suffer a Cruise Ship Injury

Information for Passengers

Maritime Claims: What Happens if You Suffer a Cruise Ship Injury?Since the end of the 70’s, cruises have become a very popular vacation for the American middle class. Regrettably, there are a lot of accidents aboard these ships and many passengers suffer very serious cruise ship injuries.
The most typical maritime accidents are:

  • Slip and Falls and Trip and Falls due to dangerous conditions aboard the ships such as defective floors, and slippery substances on the floors. These accidents can occur inside the cabins, in and around the pools, on the decks, hallways, access ramps, restaurants, bars, etc.
  • Cruise ship accidents during short excursions
  • Fires and Maritime Collisions
  • Poisoning and Sickness due to contaminated food and drink
  • Negligence in providing medical care when it is required.
  • Negligence in providing adequate accommodations for handicapped people.
  • Physical or sexual assaults perpetrated by the crew or other passengers.
  • Unexplained disappearances
  • Negligent navigation.

Maritime claims for cruise ship incidents and injuries

Maritime claims for cruise ship incidents and injuriesMany passengers are not aware that they can receive money compensation for injuries that result from these incidents and accidents on cruise ships. Additionally, they do not know the laws that apply and the location where the lawsuits must be filed. Matters are made more difficult by the fact that most maritime claims have to be filed where the main offices of the cruise company is located. The main offices for most of the main cruise lines that operate in the United States are located in Miami. Therefore, most passenger lawsuits against the cruise lines have to be filed in Miami. As a result of this, most passengers start their maritime lawsuits in Miami after returning to their home states or home countries.

Maritime claims and passengers’ contractual limitations

The passenger ticket is a contract between the passenger and the cruise line.
It contains far more than the itinerary. It imposes severe limitations on a passengers’ ability to file a maritime claim against the company and it must be read very carefully because it will contain all the requirements that must be complied with before a maritime lawsuit can be filed. For example, some companies require written notification of the passenger’s intention to file a lawsuit, and this usually has to be done within six (6) months after the accident.

Maritime claims and statute of limitations

The passenger ticket also contains that statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the time within which the passenger can file his case against the company. If the passenger does not file the case against the company within the statute of limitations, he will lose all his rights. It is a very short statute of limitations. It is one (1) year from the date of the accident or injury. More passenger cases are lost for failure to comply with the requirements of the ticket and the statute of limitations than for any other reason.
If you suffered cruise ship injuries during your vacation and want to file a maritime lawsuit, please read your passenger ticket carefully and comply with all of its requirements. If for any reason you have lost your ticket, please request a copy of it immediately from the company and comply with all of its requirements. Better yet, contact us– (305) 642-5000 – and we will help you comply with all the requirements and bring your lawsuit to a successful conclusion.

The Hidden Pitfalls Of The Fine Print On Your Cruise Ship Ticket

Information for Passengers

Though cruise vacations are usually a safe and popular choice for travelers, what is less known is how severely restricted their rights are when something bad happens. In the process of buying a cruise ship ticket, the consumer automatically agrees to a boilerplate contract that limits what can be done to seek redress. And to make matters worse, there’s really no shopping around, all cruise companies use the same type of contract with the same restrictions. After all, no cruise ship company attracts their customers by advertising how much more lenient and generous their boilerplate contracts are compared to the competition. If anything, cruises can get away with this because the vast majority of travelers are unaware of what they are signing, and may be operating under a false sense of security. Even now, the public is unaware of how little protection exists for cruise ship passengers under maritime law.

 In the United States, most cruise ship companies are headquartered in Miami and will specify that a consumer can only sue in MiamiCan anything be done? Before that question is answered, it is a good idea to take stock of what the fine print specifies. According to maritime lawyer James M. Walker, the choice-of-forum clause is something every potential cruise passenger should be aware of because “you have to file suit in the location specified on the contract on your cruise ship ticket.” In the United States, most cruise ship companies are headquartered in Miami and will specify that a consumer can only sue in Miami, which can be a huge obstacle for passengers who do not live in Florida. Given that cruise ship vacationers often fly to the ports of departure to board their ship, this clause is especially effective in discouraging lawsuits because of the added cost, time, and travel just to file a case.

But even without the choice-of-forum clause, just buying the cruise ship tickets means that you have already agreed to a list of restrictive terms and conditions that prevent legal remuneration. Added Mr. Walker, “So many people call us and tell us they were treated badly on a cruise and 90 percent of the time we have to tell them that because of the terms and conditions of the contract, they don’t have a case.”

One way to deal with legally bulletproof cruise ship contracts is to buy comprehensive travelers insurance that includes coverage for lost luggage as well as emergency medical care. This can be a pricy alternative, but for those who can afford it and want to reduce risk in their cruise ship experience, it can be an option.

However, the legal invincibility of the cruise ship industry may be waning. In the wake of the highly publicized Concordia disaster and the negative publicity stirred up by the breakdown of the Carnival Triumph, cruise companies have finally responded to public outcry by approving a Passengers Bill of Rights. Fortunately, the newly approved guidelines are more than just public relations window dressing, because it is legally enforceable if the cruise company violates it. Among the guaranteed rights are: access to certified medical emergency attention, emergency backup power should the ship’s generator fail, complimentary overnight accommodations if the passenger is forced to stay overnight at an unscheduled port, the right to leave a docked ship if necessities cannot be accessed on board, and much more.

Though this “Passenger Bill of Rights” is not codified under modern maritime law, it is still enforceable because it is now standard for cruise ship contracts when a traveler buys a ticket. The path to true accountability is a long and winding road. But with the weight of public opinion affecting the bottom line, cruise companies will continue to do what is necessary to keep their customers, even if it means giving up their legal invulnerability.

What To Expect When Dining On A Cruise Ship

Information for Passengers

cruise ship foodWhen you choose a cruise vacation, meals are usually included in the package. However, there are certain things travelers should be aware of if they want to enjoy their dining experience with as little hassle and bill shock as much as possible.

All cruise lines (except Norwegian Cruise Lines) offer “traditional dining”, which means you are assigned to dine at a specific time at a specific table with other passengers in the main dining room. You can request early or late seating in advance, though there is no guarantee that it will be granted. In this kind of dining format, you and your fellow traveler are required to arrive at the same time, at the same table, and eat with the same passengers for the duration of the cruise. This can be ideal for meeting new people, and for the wait staff to get to know you and your preferences.

But for others who would like to choose the time they eat and who they dine with, “traditional dining” can be a drawback. Fortunately, more cruise ships are offering open seating dining. Basically, you can walk in during a specified block of time (usually within a 4 hour period) and can be seated with just you and your companion or be seated with other passengers depending on availability. The same items offered in traditional dining should also be available for open seating dining.

Another important thing to consider is the cruise ship’s casual dining and specialty dining options. If you are worn out from participating in offshore excursions all day, it’s possible that you will be too tired even for the late dining time in the main dining room. Make sure that the cruise offers casual dining choices, just in case you are hungry later in the night. On the other hand, if you want something that is more upscale and special than what is offered in the main dining venue, it’s a good idea to ask about other available options. Usually, these specialty venues may focus on French cuisine, steaks and seafood, Italian food, and much more. Reservations are usually required, and make sure that you pack the proper attire if you are planning on dining at these establishments.

Again, it is important to stress that any kind of alternative dining—whether casual or specialty—may incur additional fees. Just make sure to clarify with the customer service representative as to what is actually included in your package, so you can budget properly for any extras.

Should you choose buffet dining, there are many important health considerations you should remember. Of course, cruise ships do what they can to maintain cleanliness and hygiene. But with so many passengers sharing the same water supply and the large variance in the personal hygiene of fellow travelers, it may be best for travelers with sensitive stomachs to avoid buffet service as much as possible.

It’s easy to assume that drinking will always come along with dining—but the fine print of your cruise package may say otherwise. This is where many cruise vacationers experience bill shock the most, because they did not know about the drink packages on offer. Many travelers are unprepared for the “anything goes” atmosphere of a cruise ship—there is no “last call” and gambling is legal once the ship is in international waters. In this environment, it’s easy to spend far more money that you initially budgeted for. While the decision to gamble is completely up to the passenger, drinking (whether it’s soda or alcohol) won’t have to cost an arm and a leg if a drink package is purchased beforehand.

In all, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy your cruise vacation and stay within your planned budget. Like with any endeavor, it is always a good idea to read the fine print before you commit. As with any kind of vacation, it’s easy to stray from your budget if you’re not careful. But as long as you are aware of your options, it should not be too hard to enjoy yourself without breaking the bank.

Extra Charges May Catch You By Surprise During Your Cruise Vacation

Information for Passengers

cruise ship incidentWhen planning a cruise vacation, the reality of hidden costs for seemingly innocuous items and activities are often overlooked until the traveler gets the final bill. Bill shock is a common occurrence for passengers who assume that everything is included in the cruise package, which can take the joy out of an otherwise relaxing and fun vacation. To avoid this kind of surprise, it pays to figure out your budget and do your homework before you book your cruise vacation.

First things first, when you see an advertised price for a cruise vacation that seems almost too good to be true, make sure to actually speak to a customer representative so you can get a clear idea of what the accommodations actually are for the promotional price. Cruises like to use “lead-in” pricing, which means the advertised prices are for the cheapest packages on offer rather than for the average cabin on the ship. This sales tactic is designed to attract bargain hunters, but when you find out what’s actually included (or rather, not included), you may want to reconsider your budget or continue shopping around for other cruise packages.

Another important consideration for your cruise vacation budget is the cost of gratuities. In the past, it was common practice for passengers to submit tips in an envelope to the appropriate crewmembers. Nowadays, cruise lines will just add a per day charge to cover gratuity, which can be around $10 to $12 per passenger. While some vacationers may not be comfortable with mandatory gratuity, this is done for everyone’s benefit; passengers can expect assistance from any crewmember, just like crewmembers are expected to help any passenger that requests assistance.

Alcohol and soft drinks can cost you if you drink away without looking into what your cruise package actually includes. Before booking your package, make sure that the customer representative clearly explains what is covered in the price. You can always buy additional drink packages, so you won’t have to worry about an outsize bill once your vacation is over. Many cruise lines offer unlimited alcoholic packages but beware, out in the open sea, just make sure you are surrounded by friends and crewmembers so you are safe no matter how drunk you are.

Internet access is another cost to watch out for. Cruise ships often charge by the hour, and while $0.75 may not be a lot, it can add up very quickly. The age of the ship can also affect the quality of the Internet connection, so it may be a good idea to explore data plans being offered by your mobile phone company. Nowadays, major telecom companies are offering data plans with roaming, which should offer a reliable signal for a preset cost almost anywhere in the world.

When booking shore excursions, you may be tempted to book through the cruise line to save time and hassle. What you won’t be saving, however, is money. Cruises often charge much more than independent operators, which means you will have less money for everything else. In addition, excursions booked through the cruise tend to be crowded and impersonal. Nowadays, independent providers will offer worry-free guarantees to ensure that you get back to your ship on time, so you never have to choose between saving money and having peace of mind.

The key to keeping the costs of your cruise vacation within striking distance of your planned budget is preparation and staying informed. A good rule of thumb is to never assume, it never hurts to ask, and as always, read the fine print. If anything is unclear, make sure the customer representative gives you an explanation. Though preparations can be quite time consuming and maybe even a little stressful, the freedom from bill shock will at least go a long way towards ensuring a smooth and relaxing vacation.

Is it better to book your flight or leave it to the cruise line?

Information for Passengers

Planning any trip or vacation can be stressful, which is ironic since the point of a vacation is to relieve stress and get the relaxation you have been waiting all year for. If you’re planning a cruise vacation, you often have to fly to the port of departure so you can embark on the cruise vacation of your dreams. To save time, you may be tempted to just have the cruise line book your flight for you by purchasing a travel package that include airfare. It’s easy enough to understand why this would seem like a time saver, you don’t have to do your own research, and you feel safe in the assumption that the cruise line will do its best to get a great deal for you. Unfortunately, that is not the reality.

First, having the cruise line take care of the flight arrangements for you is actually more expensive. They are under no obligation to look for the best airfare for you, and will generally use the flight arrangements as an excuse to increase their profit margin. While it can be safely assumed that cruise companies and airline companies have a good relationship, it’s naïve to assume that this relationship would be to your benefit. Keep in mind that they are here to make money, not get you the best discount possible. And if they can see that you won’t be doing any research on your own, how would you ever know that they are charging you too much money?

Perhaps you think that money is not an issue, but time is. However, letting the cruise line handle the flight arrangements can cause more hassles and waste more time than it saves. It is standard industry practice for the cruise to notify you of your flight and seats 30 to 60 days before departure. In addition, the flight they book you on will usually include stopovers and connection flights that may have departure times that are less than optimal, leaving you rushing to get to the next flight. If you are not happy with the flight the cruise line booked for you, and would like to pick a departure time or routing that’s more to your comfort, then you may be charged an Air Deviation fee, which is between $15 to $100 more. 

However, there is an advantage to booking your airfare through the cruise line. If the flight or cruise is delayed for any reason, the cruise line will usually (though not always) do what they can to provide alternate arrangements. If you book your own flight and there is a delay, the cruise line will usually chalk it up as something that is beyond their control and leave it up to you to figure things out on your own. Still, buying a sea/air package through your cruise line is not a guarantee that you will be helped if travel issues arise. Your best bet during this type of situation is to be calm and courteous to the customer representative, who is in the best position to help you.

It’s true that nothing is ever 100% guaranteed, and things often happens that are beyond anyone’s control. If you are looking to save money on airfare and retain maximum control over your preferred departure times and routing, you are better off booking the flight on your own and purchasing comprehensive travel insurance. Still, this is not to say that you should never purchase air/sea packages from the cruise line. If you choose to do so, don’t just book online without speaking to a customer representative first. Regardless of what booking option you choose, it’s always best to speak to a representative so you can fully understand what they can and can’t do—that way, you can be properly prepared to adjust your travel plans if need be. 

Navigating the Possible Health Hazards on Your Cruise Ship Vacation

Information for Passengers

navigating the possible health hazards on your cruise ship vacationThough it’s good common sense to always prepare for illness during your vacation, the reality of how vulnerable you are to infection and disease is often downplayed by the cruise ship industry. The reality is that it is notoriously easy to catch something while sailing on a luxury cruise ship, which can quickly ruin the dream vacation you have been planning for.

Viral infections are extremely easy to get on a cruise ship for many reasons. On a cruise liner, thousands of people are held in close settings with nowhere to go and may be exposed to contaminated food and surfaces which are ideal conditions for spreading infection and disease.

Viral infections are easy to get on a cruise shipsEarlier this year, a Royal Caribbean cruise returned to shore carrying 100 passengers and 3 crew members infected with the norovirus, a viral infection that causes diarrhea and vomiting. This virus is usually transmitted by multiple modes, through contaminated food and water, directly from person to person and by exposure to contaminated surfaces, such as toilet seats, faucet handles, door handles, sheets.

But gastrointestinal distress is just the tip of the iceberg, vacationers should also watch out for respiratory infections on cruise ships, which travel very easily among the thousands of passengers sailing in the middle of the ocean. A good rule of thumb is to prepare by getting a flu shot or even a pneumonia shot.

Of course, disease and infection is possible no matter where you are. That said, there is no reason to think that you can’t take measures to ensure your health on what should be a fun and relaxing time. The following precautions are highly recommended if you are considering a cruise vacation:

  • See your doctor and discuss any health risks you should watch out for. He or she may recommend a flu shot, or may prescribe you some medication to take on board just in case.
  • Consider getting trip cancellation insurance
  • Try to keep skin-to-skin contact (such as shaking hands and hugging) with fellow passengers to a minimum. This is one of the most common ways to spread infection, though of course it must be taken into account that over-fastidiousness in this area can also ruin your vacation. After all, it’s rude to never shake anyone’s hand or insist on wearing gloves just to avoid skin contact.
  • When dining, it is better to be waited on than to eat at the buffet. Because the buffet is a communal food source, the chances of infected hands coming into contact with your food goes up exponentially. Of course, this is not to say that you should never eat at a buffet. But should you choose to do so, make sure to cover the food after getting what you want and to only use clean plates when coming back for seconds.
  • If you are feeling sick, go back to your room and call the health center. That way, your infection will not spread to other passengers.
  • It is a good idea to always use the bathroom in your stateroom rather than the ship’s public restrooms.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water. Bring hand wipes as backup when you are unable to wash, but remember that it is still not as good as washing.

Bacteria and viruses will always be with us, but with the right kind of preparation there is no reason you can’t avoid a debilitating illness during your dream vacation. As long as you take the proper precautions, staying happy and healthy during your cruise trip shouldn’t be a problem.