How to Avoid a Cruise Ship Injury on a Mega Vessel

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

cruise ship injuryThe introduction of big “mega ships” means new amenities – and new hazards. So how do you stay safe? Here’s a few tips to avoid a cruise ship injury on a mega vessel.

Zip lines, bungee trampolines, ropes courses, waterparks, climbing walls—these days you don’t have to leave a cruise ship to experience thrills. Cruise lines are rolling out with larger vessels that, naturally, offer a greater array of passenger activities. One cruise ship even offers guests the chance to “walk the plank” – meaning a plank that lets fully harnessed passengers walk over the edge of the ship and over the ocean. Don’t want to walk the plank? Maybe you want to try a sky diving simulator? There’s certainly no shortage of attractions.

However, while all of these amenities provide more options for your cruise vacation, it is important to understand the risks. The bigger the ship and the more extravagant the amenities, the greater the threat to passenger safety. So, to ensure your cruise goes as smoothly as possible, check out some tips on how you can stay safe on a “mega vessel” and avoid a cruise ship injury.

First, if you are thinking about cruising on a mega ship, it’s important to know that from a cruise line’s perspective, safety protocols will most likely be the same as those on smaller vessels. For instance, most cruise lines don’t hire life guards to oversee their water park amenities. This isn’t going to change with the introduction of bigger ships. So what to do? Unfortunately, passengers have to look out for their own safety many times while on a cruise ship. Parents traveling with children should know that the majority of cruise ship pools will have a “swim at your own risk sign” so be sure to supervise kids at all times.

While activities involving height thrills, passengers should be aware of the potential hazards before participating. Sure, cruise lines will provide guests with safety gear for activities like zip lining and rock climbing (among others), and instructors are often present to make sure you’re strapped up properly in your harness. But how reliable are these harnesses, and for that matter, how experienced are the instructors? If cruise lines don’t hire trained lifeguards or even trained security personnel or actual doctors sometimes, how can you trust that the crew member overseeing an activity knows what they’re doing? Well, you don’t. And even experienced activities instructors can make mistakes. To keep yourself safe, don’t hesitate to ask questions about how the safety gear works, if different harnesses are used for passengers of varying weight, and if there are any fail-safes in place.

You can even go as far as to inquire about any previous mishaps and opt out of an activity if there have been prior cruise ship accidents. Unfortunately, some popular onboard activities have been known to cause passenger injuries. For example, there have been numerous incidents involving surf simulators, including a cruise ship injury on a Royal Caribbean FlowRider. But while some accidents have resulted in minor bumps and bruises, others have proved fatal.

At the end of the day, you’ll have to use judgment when deciding whether to participate in an onboard activity. However, going into them with some knowledge of safety can go a long way toward preventing a cruise ship injury.