When maritime accident lawyers hear about cruise lines undergoing upgrades, the first thing that comes to mind is improved safety features. Perhaps an in-depth emergency training for crew members, raising banisters to prevent overboard accidents, or maybe even installing backup generators. So when we heard that Disney Cruise Line’s oldest ship, the Magic, is getting a makeover, we were eager to learn about what safety improvements the line would be making.
Disney announced last week that it will be upgrading the Magic cruise ship by adding a children’s area with a Marvel Comics superheroes theme and a three-story water slide.
The company also plans to add other features when the vessel goes into dry-dock in the fall, including revamping the décor and updating audio technology and lighting. But given the increasing number of accidents and crimes occurring on the high seas as of late, it would make sense that a ship built in 1998 would also have to undergo major shipboard safety improvements. Yet, Disney made no mention of any safety-related upgrades.
For a line that is seldom in the news for maritime accidents, Disney is actually one of the safest cruise companies at sea. However, even the “safest” cruise ships are not immune to accidents.
Just last month, we reported a tragic near-cruise ship drowning accident onboard the Disney Fantasy involving a four-year-old boy. The child was found unresponsive in the ship’s pool. It is unclear whether there were any crew members monitoring and supervising the pool area at the time of the incident.
The young victim was initially taken to Cape Canaveral Hospital, but was then flown to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando, where he was reportedly still receiving treatment one week after the incident.
With this near drowning incident in mind, it would be prudent for the cruise line to make sure its new three-deck waterslide is safe for passengers.
Disney repoted that the waterside, called AquaDunk, will send riders on a near-vertical drop through a transparent tube extending 20 feet over the side of the ship. The upgraded Magic will also be getting a water playground and pool called AquaLab, as well as a splash zone for infants and toddlers.
Although fun, new attractions are what entice travelers to book cruise ship vacations, there comes a point when instead of focusing on the flashy features, cruise companies should take some time to evaluate each vessel thoroughly and inspect ships for any possible mechanical problem or potentially dangerous situation.
Cruise ship accidents are becoming more common with each day that passes.
In just the first four months of the year, Carnival has reported equipment problems on five of its ships, beginning with a fire knocked out the ship’s engine room onboard the Carnival Triumph. This resulted in the ship losing all of its power, leaving 4,000 passengers stranded at sea amongst the most deplorable and unsanitary conditions ever reported on a cruise ship.
Celebrity Cruises has also made headlines after reporting a slew of cruise ship crimes, including a gunpoint robbery during an excursion in St. Lucia, and several other lines have reported overboard accidents, sexual assault incidents and deaths. Not to mention, last year, the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy. Many passengers died and others were seriously injured.
Perhaps if cruise lines would perform a fleet-wide upgrade to all safety features and require crew members to undergo proper training for emergency evacuation situations, then these types of incidents could possibly be avoided.
In a time when cruise ship accidents are occurring nearly every week, companies should take some time to ensure their vessels meet optimal safety standards.