How Do I Stay Safe on a Cruise Ship or Not Get Raped?

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

When you set out on a cruise, whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth time, you are likely to have some questions about what to expect. While some questions, like the ports of call and cruise amenities, are only a simple internet search away, others, like how to ensure your own personal safety, are not as easily answered.

Unfortunately, one of the most common cruise ship crimes is rape and sexual assault. That bears repeating, especially if you are a woman travelling alone or are a parent traveling with an older teen: ONE OF THE MOST COMMON CRUISE SHIP CRIMES IS RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT!  Many people have heard harrowing stories of passengers who were assaulted aboard a cruise that was intended to be a safe escape from the adversity of everyday life. If you have read these kinds of stories, you may be wondering, “How do I stay safe on a cruise ship or not get raped?”

Fortunately, you have come to the right place. As a maritime law firm, we have been asked this question countless times and believe it’s an important one to address. So whether you are a passenger or a crewmember, this information can apply to you.

Staying Safe is Easy as 1,2,3…

First and foremost, we recommend that you remain aware of your surroundings. Cruise ships are known for being filled to the brim with other people. But there are still countless areas of the ship that are less frequented and could allow attackers to target their victims, without other passengers or crewmembers taking notice. By staying vigilant, especially when walking alone at night, you’ll be one step ahead of anyone who is trying to cause you harm.

Second, we advise that you keep an eye on your drink and how much you’re drinking, at all times. Alcohol, while a common way to relax, can also open the door to a number of unwanted interactions–one of which is sexual assault and rape. When you’re drinking aboard your cruise, we recommend paying attention to who made your drink and then continuing to monitor it while you’re drinking, lest someone attempt to slip something inside. Un-spiked drinks can be just as dangerous if you have too many. So be cognizant of how much is a safe amount for you, so you can get back to your cabin without any problems.

Third, it is always advisable to make smart choices when choosing to interact with new people, specifically with regards to where you meet them. While it may seem normal to meet a new acquaintance at your cabin, the safer choice might be a public space, where there is less potential for violence to take place. It is far better to err on the side of safety than to risk winding up in a compromised situation.  A better rule of thumb is to always stay with somebody you know well – and parents should not allow their children (and this includes older teens) to wander the ship alone (or with newly found friends) – especially at night.

Finally, keeping open communication with your traveling companions will ensure that, should you go unexpectedly missing for a few hours, they’ll be able to alert the proper authorities in a timely fashion. While there’s no need to travel as one large group every moment of your vacation it is a good idea to be with someone else as frequently as possible and it can be helpful to set up frequent check-in times and let your traveling companions know if and when you’ll be meeting someone else aboard the ship.  This is especially important with children who you permit to go to activities without you.

By taking a few simple precautionary steps, you will be well on your way to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe and protected from potential sexual assault or rape. However, even the most cautious individual may fall victim to an attack. And should that occur, you can rest assured that we are here to help. A maritime lawyer on our team can work with you to help you get your life back on track. So do not hesitate to contact us.