Did you know that cruising is one of the safest forms of travel? Most people enjoy cruising without any incidents whatsoever. However, as with any experience, it can’t hurt to prepare yourself by understanding potentially dangerous situations. The following are some basic safety tips.
Ask About Medical Facilities Before You Book
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) cruise ships’ medical facilities vary widely. This is due to several factors, such as passenger demographics, the length of the cruise, the size of the cruise ship, and the itinerary. There is no governing body responsible for regulating medical care on cruise ships. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has established consensus based guidelines for medical facilities on cruise ships. These minimum requirements for medical facilities and capabilities are as follows:
- The ability to provide emergency medical care for passengers and crew;
- The ability to stabilize patients;
- The ability to initiate reasonable diagnostic interventions;
- The ability to initiate reasonable therapeutic interventions;
- The ability to facilitate the evacuation of seriously ill patients and seriously injured patients.
Check the CDC’s Cruise Ship Inspection Report Card
The CDC provides a tool where travelers can review the safety inspection information for a specific cruise ship or an entire cruise line. Once you select the relevant information, the CDC provides a score based on the last inspection report. The CDC also provides the date of the last inspection. Additionally, the CDC provides a list of violations discovered and the recommended course of action the cruise ship or cruise line should take. Violations range from a food server scooping food into a buffet pan wearing a watch, to empty soap dispensers in public bathrooms, to mooring lines not properly protected against rodents. Finally, cruise ships are given the opportunity to file a corrective action report, which details how the cruise ship corrected the problem. This report is also available online.
Use the Ship’s Safe
As a preliminary matter, consider what items you bring with you on a cruise. Items that are extremely valuable, or that you consider priceless are probably best left at home. Any jewelry that you do bring on board, as well as your passports should be stored in the ship’s safe. This is not to be confused with the safe in your room. The safe in your room is for petty cash for tipping staff, your cell phone, etc. Understand, however, that you should not use your in-room safe for anything you don’t want or can’t afford to lose. In room safes have a bypass code. This code is set by the manufacturers in recognition that: 1. People leave things behind inside in room safes all the time; and 2. People set a code for their in-room safe which they then promptly forget. For both these reasons, in room safes have a bypass code. A quality security system would assign a distinct, separate code for each safe. In reality, many ships (and hotels, for that matter) have a single default code for all safes on board. Imagine how many crew members are privy to those codes.
Be Mindful of the Crew
Most crew members are honorable citizens who are only interested in your enjoyment on the cruise. However, just as in the rest of society, there are members of the crew who may be looking to take advantage of you. Never, ever, ever go with a crew member to the crew quarters. There are at least two reasons for this: First, this may be part of a set up with other crew members. By bringing you into crew quarters, you are unquestionably not in your room. This could be a plan to break into your room, because the crew knows you failed to follow the rule about using the ship’s safe for valuables. The second reason you may be lured into crew quarters could be due to a crew member’s intent to commit some sort of crime, such as a sexual assault. Understand inviting a passenger into crew quarters is grounds for immediate dismissal. This is, in part, for your safety. If you are invited to crew quarters, decline, and report the invitation as soon as possible.
Pay Attention to the Muster Drill
Safety first. Before you cruise begins, your attendance is required at the “muster drill.” This is where you learn critical safety information, such as how to don the lifejackets carried on that particular cruise ship, where your muster station is located, what different types of alarms are utilized, and for what circumstances. It is unlikely that you will need this information, but the possibility exists. Don’t text your friends, chat with your spouse, or otherwise engage in distracting behavior. Your attention is essential.
Understand Door Safety
As a preliminary matter, you may notice the door to your room doesn’t close automatically. Make sure you firmly close the door, both when you enter and when you leave. If the door has a lock, use it while you are inside. If you are lucky enough to have a balcony, good for you. Be sure to close the balcony door when you are out as well as when you are sleeping. As nice and romantic as it sounds to fall asleep to the gentle waves of the ocean, awakening to an intruder is a significantly less enjoyable event. Your safety is paramount. An open balcony door is almost as enticing as an open cabin door. Protect yourself by keeping the doors closed and locked.
Reach Out to Our Professional Cruise Ship Attorneys
Unfortunately, some cruises end with negative experiences. If you have experienced an injury on a cruise ship, or if you became ill on a cruise ship, or if you were assaulted on your cruise, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Our professional cruise ship attorneys in Miami specialize in cruise ship litigation. Contact us for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we win your case. Madalon Law has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach for your convenience.