Cruises: Good Looks, Bad Safety

Taking a cruise is a great way to relax, but every so often, cruise ship safety hits the news.

Stories of people going overboard are rare, but tend to get attention when they do happen. On top of that, fires, outbreaks of nasty diseases and even piracy have been known to happen.

However, sometimes cruise ships put aesthetics ahead of the safety of their passengers.

For example, marble floors look great, but when wet become extremely slippery, so why do some ships have them near the pool deck? In early 2010 a lawsuit was filed against Carnival because water splashing from a pool slide caused a slip hazard on the pool deck. The splash guard was not fitted correctly.

Going overboard? Most of the time, if a passenger falls overboard, it is a result of alcohol consumption or stupid stunts like climbing from one balcony to another. However, elegant railings may not provide sufficient protection. Starting in 2012, cruise ships will have to fit railings at least 42″ high to all balconies and decks, but the railings still have to be designed to make sure that a small child cannot slip under them. In too many cases the design is kept as open as possible to make sure everyone can see, sometimes at the cost of safety.

Floor lighting might seem to be a great way to help people navigate the deck of the ship at night, but it’s not always well designed. Some floor lighting strips protrude up from the floor, generating a trip hazard. They may produce better lighting, but floor strips need to be recessed. And, of course, that elegant carpet needs to be firmly secured so that it, too, does not cause people to trip. Things that are not obvious as trip hazards on land may rapidly become so when a ship hits higher seas and the deck starts to move.

Then there’s furniture. Elegant chairs and tables may slide when the deck tilts. Fixed furniture is safer, but it does not allow for flexible rearranging of seating and is often uglier. In many cases, cruise ships use movable furniture to allow space for a dance floor.

All of these are things that look good on a ship, but can cause problems for passengers…or at least a reason to be careful on board.

About Waks & Barnett, P.A.
Based in Miami, Waks & Barnett attorneys work with clients in Florida, throughout the United States and around the world. The firm’s attorneys practice in the areas of personal injury, accidents and wrongful death, with a specialization in admiralty and maritime law.

  • Cruise ship passenger personal injuries and accidents
  • Cruise ship passenger illness
  • Cruise ship medical negligence
  • Sexual assault on cruise ships
  • Protecting the rights of passengers and crew

Call 1-800-905-2891 for a free consultation.