Cruise ships are a popular method of vacationing. From 2005 to 2010, about 100 million passengers took cruises according to the Cruise Lines International Association. Annually almost 12 million passengers embarked on cruises worldwide. In South Florida alone, there are more than 8 million visitors to Florida’s seaports (Port of Palm Beach, Port Everglades, Port of Miami).
Each year thousands of passengers are injured on cruise ships. Many believe cruise ship injuries and cruise ship deaths were underreported, and until recently, cruise lines were not required to report incidents in a timely, meaningful way. In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, which requires cruise lines to report all deaths, missing persons, theft, sexual harassment and assaults.
While the cruise line and cruise ship industry have a duty of care to guard against accidents and injury, some of the common injuries can include: slip and fall accidents, falling overboard, pool or recreational area accidents and drowning (scuba diving and snorkeling), medical staff negligence, food poisoning, Norwalk virus (norovirus), legionnaires disease, assault or battery by crew or passengers due to negligent security, sexual assault by passengers or crew, wrongful death due to cruise negligence, injuries arising from a cruise line-approved excursion and employee injuries (boiler room and engine room explosions).