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How safe are you on a cruise?

The cruise ship industry has been under the microscope since the devastating Costa Concordia wreck. While the investigation continues into the crash, others are taking a closer look at the safety precautions on all cruise ships. When a person experiences a cruise ship injury or death, it is important to explore the conditions that led to the accident to determine liability.

It is said that the risk of getting into a crash while on a cruise ship is quite rare, but as we have all seen, it can happen. In the event of an accident, there should be safety measures that go into effect on the ship. However, these measures may only be effective if passengers are aware of the evacuation regulations. According to some reports, cruise ships are not required to perform safety drills prior to departure, as an airline does. Without these drills, actions that occur immediately following a crash may be affected.

There are also other health dangers that passengers may have to deal with on a cruise. Illness, for example, is more common on cruise ships than shipwrecks. Outbreaks of gastrointestinal illnesses have occurred 14 times last year. Unfortunately, because there are so many shared surfaces onboard, it may be very difficult to prevent illness.

A false assumption that many people make is that they can let their guards down considerably on a cruise. When this happens, people can be sexually assaulted, hurt or even kidnapped. Despite security measures taken by the ships, travelers still face these types of situations on cruises. There are also many instances when a passenger falls overboard. While rare, it can still happen.

Finally, the risk of a fire on a cruise is a very real concern. Most fires start in the lower part of a ship, in the engine room. It is suggested that passengers who are higher up on the ship have a better opportunity for evacuation.

It can be impossible for a passenger to prevent a catastrophic accident or dangerous situation while on a cruise. It is the responsibility of the ship's company to recognize and enforce safety guidelines, but there are times when these fail. In the event of an injury, illness or death on a cruise, it may be appropriate to seek financial compensation from the cruise company.

Source: The New York Times, "So, Just How Safe Is Your Ship?" Michelle Higgins, Feb. 1, 2012

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