Booking and setting sail on a cruise vacation should always be fun and exciting. While the cruise injury attorneys at Lawlor Winston will always be there to defend you if you suffer injuries aboard a cruise ship, we would much prefer that you experience the most relaxing vacation possible and that you come back to Miami rejuvenated, excited, and most of all, safe.
To lessen your chance of sustaining an injury aboard the ship and ensure that you have the best trip possible, it’s important that you thoroughly research different cruise lines before you book your getaway. Here’s how to do it:
From personal blogs to Fodor’s Travel, cruise reviews are available all over the Internet. Reviews from both travel authorities, as well as past passengers, can be some of the most valuable resources when it comes to finding yourself a quality cruise. When reading reviews, a few important things to bear in mind:
• Be on the lookout for things that are important to you. Maybe someone gave a certain cruise a poor rating due to a disappointing spa experience. If you’re not interested in the spa services, don’t let that rating affect your opinion.
• Look out for trusted reviewers. Many sites will rank contributors and reviewers based on their feedback history, credibility, and experience. Pay attention to the reviewers with more positive feedback.
• Dig deep, but be selective. For each cruise line you look up, you’re bound to find hundreds, if not thousands, of reviews from past passengers. Don’t be turned off if you see a few bad reviews, but at the same time don’t commit to one cruise line just because it got three A+ reviews in a row. Take the time to read through the reviews carefully.
Create Your Ideal Itinerary
By researching thoroughly before you book a trip, you will be able to find out all the itinerary details of any cruise you select—from the ports of call to the routes they take.
Before you begin researching, take time to make a list of places you definitely want to see, as well as places you want to avoid. If any particular destination or route strikes you as unsafe or undesirable for any reason, avoid any cruise that includes those areas in its itinerary.
Consider the Weather
If you’re booking your trip months in advance, it is almost impossible to know what the weather will be like during your future trip. However, there are certainly some patterns that you can look for. For instance, certain areas are more prone to hurricanes and heavy storms at certain times of the year, so if you’re traveling at that time, you might want to avoid booking a trip to a hurricane-prone area.
Make an Emergency Plan
It’s always a good idea to plan for emergency situations, however unlikely they may seem. According to Condé Nast Traveler, the four most common causes of cruise ship accidents are:
• Rogue waves
While there’s nothing you can do to completely avoid injury from any of the above incidents, there are certainly steps you can take to be prepared. First, always make sure to take the following general safety precautions:
• Know where the exits are
• Have a map on you at all times
• Walk the ship a few times when you first board
• Listen to any safety instructions the crew members provide
Additionally, when preparing for emergency situations, make sure you have plans established with your travel companions, as well as your friends and family at home.
• Emergency plans with your travel companions:
A mid-size ship can fit about 1,000 to 2,000 individuals. In a crowd that size, it’s easy for people to lose track of each other. Since cell phone service can be spotty in the middle of the ocean, it’s a good idea to establish regular check-ins with everyone in your party. Agree on a central meeting point and make sure everyone agrees to meet there at a certain time each day. Also, agree to make this spot your “emergency meet-up point” in case an emergency happens while you are separated.
• Emergency plans with your friends and family back home:
Make sure to leave a copy of your itinerary with friends and family at home so that someone will know where you will be at all times. Check in frequently with friends at home and update them if your itinerary changes. In case of an emergency, it will be crucial for someone to know both where you were last and where you were headed.
Though these precautions may seem excessive, accidents happen on cruise ships more often than we would like. The more you plan, the better off you will be in case something goes wrong.
If Everything Else Fails
By doing research and taking the necessary precautions, you’ll be on your way not only to an enjoyable and relaxing vacation, but also a safe one.
Sometimes, though, despite all the precautions we take and research we conduct, accidents still happen. Unfortunately, natural disasters and freak accidents are extremely difficult to prepare for. In the event that something does go wrong aboard a cruise ship, don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys at Lawlor Winston in Miami to discuss your legal options.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of The Law Office of Andrew Winston. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”