Water transportation has come a long way since birch-bark canoes and rickety rafts. Modern-day cruise ships are outfitted with a dazzling array of amenities, special features, and technologies dedicated to promoting passenger comfort and safety.
Royal Caribbean recently released one of the most high-tech ships on the seven seas to date—Quantum of the Seas. With more than 2,000 advanced staterooms and high-tech features like electronic wristbands and maps, this ship works hard to protect passengers from many of the risks previously associated with sea travel and cruise vacations. Here are some of the ways Quantum of the Seas designers have reduced some of the most common risks for cruise ship accidents and mishaps:
WOW Bands reduce potential for robbery and identity theft. Theft is a huge problem on cruise ships, though incidents often go unreported since cruise lines are only legally required to report losses of property worth $10,000 or more. Each year, electronics, money, and credit cards are stolen on ships. The theft of personal items like credit cards and identification documents can be particularly dangerous, since identity thieves can use these items to find out personal and sensitive information about you and your families.
With Quantum of the Sea’s innovative WOW Bands, however, the opportunity for theft is reduced. These wireless-enabled wristbands double as room keys and credit cards, allowing passengers to pay for everything onboard and track purchases while eliminating the need to carry around wallets. Another bonus: the wristband is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about accidently deactivating it after diving into the pool or hopping into the Jacuzzi.
Radio frequency ID tracking works to prevent luggage loss and tampering. A large portion of complaints regarding theft and crime on cruises involve luggage. In addition to being lost or stolen, luggage can be used to smuggle drugs and other illegal goods without the owner’s knowledge or consent. Smugglers have been known to slip illicit goods into suitcases and bags, resulting in the arrest of innocent passengers when they attempt to bring their luggage to port.
On Quantum, staffers combat this issue by placing an RFID tag on all luggage pieces. This allows customers to see where their luggage is at all times and track it through the seven steps it takes to arrive in their cabin.
The Royal iQ and high-speed internet can reduce onboard assault and crime. An investigation conducted by ABC found that onboard physical and sexual assault is all too common on cruise ships. Like theft, many of these incidents go unreported. Last year, four major cruise lines reported 19 sexual assaults and 29 rapes, and it is believed that many more may have occurred without being recorded.
Out at sea, victims are particularly vulnerable. Passengers are unable to call for help, stripped of access to cellphones and internet.
There may be less of a risk on Quantum, where passengers can call and text other people onboard using the Royal iQ app on their iOS or Android device. Not only can they contact fellow travelers, passengers can reach out to crewmembers in the event of an emergency.
The ship also features high-speed internet that is more reliable than typical cruise ship internet services in the past, allowing passengers to access Skype and download messenger nearly as smoothly as they would on land. To provide this ultra-fast service, low-orbit communication satellites transmit internet directly to the ship.
The North Star allows passengers to enjoy spectacular ocean views without risking falling overboard. Overboard falls are rare, but not unheard of—particularly among young children. During rough weather conditions, this risk is escalated.
The Quantum reduces the risk with the innovative North Star—a glass capsule that can project 300 feet over the ocean, regaling passengers with 360-degree views. The ship also features virtual balconies with towering, high-resolution screens displaying live feeds of the outside. These realistic virtual balconies are featured on the bow and stern of the ship, as well as in windowless staterooms.
While the Quantum and other modern cruise ships have adopted many state-of-the-art technologies that can improve passenger safety, the industry still has a long way to go. The opportunity for accidents and injuries abound at sea, even with high-tech wristbands and ultra-fast internet. If you or a family member has been injured on a cruise ship, contact a lawyer with experience in cases against popular lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Disney. Cruise lines have a duty to protect the health and safety of their passengers and crew, and if they are unsuccessful in living up to that standard, they need to be held financially and legally responsible.
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.”