In 1985, the largest cruise ship in the world was the 46,000 ton Carnival Holiday. A decade ago, the largest ship was the Queen Mary 2, was three times as large at 148,528 tons. Today, this distinction is held by Royal Caribbean’s Oasis and Allure of the Seas; each weighing in at an astonishing 220,000 tons and having a capacity of well over 6,200 passengers. As these statistics demonstrate, the size of passenger cruise ships has grown exponentially over the last thirty years, and shows little signs of stopping. This raises the question, however, is there such a thing as a cruise ship that’s too big?
It would appear that, despite a number of recent setbacks suffered by the industry, cruising is more popular than ever, and growing. In 2012, more than 17 million people jumped on a cruise ship, 10 million more than in 2000. As demand for cruises, grows, so does the size of ships that can carry more passengers and provide greater entertainment, shopping, and dining experiences. With more “real estate” to cover, however, cruise ships may struggle to maintain a satisfactory level of passenger safety.
With more entertainment venues comes a greater risk of injury to passengers, especially when cruises feature options such as on-board surfing and giant waterslides. Some ships have several gigantic pools which too often go unsupervised by lifeguards. Last month, 6-year-old Qwentyn Hunter of Winter Garden, Florida, drowned in one of the pools aboard the Carnival Victory where there were no lifeguards on duty.
In addition to the greater risk of injury to passengers, larger numbers of passengers with more room to move around increase the likelihood of criminal activity. According to a report by the FBI, in 2007, 207 criminal incidents were reported to the FBI by the U.S. Coast Guard and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Of those crimes, 41 reported instances of more secluded locations that are not monitored by ships personnel, with sexual assault accounting for fifty-five percent of the violent crimes that were reported. Larger ships are more trafficked by passengers, and represent ideal locations for the commission of a crime.
Finally, larger ships means more areas in which a passenger can slip and fall. Foreign substances often make their way on to passenger cruise ships, cargo vessels and their decks. If the dangerous condition exists long enough on the vessel, regardless of who created the dangerous condition, the cruise line owes passengers a duty to warn of the condition and correct it. This is harder to do when crew members have a lot more ground to cover.
As this blog has mentioned before, because cruise ship claims are subject to different laws and much shorter statutes of limitations, sometimes as short as one year, they are best handled by experienced cruise ship accident attorneys.
The Florida cruise ship accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. are licensed to practice law in all of Florida’s state and federal courts and have been representing the victims of cruise ship negligence for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident or has been the victim of a crime while on a cruise ship, contact the attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.