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10 things you must know before boarding a cruise ship

Cruise lines sell tickets by promising dream vacation while sailing on floating cities around the world. Wanting the best vacation is the common denominator of each and every cruise passenger before they board a cruise ship. Sadly, for a lot of cruise passengers, their experience will be remembered for the wrong reasons.

Below is a list of 10 important tips that every cruise passenger should know before they get on a cruise ship, in case they become injured on the ship or on a shore excursion:

  • Save a copy of your ticket contract. The ticket contract is a 15- to 20-page document forwarded to you by the cruise line upon purchase of the cruise. This important document contains legally binding documents that will affect any potential claim or lawsuit against the cruise line.
  • Document the incident. You must take your own photographs of the scene of the incident. This is crucial to determine not only exactly where an incident took place, but to have evidence of the conditions of the area in fall cases.
  • Write down the names and rank of any and all crew members you come into contact with, and interact with, after the incident. Document who spoke to you or your relatives, and friends. Document the questions you were asked and more importantly the answers your provided.
  • If you need medical care while on ths ship after an incident takes place, do not leave the ship without requesting and obtaining a copy of the medical records, as well as a copy of any and all x-rays, scans, or studies performed by the ship’s doctor.
  • Avoid one of the biggest and most common mistakes injured cruise passengers make: Do not rely on cruise employees being helpful when you are involved in an incident with injury. Cruise employees are trained to shift into a crisis management gear once an incident occurs. They will not only attempt to diminish your injuries, but more importantly, they will be reticent to assist you with anything. Once you sustain an injury, cruise companies stop seeing you as a paying passenger, but rather as a future claimant. As such, do not expect assistance, and do not rely on cruise employees to do anything to make the rest of your cruise a “dram vacation” any longer.

  • If the incident occurs on a shore excursion, save any and all excursion documents, including receipts (if you purchased the excursion while on the ship). Should there be a negligence claim, these documents will be crucial in helping to make a claim on your behalf.
  • Gather the names and contact information of any and all witnesses to the incident. Cruise ships host thousands of passengers at a time, and it is very frequent that passengers become injured in plain view of many passengers. As mentioned above, you should never rely on cruise lines to assist you with your own potential claim, therefore, you must gather crucial information yourself, and one of the most important step in gathering evidence is by creating a list of witnesses who may have seen the incident.
  • Report the incident to a crew member. If you have sustained an injury, you must make sure that you report it to a cruise employee without delay. It is extremely difficult to make a claim of injury if the incident and injury have not been reported to the cruise line at the time it happened. Once the incident is reported, you will be asked by security personnel to give a statement of what happened. Do not provide a statement unless you obtain a copy of the statement as soon as you are finished giving it. Cruise lines “bully” passengers in making them believe they are not entitled to their own statement, which is absolutely incorrect. If you are turned down in your request to get a copy of your statement, do not provide a statement.
  • If you are the victim of a crime while on the ship, make sure that the cruise line contacts the FBI immediately. Since the passage of the “Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act”, cruise lines are required to notify the FBI of each and every crime that occurs on board. If the FBI is not contacted by the cruise line within hours of a crime occurring, contact the FBI yourself directly.
  • Contact a maritime injury attorney immediately upon returning home. The legally binding terms included in the ticket contract mentioned above place a short window for injured passengers to act before their injury claim becomes barred. There is a 6-months notice requirement, and a 1-year statute of limitation. As such, if you have sustained an injury during a cruise caused by the negligence of the cruise line, do not wait, and contact a cruise ship lawyer as soon as possible.
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