Going on a cruise? Here are some top tips for staying safe

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BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

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Cruising has been in the centre stage this year With the ill-fated Costa Concordia causing widespread concern for the cruising community in January, there were suggestions that the cruise industry would never be the same again.

Most of the reports I have come across this year suggest cruising is as popular as ever.  With an increase in popularity, there will be the inevitable increase in claims against cruise companies and tour operators organising cruises.  You can probably trust your cruise operator to look after the lifeboats, life jackets and muster stations; an emergency situation where the ship is taking on water is highly unlikely.  There are, however, a few key tips you can follow to ensure your cruise is the enjoyable experience it should be and to stay safe while on the high seas:-

1. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the safety procedures on board.  Even if you are a seasoned cruiser, you may be on a new ship or things may have changed since you last sailed so do not take anything for granted.

2. Take care of your belongings.  It is advisable not to carry expensive luggage as this may not be covered under your travel insurance if it goes missing or is stolen. Keep important items such as jewellery, medication and money in your hand luggage. Keep your luggage under control until it has been checked in by the cruise liner. Make sure that you do not list your full address on the luggage name tags. 
 
3.  To avoid an accident on board, make sure you are familiar with the deck layout and any potential hazards such as steps or ledges.  Always act sensibly, try not to drink an excessive amount of alcohol, avoid walking on deck alone at night and do not run whilst on board ship, particularly if you are near a swimming pool.  If you do have an accident while on your cruise, then make sure it is fully reported to the crew, take photographs and get witness details.
 
4. Think health and hygiene as cruise ships can make excellent breeding ground for illness and disease.  Visit your GP before you board ship and find out what vaccinations you may need for the locations you intend to visit. Wash your hands on a regular basis, especially after using any public facilities. You may find using disinfecting wipes more convenient. Through the internet, you could check whether the ship you are about to board has had a recent history of illnesses and if it has, you may wish to contact the cruise provider and seek further clarification beforehand.
 
5.  Make sure you have adequate travel insurance before you travel.  This should cover you for any pre-existing health problems and should you need to be repatriated.

6.  Take care when leaving the ship for on shore excursions.  You should take extra care when disembarking or embarking the ship; watch where you are walking and use any handrails/ passenger assistance made available.  You may wish to think about booking an organised excursion with the cruise company depending on where you are visiting as this will ensure you stay safe and have the inside knowledge of a local guide.

If you do need to bring a claim following a cruise or accident abroad then you should always seek specialist advice.  Most cruises pass without incident and I speak to clients time and again who have the most fabulous of experiences.  By following my top cruise tips you will stay safe and make the most of all that is on offer.

BL Claims Solicitors are here to help

If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at info@blclaims.co.uk