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Potential safety issues aboard cruise ships

Florida is one of the most popular locations for embarking on a cruise ship vacation. People drive south from all over the country to board vessels that sail to Caribbean and Latin American destinations. Most expect a holiday filled with fun and laughter, but for some, cruise ship vacations go horribly wrong. 

As more of these instances make the news, many people wonder about the safety of cruise ship vacations. Is it worth taking the risk or would a road-trip be much better? If cruise ship vacations are worth the risk, how high is that risk? 

Forbes estimates that 100 million people boarded cruise ships between 2005 and 2011. During this time period, 16 deaths occurred and there were 300 overboard accidents. Another potential hazard is the norovirus, which attacks the gastrointestinal system. Each year, there are roughly 10 to 15 outbreaks of this aboard cruise ships. 

MarketWatch believes that the risk of injury or death aboard cruise ships is actually low. It estimates that every year operational incidents lead to the injury of 60 people and the death of 10, on average. These incidents include the following: 

  • Stranded or sinking ships 
  • Fires and explosions 
  • Technical failures 
  • Collisions  
  • Falls 

MarketWatch also estimates that from 2009 to 2013, there were 20 rescues and 80 fatalities from man-overboard incidents. Like Forbes, it highlights that gastrointestinal diseases are often a greater threat. Over 2,100 cruise vacationers contract this illness each year. 

There are ways to potentially reduce the risk of cruise ship accidents and illness. Be mindful of windows and balconies with outdoor access. Wear shoes with proper grip. Finally, practice proper hygiene, such as washing hands or using hand sanitizer before meals.