When preparing for a cruise, it is natural that many people put a lot of thought into planning the vacation and the various excursions they’ll participate in at different ports of call. Once the cruise begins winding down and the last day at sea approaches, however, many passengers begin to think about disembarkation. This process can be stressful, but it is important to be properly prepared so that you and your loved ones can get off of the ship safely. In today’s article, we’ll provide some disembarkation safety tips to keep in mind as you prepare for the end of your next cruise.

At the Flanagan Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Law Firm, we practice in maritime law and helping passengers obtain compensation for injury suffered because of the cruise line’s negligence. If you’ve been injured while on a cruise, contact us right away for a no-cost case evaluation.

5 Tips for Safe Disembarkation

The final day of your cruise can be hectic as you and hundreds or thousands of other people prepare to debark the ship. Lobby areas, decks, stairwells, and lounges transform into crowded waiting rooms as people wait for their scheduled time to get off the ship. To ensure you stay safe during this process, we’ve listed a few tips below.

Be Prepared and Plan Ahead

Depending on what cruise line you’re traveling with, the disembarkation process will vary. Some cruise lines employ a color-coded numbering system while some will divide passengers into zones. Many cruise lines even offer options for express disembarkation. Whatever process your chosen cruise line employs, it is essential to know and understand it ahead of time. To ensure that you know and understand the ship’s policy and process, be sure to check with a crewmember when you check in or in the days leading up to the end of the cruise. Once you know the process, you can begin to pack properly and plan your final day on the ship while avoiding any last-minute confusion.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Unfortunately for some cruise passengers, others with ill intent might find opportunity in the crowded chaos that the disembarking process frequently provides. As with any other public setting, it is important to be aware of your surroundings before you get off the ship. If you have all of your luggage with you, it may be beneficial to somehow secure all the pieces together or to strap them to a chair or bench. If you are traveling with friends or family members, in particular small children and the elderly, it is vital to keep them near you at all times to ensure you don’t get separated. Being aware of your surroundings can help keep you, your fellow passengers, and your belongings safe.

Ask for Help if Necessary

As part of preparing and planning ahead for your disembarkation, consider whether or not you or any of your cruise companions will require any kind of assistance getting off of the ship. Do you have more bags than you can safely carry? Is your companion unable to stay standing for extended periods of time due to a medical issue? Perhaps you require the use of a wheelchair or motorized scooter to safely navigate the ship. Whatever kind of special assistance you or your companions may potentially need, be sure to address these concerns with a crew member early on so that the appropriate accommodations can be made to provide a safe means for you exiting the ship. If you are using a wheelchair make sure that you request crew assistance disembarking. We have handled several cases where passengers were injured while disembarking in a wheelchair with the assistance of other passengers or family members. Crew members will be experienced in navigating the ramps, gangways and other parts of the disembarkation process with a wheelchair – be sure to obtain their assistance.

Take General Safety Measures

This might seem like common sense, but passengers preparing to get off of a cruise ship should use the same general safety precautions they would in any other crowded setting. Although this can be challenging to do as you’re walking down the stairs or the gangway at the same time as several other people, it’s important to remember to use the handrails when they’re provided, watch where you’re walking, and move slowly and intentionally. Taking these simple general safety precautions can help you prevent things such as slips, falls, trips, and other events that could result in injury.

Have Patience

Finally, it is essential to have patience throughout the process of debarking from the ship. It can be very easy to get frustrated, impatient, and/or short tempered as you wait with several hundred or even a thousand other passengers who might be short on patience themselves. Maintaining a cool head and calm demeanor will help make the process less irksome for you and your companions. Additionally, it is wise to make sure that you’re alert and patient as you wait to hear your color, number, or zone called to disembark so that you don’t miss any vital announcements from crewmembers.

Miami Maritime Law Attorney

For some passengers, simply employing all of these strategies may not be enough to prevent injury due to a cruise line’s negligence. In our next blog, we’ll review some of the unfortunate experiences that passengers have had while either on a cruise or waiting to debark from the ship. If you’ve recently suffered an injury while on a cruise, it is vital that you contact a maritime law attorney as soon as possible. Variable statutes of limitation could impact the amount of time that you have to take action against the liable crew member or cruise line.

To learn more and to request your case evaluation from Michael T. Flanagan, Esq., call us at 1-888-216-8699 today!


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