Legal Issues on Cruise Ships

Going on a cruise ship should be a stress-free experience, but unfortunately sometimes cruise ship holidays go wrong. In this article, we will discuss the different sorts of legal issues which may arise out of accidents on a cruise ship.

Different Situations

 First, we will provide you with different problems you may encounter on your cruise ship holiday. We also have a list of successful case studies you can refer to.

Food and Safety

Food poisoning can occur anywhere – even on a specially catered cruise ship. Food poisoning can significantly impact upon the enjoyability of your trip and even lead to long term health conditions in serious cases.

Equipment Related Accidents

 We have acted in cases where parts of the ship have malfunctioned, and people have been injured because of that. An equipment related accident may involve a part of the ship interior loosening and injuring someone, but it may also involve someone slipping or falling because of poor design and engineering.

We have acted for passengers who have tripped over height differentials on the floor, fallen through gaps in their bunk bed or tripped down stairs.


Staff may not mean to, but they could do something that can injure a passenger or result in an accident. For example they may mop floors and forget to leave a wet warning sign, causing a passenger to slip and injure themselves.

What to Do?

 There are several things to do in these situations:

Obtain Legal Advice

The first thing you should do is obtain legal advice. This needs to be done as soon as possible, as some claims have short time limits. Your lawyers will assess your situation and discuss further steps that need to be taken.

These further steps will depend on your individual situation, but they do have some things in common:

Collect Evidence

No matter your situation, it is best to collect evidence whilst onboard. This may include photographing where you were injured and collecting relevant doctor’s certificates. If further evidence is needed for a compensation claim, your lawyer may collect it. However as cruise ships by their nature move around the world, they can be difficult to access which is why photographic evidence is important. During the claim process your lawyers may request that the area where the injury occurred be examined. It may not adhere to relevant safety guidelines, or it may be negligently designed. Either way, to prove liability, evidence will be needed.


 Hiring a lawyer does not always mean that your issue will go to court. Very few cases go to trial. It is more likely that your case will be settled by the cruise line’s insurer during the claim process.

Need more information? Contact Us

A cruise ship holiday should leave you with a relaxing and pleasant memory, but this isn’t always the case. For more information, or on whether we at Stacks Goudkamp can help you with any legal issues, please call 1800 251 800 or visit our contact page.

Written by Victoria Roy.

Victoria Roy is Practice Group Leader of the Travel Law Group at Stacks Goudkamp. She is a dual qualified (England and Wales/NSW) personal injury solicitor.