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15 Shocking Facts About Cruise Ship Vacations

15 Shocking Facts About Cruise Ship Vacations


Most people love to take cruise vacations. They love every minute of it and they look forward to their next trip with plenty of excitement. Why shouldn’t they? There’s always great stuff going on activity wise, great music and great food. That doesn’t even take into consideration the breathtaking views you’ll see out on the open water or the great ports and cities that you’ll stop at along the way. However, all isn’t diamonds and gold on the high seas.

Many people either don’t realize all of the bad things that can happen along the way, or they just don’t care. Maybe some people already know about them but the enjoyment they will have is worth the risk. There are plenty of fun and exciting things to do in life that have risks attached to them, and cruise ships are no different.

There are plenty of things that can go wrong; like for instance, your ship could catch on fire. It happens more than you think. Or maybe you just won’t make it home. That happens a lot more than you might think as well. If you are planning a trip in the near future, enjoy yourself and have a great time. Just keep an eye out for the things you will read about here. It’s better to be prepared than caught with your trunks down out on the open water.

15. Once you’re on board, you’re on board


February 10th of 2013 was a day that cruise ship passengers remember as a truly crappy day. A fire that took place on a Carnival ship cut off all power to the vessel. Passengers were stranded in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico with nowhere to go.

Things got even worse when the raw sewage started to back up right there on the ship. It went all over the place and passengers were forced to set up tents on the other side of the ship so they could stay away from the hazardous areas. The smell was horrendous and there was nowhere to go to get away from it.

14. Guests leave the shore but don’t return


Whenever you step foot on that giant cruise ship for that dream vacation, keep this in mind; there is no guarantee that you’ll come home. In the time between 2000 and 2013, more than two hundred passengers mysterious vanished from cruise ships. Vanished as in without a trace. In 2012 there were twenty-three of these disappearances alone.

Ninety-four of these incidents have taken place on Carnival Cruise ships and thirty-nine of them have been on Royal Caribbean ships. So when you are planning your dream vacation on a giant ship, take the necessary precautions and pay attention to the line that you choose.

13. Every move you make is watched


This makes the fact that so many people vanish without a trace a little hard to understand. There are cameras at almost every turn on these giant ships and there isn’t much that they don’t catch. Then again, maybe there is.

The reason for this is the companies use the information they see to determine where people are going, the direction they take, and which activities are the most popular. It seems like a good idea but then how do so many people just vanish into thin air? Keep these things in mind the next time you step foot on a giant cruise ship for your vacation of a lifetime.

12. You don’t know your Captain’s morals or work ethics


In early 2012 the Costa Concordia was three hours into its trip when it struck some rocks, severely damaging the boat. It quickly became the worst maritime disaster in Italy’s history since World War II.

The ship sank into the ocean, killing dozens of crew and passengers. The Captain, Francesco Schettino, got out just fine though, as he fled the ship after the accident. You just don’t know anything about the person that is in charge of the ship you are on or what kind of person they are. Are they concerned with your safety, or in an emergency will they only worry about themselves? It’s something to think about.

11. Plenty of ships catch on fire


Between the years of 1990 and 2011 there have been seventy-nine fires on cruise ships. Since 2006 the number of fires on cruise ships has actually doubled. Obviously being out in the middle of an ocean is not where you want to be when facing a fire. It’s a good idea to have a good escape plan in place when you get on a ship, but the problem is that there just isn’t anywhere to go. Eventually you’re going to run out of ship when trying to get away from flames.

After a fire, if the ship is disabled, it could take several days for help to arrive and for the ship to be towed back to a port.

10. You have to keep a close eye on friends and family


In March of 1998 Amy Lynn Bradley mysteriously vanished from a Royal Caribbean ship, Rhapsody of the Seas, off the coast of Curacao. The twenty-three-year-old was never seen again. There have been a few television shows done on her and a few “sightings” over the years, but she has never been found.

A couple of the “sightings” have seemed legit but still she has never been found. There has recently been some new video released in her case and family and authorities are hopeful that they can still find her. It’s a good idea to always keep a close eye on your loved ones.

9. Kids and elders are considered worthless


In 1920 the Death on the High Seas Act was created. It was done to recovery the body of a sailor who died at sea for his wife. Today it’s used by spouses to get money for a spouse that might die on a cruise ship. It’s not an easy thing to get and it’s usually far less than what it should be since it doesn’t cover pain, suffering, grief, or bereavement.

The act does not cover children or retired adults though. So if a child or a senior citizen suffers a death due to negligence by the company, there is nothing that can be gained by a distraught family.

8. There’s a ghost ship floating around somewhere


The MV Lyubov Orlova was built in 1976. It was used for nearly thirty years before it was retired and sold for parts. While it was being towed it broke free near Newfoundland. In 2013 Transport Canada finally caught up to it and took control of it. However, once they got into international waters they cut it loose because they deemed it no longer a threat.

Thirty days later it was spotted nearly 1,000 miles from Ireland’s shoreline. Everyone thought it was going to eventually run aground there but it never did. As a matter of fact it has never been seen again. There have been a few unexplained distress signals sent from the ship over the years but that’s about it. I think that’s enough to be aware, isn’t it?

7. Pirates are not fictional people


For countless years there have been fictional stories about pirates. They wear headbands, bandanas and sometimes have hooks for hands. However, there are real pirates that travel the open seas that are looking to do no good. They don’t look anything like the fictional characters and they are actually much worse.

In 2009 pirates attacked around two hundred ships and made off with nearly $34 million in stolen goods. You can see that it is a very lucrative business for those that get away with it so it’s something to keep in mind when out on the high seas.

Cruise lines take many precautions to avoid this happening to their ships but you can see by the numbers that it obviously still happens quite often.

6. Fog is a boat killer


There are a lot of things that can happen out on the open seas. Vessels use radar to detect when storms are going to cross their paths and for the most part they are pretty good at avoiding them. After all, passengers who can’t go outside are not very happy passengers on a cruise ship.

Fog however, is harder to detect ahead of time and it’s one of the worst situations a vessel can find itself in. When visibility is cut down to near nothing accidents are certain to happen. In early 2012 that’s exactly what happened off the coast of Vietnam. Passengers were awoken in the middle of the night by a foghorn alarm and awoke just in time to see their cruise ship crash into a container ship.

5. In 2013 a Carnival cruise ship failed a CDC Inspection


Yes that’s true, the Centers for Disease Control actually failed one of Carnival’s ships in 2013. It wasn’t just because of one thing either. The complete list of why is as follows: “Lack of chlorination for the ship’s water park, salad bar foods that were unprotected by ‘sneeze shields’, lack of lighting for cleaning areas involving food, a large fly near raw hamburger-patties, a leaking dried food waste compartment and a roach nymph (baby cockroach) in the deck drain of the room service juice dispenser.”

If you have ever wondered why so many people get sick on these dream vacations, now you know.

4. Criminals have free reign


If you think you are going to be safe on that cruise ship you are getting on shortly, think again. The numbers you are about to read should scare you pretty good. Of all murders that have taken place on a cruise ship, only 16% have ever been solved. To take it one step further, only 7% of reported sexual assaults have ever been solved.

Cruises take place in international waters and the laws that govern them are very lax. This and the fact that no cruise line wants to take responsibility for anything bad that happens on their ships, leads to these alarmingly low numbers.

3. Cruise liners avoid US rules by registering elsewhere


The United States has some of the most strict safety rules in the world, across the board. That includes just about anything available. That’s a very good thing for us. That is, until companies start to find ways around it. Most cruise lines skip around the United States rules for safety by registering their ships in other countries. It’s been being done for quite a while now and it puts everybody’s lives in danger.

Panama and Liberia are two of the most popular places to register these ships because they are so lax on their rules. This allows them to take advantage of cheap, or sometimes even free labor, less strict pollution laws and a host of other safety rules that they don’t have to abide by.

2. Cruises aren’t for dieters


If you are watching your weight you’d better not get on a cruise ship for a nice vacation. That is unless you are ready to take a vacation from your diet. Reports say that the average cruise ship passenger gains one pound for each day on a ship, during a seven to ten day cruise. It can be very disheartening if you are on a diet and come home actually weighing ten pounds more than when you left.

They entice you with great looking food and it’s not like you have a lot of options to choose from. There aren’t many restaurants out there on the open seas.

1. Norovirus is common


Norovirus is caused in most cases by food poisoning. This virus is very common on cruise ships and is highly contagious when it happens. If you are unlucky enough to get it you can expect vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

In April of 2014, 129 people got sick on a Crown Princess cruise and then later on in that same year, in October, on the exact same ship, 172 more people were infected. This is more than likely due to the lax rules, due to ships registering in countries other than the United States. This has got to be a horrendous way to spend several days at home, let alone on a cruise ship.


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