Spotlight on Cruise Ships: Top Trends & Slip and Fall Safety

In 2018 it is expected that 27.2 million people will board cruise ships to take a vacation, up from 25.8 million in 2017, according to a recent report by Cruise Line International Association. Moreover, Cruise Line International Association also states that cruise lines employed over 1,021,681 full-time employees in 2016 alone. With all the interest in the cruise industry, it is no wonder that in 2018 even more new ships are coming to sail to give those looking to take to a cruise that many more options for travel destinations, fun, and features. From building the safest ships ever sailed thanks to rules, regulations and technological innovations that govern design to dry docking many of the old ships this year for upgrades and to make them new again, incredible ship safety and staying on trend are top reasons cruising is such a desirable way to use your vacation days.

Just like anything, in order to stay relevant the cruise industry has to keep evolving. As ideas and technology continue to unfold, so do new trends in the industry. Offering different and innovative features and vacation destinations keep regulars coming back and draw in a whole new group of vacationers that are first timers to a cruise vacation. These are three of the top trends in cruising that we have been researching for 2018.

  1. Renovations & Remodels. Just like the hotel industry is seeing a large uptick in renovations and remodels to keep things fresh, so is the cruise industry. It makes sense when you consider the cost and time of building a brand new cruise ship (hint: it costs billions) compared to extending the life of an older ship by dry docking the ship and doing a major overhaul. For example, Holland America has invested $350 million to upgrade entertainment, accommodations and dining fleetwide through 2018, while the “Norwegian Edge” program, a $400 million undertaking, focuses on raising the quality of dining, cabins and public areas across Norwegian’s fleet. Royal Caribbean boasts on their website that they are improving their customer’s favorite ships with first-of-their-kind slides and rides for the boldest thrill seekers. And thanks to strict maritime safety requirements, you can also bet these renovations will offer a more secure time at sea. From updating emergency exit signs, to replacing non-slip flooring and grip tape, and even adding video monitoring throughout the ships public quarters in some cases.
  2. Skip-Gen Cruising. Grandparents, this one is calling your name! The Cruise Lines International Association, which represents most of the world’s major cruise brands, noticed an uptick in this new phenomenon: “skip-gen” cruising. Often times now leaving children’s parents at home, grandparents are cruising with their grandkids alone. Since most cruises provide a range of children’s programming, grandparents aren’t babysitting all day. And while also offering activities, excursions, meals and shows that all ages can enjoy together, cruising is a great option for grandparents who want a little quality time with their grandchildren.
  3. Technology. Technology is truly transforming cruise ships this year and beyond. In fact, Luca Pronzati, chief business innovation officer at MSC Cruises, describing the line’s new generation of ships as “like smart, connected cities, but with the added complexity of being at sea”. A few of our favorite top technology advancements for cruise ships include:
    • Radio frequency technology: Forget carrying your cruise identification card and room key around on that lanyard anymore! Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival now offer wearable wristbands that use radio frequency technology to do everything from order food, buy gifts, check in, and even open your cabin door.
    • Intelligent Navigation: If the size of the cruise ship scares you, fear no more. Interactive maps are easier and faster than you think. For example, The Ocean Medallion offers intelligent navigation, similar to a car or phone GPS app, and Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) offer interactive digital signage on board.

In line with top trends, is continually improving safety while on board. Cruise ships today are the safest that have ever sailed, thanks to the rules, regulations, and technological innovations that govern their design and because of it, the cruise industry has expanded greatly in recent years, with a 20.5% increase in demand over the last five years alone. However, the statistic still stands that wet surfaces make up 55% of all slip, trips, and falls in the hospitality industry and it is inevitable that cruise ships will be wet. With sleek surfaces and the continuous wave motions, proper precautions must be taken by the cruise lines and ship goers alike. We have compiled a list of the top areas slip and fall accidents commonly occur on the cruise ship and what can be done to prevent them and protect those aboard.

Top Areas for Slip and Fall Protection on Cruise Ships:

  1. Dining Quarters: Dining employees and patrons alike should be cautious when walking around these spaces. Common offenders include; spills from drinks, tripping over a chair not pushed in, or kitchen falls due to grease or liquid spills. What can be done?
    • Wear proper footwear in these areas, preferably shoes with traction.
    • Cruise line management should make sure ramps have grip tape and handrails.
    • Step down areas should have proper signage and anti-slip stair treads.
    • Employees should keep the dining area tidy to prevent people from tripping over furniture.
    • Utilize non-slip tape or a non-slip floor coating in the kitchen quarters where all food prep takes place.
    • Make sure wet location exit signs are in a place where needed.
  2. Bathrooms: Showers, tubs, sinks, and toilets all bring water and where there is water it is highly probable a slip can happen. Since cruise ship bathrooms are generally smaller than average land bathrooms, these tight spaces can easily become a danger zone. What can be done?
    • Cruise line management should make sure bathtubs and showers have handrails.
    • Put grip tape around the toilet and sink area.
    • Bathtubs and showers should be equipped with bathtub mats or non-slip adhesive.
    • Step down areas should have proper signage and anti-slip stair treads.
    • If you choose to decorate the space with rugs, make sure they are secured to the floor to prevent tripping.
  3. Spotlight-smallOutside Areas: Besides being open to the elements of mother nature, you need to be aware of the pool deck and areas where water sports are taking place. The boat deck can be a fun place to hang out, but requires common sense and an understanding of your area. To minimize and prevent slips and falls cruise line ships also take certain measures to protect those guests who might not be aware of the potential dangers. What can be done?
    • Utilizing non-skid, peel-and-stick tape on all exterior areas of the ships that passengers or workers utilize is imperative.
    • Pay special attention to coat ramps with grip tape and stairs with proper anti-slip stair treads.
    • Ensure proper signage is easily visible warning people of areas that regularly get wet.
    • It is recommended to make sure proper lighting is put in place outside.
    • Ensure guardrails and handrails and placed throughout the exterior of the boat.

As mentioned, it’s not just vacationers that the cruise line needs to worry about protecting. Crew member safety is a top priority and for good reason. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), at least 43% of reported maritime injuries are a result of slip and fall accidents. The majority of these slip and fall accidents while aboard a cruise ship could have easily been prevented by implementing proper safety measures, offering better training, and improving equipment maintenance. Since many cruise lines fly different flags, it can be confusing to understand the differences between each country’s laws and what the cruise company’s requirements are, including regulatory maritime and cruise ship laws. If you are part of the cruise ship crew, be sure to participate in the safety meetings before and during your time at sea. And remember, it never hurts to have a pair of slip resistant shoes on your feet for those unseen spills or wet areas.

Cruising continually offers experiences unlike any other vacation, allowing you to experience the world as you choose. Cruise lines are in the business to impress the customer; from technology to leisure activities and yes, even safety options. These are just a sampling of many new trends and slip and fall safety recommendations for cruise lines. Expect to see more innovative options being announced since that the holidays are just around the corner. Cruising truly offers a world of opportunity.

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