Drownings and Other Deaths on Ships

Do deaths on ships deter you from traveling with a particular cruise line? Periodically you hear stories about drownings, people falling off balconies, and people falling down stairs causing death or serious injury. I take these with a grain of salt and they don't deter me from cruising. However, one story I heard (on a ship I am going on shortly) really gave me pause and got me thinking about cruising, parenting, and looking out for your fellow cruisers.


Some may have heard that this week a child (4 years old from what I heard) drowned on the NCL Breakaway. The boy and his brother were rescued from the adult pool (yes, that is a different can of worms). The brother (6 years old) was airlifted to the nearest hospital and as far as I know is recovering. The younger passed away on the ship. 


Blame is all over the place. Many are blaming the cruise line for not having lifeguards (they should), most are blaming the parents/guardians for not watching them closely enough (they should), and some are placing the blame on staff that do not enforce rules on the ship (they should). Accidents happen and from the circumstances I read on the NCL facebook page, no one was being negligent or anything. Rather than blame anyone specifically, cruisers and cruise companies should all look at what we can do to prevent such a thing from happening again. 


I implore anyone traveling with children to be sure to watch your children very very VERY carefully. Also, know the signs of drowning and learn at least some basic CPR. See this article for a related article. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/family/2013/06/rescuing_drowning_children_how_to_know_when_someone_is_in_trouble_in_the.html


Anyone not traveling with children, please keep an eye out for other people's children (not your job, I know) and don't be afraid to speak up. If you see a kid doing something dangerous, tell a staff member. If you see a couple of kids unattended in a pool, tell a staff member. And of course if you see someone drowning, tell a staff member! 


Accidents do happen, even to the most vigilant of parents and even when life guards are on site. Please be careful and let's all look out for each other!

Tags: drowning

11 Answers

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));
Post by Norwegian Cruise Line.

The facebook post... hope the link works.

Not cold hearted but...

Reading stories or hearing news reports about such sad news does not stop me from wanting to cruise. The sad truth is children drown in bathtubs, home pools, apartment pools and community pools. (Community pools have life guards) Grown folks get drunk on land and die doing stupid stuff all the time.

Life happens on or off the ship... time to take responsibility for ourselves and love ones.

I was on that ship, and that particular voyage. I just got home. First of all, cruise ships SHOULD NOT HAVE LIFEGUARDS!!!!!!!!! They would open themselves to dozens of liability issues. Second, and I've said this before, when people take a vacation with children, they often take a vacation FROM their children. I saw two children running around the Sponge Bob pool earlier that morning, unsupervised ( I don't know if these are the same children) , one fell into the pool up to his knees. Now, even while the children were being attended to, there was no frantic adult around carrying on about her children! WHERE WERE THE GUARDIANS???????? STILL NOT AROUND !!!!!!!! This was another tragedy that could have been avoided. It only takes seconds. It's not someone else's job to watch YOUR kids !!!!!!

I just saw a picture of the younger of the two (the one that passed), and I do believe it is one of the two that were running around early that morning. I was walking the decks taking photos, and saw the two boys running around the Sponge Bob pool area, totally, unsupervised. This was around, 8:00am maybe. We were in the spa when the Marine helicopter came to airlift the injured boy, his grandmother, and the ships nurse out.

Tragic, just tragic.

More on lifeguards:

if cruise ships posted lifeguards, they are in a way, saying, WE will watch out for your children. Now, suppose a child drowns while no lifeguard is on duty ? Will some of you complain that they should be on duty 24 hours a day ? How about, no lifeguard, no pool opening ? Do you think people will stay out of the pool just because no lifeguard is on duty ? Or will that time be swim at your own risk ?

This was in NO WAY, NCL's fault. Oh I'm sure some attorney will say it was. Just like the cruise ship is at fault when some drunken idiot falls over the balcony of their cabin. Coming soon to a cruise ship near you, balconies with floor to ceiling glass. Enjoy the view.

As a Grandfather, I offer my deepest condolences to the family. As far as lifeguards and supervision for children on ships? I feel that more adults need to be supervised. I have seen children behave older than their years, and at the same time adults acting like complete idiots.

Should the Cruise lines be prepared for that? Sure, they must adapt to the fluidity of all situations.

Are the Lines responsible? Maybe not legally, but good will in many cases will go futher with the public than law suits.

There is a great deal for concern about the Laws being violated by the cruise lines and the coprorations that run them. some warranted, some not. It will be interesting to follow up on this and other cases,

Thanks for adding to the discussion! Unfortunately, I have seen MANY unruly children on cruise ships. Perhaps instead of lifeguards there should be more staff on deck policing behavior (sad that it has to come to that). I can't tell you how many times on previous cruises I have been in the adult pool or adult hot tub with children. Why are these children there? Are they being watched by adults? If so, why are these adults disregarding the rules and the comfort of other passengers? Why isn't the staff saying anything? Why do parents let their children run around the pool deck and bump into other passengers or possibly slip and crack their heads open? These parents should not be bringing their kids on vacations if they cannot behave properly! I NEVER would have behaved like that as a kid or my mother would have banished me to my cabin (and she did it once when we were in Aruba because I missed my curfew at age 15!).

BAK61, I am so sorry that this happened during your cruise. What a sad sad thing. I don't think I couldn have enjoyed the rest of the trip if that happened while I was on board :-(

You wanna know what happened after the ship got back under way ? It was discussed a bit throughout the rest of the day, mostly out of curiosity for the correct info, but food was consumed, shows went on, and everyone had a great time for the rest of the week.

Just like any other city......

Children are always running around unsupervised. There is an aura of safety on a ship. Events like this, and attacks on women, show that cruise ships, like anyplace else, can be dangerous. Given the circumstances.


*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency, and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners (travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on external web sites.

Back to Top