Cruise Compensation Claims

An accident can happen anywhere; on the road, at work and on holiday.  Cruise ship holidays are becoming more popular with thousands setting sail every year; but when an accident happens on a cruise ship, it can not only ruin your holiday but could also lead to life-changing consequences.  With our Southampton office based so close to one of the largest ports in the UK, we have experience of helping holidaymakers claim after an accident on a cruise when it was not their fault.

The crew, cruise carrier and the tour operator all have a duty of care in respect of your safety on board.  If they fail in their responsibility and this failure leads to an avoidable accident you could make a claim for compensation under the Athens Convention.  This was introduced to combat the issue of jurisdiction if a person has an accident on a cruise ship as it passes through several different countries. 

If you have had an accident that was during the course of the cruise and it was caused due to fault or neglect of the carrier, then you may be able to claim compensation.  Here, we review the types of accidents that can happen at sea, and explain how we can help you once you return home.

What accidents can I claim for on a cruise ship?

We can assist you if you have been injured following a trip, slip or fall, or there has been a hazard such as a falling object or a defective piece of machinery on your cruise liner.  If your injury is caused following a more serious incident such as the ship being grounded, capsizing or colliding, it is likely you will not need to provide proof of fault as strict liability should apply.

It is possible to also claim if you have had an accident while on an excursion, however as this may not necessarily be covered by the Athens Convention it could be a more complex process.  If you are unsure as to who may be responsible for your accident as it occurred on an excursion, then do contact us and we can discuss this with you in more detail.

What should I do following an accident on a cruise ship?

It will be your responsibility to gather as much evidence as possible to show that it was the cruise liner who was at fault, and that their negligence caused your accident.  In order to assist your claim, we would advise that you:

  • Take a photo of the area where you had you accident or the object that caused it, being sure to capture the height of any discrepancy, and the lack of any warning signs.  It may be that there are witnesses nearby who saw, or were recording, the events.  They can provide you with valuable evidence as well as a statement.
  • Report the accident to the ship’s Doctor and senior officers on board.  The accident will need to be recorded, and you or a member of your travel party should make a note of the names of those who are treating you.
  • Keep a record yourself of the diagnosis, any medical treatment you are given on board, and any prescriptions.  Depending on the severity of the accident and your injuries, you may be required to be taken to hospital from the cruise ship.  If you are not and you are treated on board, ensure you visit your own GP when you return to the UK so that the accident is in your medical notes.  You may wish to phone your GP from the ship and book an appointment for your return.
  • Keep a record and receipts of any costs you are faced with due to the accident both on board and upon your return, such as travel costs, medical treatments or prescriptions, the cost of physiotherapy or rehabilitation, loss of earnings and the cost of making any changes to your home to accommodate you and your care.

As you are on holiday, it is likely the cruise will offer you some form of gift while you are still on board; maybe an upgrade to make your stay more comfortable or a voucher for on-board spending.  While it may be tempting to take these, you should be wary that they may make you ineligible to make a future claim if you are required to sign a document forfeiting your right to bring a personal injury claim.

How do I make a claim following a cruise ship accident?

By coming to us, you can rest assured that we have the experience and knowledge to advise you as to the success of your claim and we can connect you with our trusted network of other professionals, such as medical experts and rehabilitation specialists.

When you come to us, we will have an initial conversation with you to discuss the events that led to your accident, your injuries and how it has impacted your day to day life.  If we believe you have a claim, we will write to the tour operator or cruise carrier informing them of our intention to bring a claim, and will present them with the evidence.  If they then accept liability, we will negotiate a settlement for you.  If this cannot be reached, or they do not accept liability, then your claim could proceed to Court; however we would be with you every step of the way to ensure you do not experience any further burden or anxiety than you already have.

When should I make a claim following an accident on a cruise ship?

There are time limits that apply after any accident; however under the Athens Convention a claim must be brought within two years from the date you disembarked the ship.  We would always recommend however that you seek advice as soon as you can.

What would my compensation include following an accident on a cruise?

Depending on the circumstances of your accident and your subsequent injuries, your compensation would include:

  • General damages, often referred to as payment for you pain, loss and suffering.  This would range from the physical pain, as well as the emotional and mental impact of the accident.  This could also include consideration for anything you have had to give up following your accident, such as a hobby or sporting event.
  • Additional costs, such as medical costs incurred either on the cruise or for treatment afterwards.
  • Loss of earnings if you have not been able to work during your recovery or if you have been forced to give up work completely due to the injuries sustained.


Can I make a claim if I work on a cruise ship?

If you are a crew member and you have an accident on a cruise ship, you are still able to make a claim, however this would be treated as an accident at work claim opposed to a claim under the Athens Convention.

While it is possible to make a claim yourself, the process can be a complicated one, and the cruise operator will have insurance in place to help protect them against such claims.  We have years of experience in helping people like you following an accident and can advise accordingly depending on your own personal situation.  We operate on a no-win no-fee basis, so there will be no costs for you if we are not successful in your claim.  We specialise in a variety of accidents at sea, however, illnesses such as the spread of norovirus or a food-related illness, are not claims we can assist with.

To find out more about making a claim today, you can contact our Personal Injury team on 0800 91 92 30 or email  We will provide you with a free review of the nature of your accident before we confirm with you whether we can take on your claim for compensation and help you in building your new life. You can also discover how much compensation you could potentially receive by using our Personal Injury Compensation Calculator.


To speak to one of our experts please call us