People imagine that working on a cruise ship is filled with fun, entertainment and exhilarating world travel. When job-seekers sign contracts to work on these vessels they are suddenly thrown into a much harsher reality. Many cruise ships push their crewmembers to the limit with hard labor and long hours. Some employees are brought to the point of exhaustion and injury.
Long hours and little time off are notorious at sea
Cruise ships need a massive amount of workers to run such large vessels. They need galley workers, cabin attendants, servers, deckhands, engine staff, entertainment staff, sports and fitness workers and so much more. Management push workers as hard as they can, demanding at least 10 to 12 hours a day, every day of the week.
In international waters cruise liners do not need to comply with U.S. labor laws and therefore can expect long hours legally from their staff. This is the same for all types of sea vessels on the water. Although cruise liners are expected to follow guidelines from the International Maritime Organization and the recommendations in the Safety of Life at Sea, most ships are virtually unregulated. Sometimes crew members are pressured into working "off the clock" to get their tasks done. While some employers are better than others, a few cruise liners push their workers to the point of exhaustion and injury.
Crewmembers can suffer both mental and physical injuries
Constant mental and physical exhaustion from working too hard can have negative effects on the minds and bodies of workers. Workers can develop mental health problems, which might be the cause of reoccurring crewmember suicides.
Long hours of manual labor can also cause physical trauma. Some workers develop cumulative injuries from years of working on cruise liners. This means that workers can develop back injuries, arthritis, and tendonitis over several years of laborious work. Other times crew members become so exhausted that it makes them prone to injury. Workers can get slip and fall injuries, burns, exposure to illness, and much more.
Workers can still get compensation, even if they are denied at first
Employers are responsible for keeping their workers safe. If an employer is pushing their workers to do unfair labor, which results in injury, then they can be held liable. If a worker in injured while on the clock then they can receive workers' compensation. Some employees will receive far too little for their injuries. Other employees are rejected all together because they are labeled as contract workers.
Anyone injured while working on a cruise ship can still receive the compensation that they deserve with the help of an attorney. Injured workers must give their employer a notice of a claim within six months of their accident. Crewmembers should always find an attorney experienced in maritime law, because their case will rely on the attorney's knowledge of maritime rules and the Jones Act.