What Cruise Line Has The Most Accidents

Cruises are one of the most relaxing ways people enjoy taking a vacation. There are so many onboard amenities that it’s hard to be bored or stressed.  

From shore excursions to activities for kids to exciting nightlife, cruises allow everyone in the family to have fun, all while sailing in the middle of the ocean. 

However, amid the allure of cruise vacations, there is an underlying threat or danger that some people cannot ignore. Cruise ship accidents have, on occasion, cast a shadow over this otherwise idyllic form of travel. 

Though relatively rare, these incidents have fueled the fears of some potential travelers, making them hesitant to embark on a cruise. 

In this article, we look at aspects of cruise ship accidents, their causes, and what passengers should be aware of. 

This article also aims to provide a balanced perspective for those considering a cruise vacation.

We also look at the question, ‘What cruise line has the most accidents’ and options for the safest cruise lines.

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If you are considering a vacation on a cruise liner with a strong record in safety, then consider taking a vacation on the Disney Cruise Line, which is well-known for its family-friendly cruises and its commitment to passenger safety. 

Disney Cruise Line has robust security measures and stringent safety protocols, and according to CDC data, Disney Cruise Line scored the highest on CDC inspections, which speaks volumes about their safety regulations.

But let’s look more at the common accidents on cruise lines and which cruise lines have a sketchy safety and accident record in recent years.

What Cruise Line Has The Most Accidents
Cruise ship accidents are rare but should be considered before booking a cruise vacation

How Often Do Cruise Line Accidents Occur?

According to the Maritime Injury Guide, which collects information from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), BBC, U.S. Coast Guard, National Geographic, and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), between 2005 and 2011, there were 100 million passengers on cruise ships.

And since 2005 up until 2023, there have been 448 major cruise ship accidents reported

But really, no international agency gathers this data for reporting cruise ship accident statistics. 

Also, the different cruise lines themselves are not too keen on revealing any negative information about the safety of their vessels.

So, at the end of the day, it’s difficult to know precisely how often accidents occur on cruise lines yearly.

But you came to this article to find out what cruise line has the most accidents, so let’s answer this question with data accessible to everyone.

What Cruise Line has the Most Accidents?

Most people are worried about catastrophic events, such as a collision with an iceberg or an engine fire in the middle of the Atlantic.

But there are many threats on a cruise ship, even if it maintains a regular course and functions during your vacation. 

Some cruise lines have had more accidents, small fires, reports of sexual assault, slip and falls, and other reported injuries from passengers and crew members than others.

cruise ship top view
Onboard fires, as well as slips and falls and other injuries, are some of the more common cruise line accidents 

As stated earlier, between 2005 and 2011, there were 100 million passengers on cruise lines, making it evident that despite any safety concerns, many people still enjoy taking a cruise ship vacation.

But when it comes down to the question of ‘what cruise line has the most accidents’, it’s hard to look past Carnival Cruise Lines.

A study published in 2020 analyzed data obtained from 78 cruise lines that looked at passenger and crew deaths between 2000 and 2019. 

Of the 623 reported deaths, the most passenger deaths occurred on Carnival Cruise Lines (29%), followed by Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines at 12% and 10%, respectively.

Interestingly, Carnival Cruise Lines also led in this statistic regarding crew deaths, but they were tied with Royal Caribbean Cruises. According to other statistics, since 1995, there have been 268 overboard accidents on Carnival Cruise Lines, and since 2013 there have been 64 cases of rape reported.

An article by a well-known cruise ship lawyer Michael Ehline, looked at the 13 worst cruise ship incidents and assaults in history, and Carnival Cruise Line was at the top of this list as probably the least safe cruise line.

Carnival Cruise Line is known for one of the worst cruise line disasters in history in what is known as the Costa Concordia disaster that happened in 2012, where 33 people died, including 27 passengers, after the ship struck a rock formation on the seafloor.

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Common Cruise Line Accidents

Accidents or other emergencies can happen on cruise ships in a few different ways. Below are some of the more common ones that you should always be cautious of if considering a cruise vacation.


Fires rarely happen on cruise ships, but they do occur. One might think the most logical place that fires would start is in kitchens because of the amount of food that has to be cooked for the thousands of passengers and crew members.

However, most fires begin due to electrical wiring issues, engine problems, or generator problems. When a fire has occurred on a cruise ship, there is usually an investigation that follows. However, the passengers may never know more about what happened because the investigation may be conducted in the country where the ship is registered.

Slip And Fall

Cruise ships have slippery decks that can get wet from rain, ocean mist, or spilled drinks and food. The floor can get wet, especially around pool decks where people walk around wet, causing people to slip. 

When drinks have been spilled, or the floor is wet for any other reason, crew members should clean it immediately and place a warning indicating passengers and other crew members must be careful where they step.

Shore Excursions

These are some of the biggest reasons why people take cruises, to begin with. But they often require the participant to put themselves in dangerous situations, such as climbing mountains or waterfalls or swimming in caves.

two cruise ships at sunset
Between 2005 and 2011, 100 million passengers were aboard cruise ships


In early 2020, the novel coronavirus made headlines because it spread particularly fast on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. 

Not much was known about the virus then, and not much was done to contain its spread, leading to more people getting sick.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself?

It is always wise to take out travel insurance for a cruise line or anytime you travel to be safe.

After reading through this article, it’s clear that with some of the risks involved with cruise line accidents, you should contact your insurance provider immediately if you suffer an injury while on a cruise vacation.

cruise ship on the sea
Travel insurance is always recommended, especially on cruise line vacations

Tip: Cruises are usually safe places for tourists, but be aware!

Accidents do occur!

Get travel insurance before starting your journey.

I recommend Visitors Coverage.

What Cruise Line Has The Most Accidents? Wrap Up

The cruise vacation industry continues to flourish despite known accidents and injuries. The truth is that most cruise ship accidents are relatively rare incidents, and most cruise ship vacationers have an enjoyable, relaxing, and memorable experience.

Statistics don’t lie, and 100 million people took cruise vacations in 6 years (2005-2011), which shows that many people are eager to book a cruise vacation.

We have looked at the question of what cruise line has the most accidents. While there are no official statistics from global bodies such as the IMO, from the data available, it is hard to look past Carnival Cruise Lines as probably one of the least safe regarding accidents and other incidents.

But companies like Disney Cruise lines have shown vital safety records and regulations with high ratings. From my experience, Disney Cruise is one to consider if you are looking for a cruise ship vacation experience you won’t soon forget, all while maintaining peace of mind, too!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission for any purchases made through the links. Your trust is important to us, and we ensure that all products or services we recommend meet or exceed our editorial standards.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023

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