Things are highly unlikely to go wrong with threat to life on board a cruise ship. But, very occasionally, something bad can unexpectedly happen. One of the most common natural events that are hard to reliably predict are rogue waves. One hit the Louis Majesty off the coast of France in 2010, for example, killing two passengers and injuring 14. Another potentially deadly force of nature is storms, of course, like Hurricane Mitch which destroyed Windjammer Cruises’ Fantome in October 1998, killing all 31 crew on board. The passengers had already disembarked ahead of the storm, but the crew tried unsuccessfully to sail the vessel out of the storm’s path.
Mechanical problems on cruise ships occasionally occur, causing fires that are usually quickly contained. A fire on the M.S. Nordlys operated by Norway’s Hurtigruten line killed two passengers in 2011. Collisions with other ships or with rocks, reefs and icebergs are the fourth big danger, one of the most serious being in 1992 when a Greek cruise vessel hit a fishing trawler, resulting in the deaths of more than 30 passengers.
[pictured: Track of Hurricane Mitch, 1998, red showing the storm at its most intense]