What Happens if There Is a Crime on a Cruise Ship?

By Robert Palmer

Cruise ships are a luxurious way to travel and explore the world, but what happens when there is a crime on board? Cruise lines are required by law to investigate any crime that takes place on board and take necessary steps to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. While cruise ships can be relatively safe environments, it’s important for passengers to be aware of the risks that come with traveling at sea.

When a crime occurs on board a ship, the first step is for the cruise line to alert local law enforcement authorities. Depending on where the ship is located, this could mean contacting port police or other agencies. In cases where the ship is in international waters, such as in the Mediterranean Sea or Caribbean Sea, local coast guard units may be called upon to investigate.

Once notified of a crime, law enforcement will investigate and take appropriate action which could include detaining suspects, interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence. The cruise line may also provide additional support to law enforcement during their investigation. Some cruise lines may even have their own investigators who specialize in maritime crimes.

If criminal charges are filed against someone aboard a cruise ship, they could face legal proceedings in federal court or in the country where they disembarked from. Depending on where jurisdiction lies, penalties for crimes committed at sea can range from fines to jail time.

Cruise Lines Must Take Precautions

Cruise lines must take proactive steps to protect their passengers from criminal activity on board. This includes having adequate security personnel onboard as well as implementing policies that help prevent criminal activity from occurring in the first place.

Cruise lines should also have an effective response plan should a crime occur onboard.

Passengers Should Be Aware of Potential Risks

Passengers should always be mindful of potential risks while traveling on a cruise ship. They should avoid leaving valuables unattended in public areas and always keep their belongings secure when not in use. It’s also important for passengers to stay alert and report any suspicious behavior they observe.


In conclusion, if a crime occurs onboard a cruise ship it is important that both the cruise line and passengers take precautions and are aware of potential risks while traveling at sea. The cruise line must notify local authorities immediately and cooperate with them during their investigation while passengers should remain vigilant about their surroundings and report any suspicious behavior they observe.