Take a look at the plethora of emergency procedures, structural rules and floating devices, and it's clear that most cruise ships have the safety of passengers as their first priority.
However, there is one thing most cruise lines seem to overlook consistently: hazard warnings on their decks to indicate that sun-baked decks can reach scorching temperatures and pose a risk for bare-footed passengers.
According to the New York Post, it happened to American grandfather, Jeffrey Mizel, back in July 2014. He scalded his feet on the surface of a cruise ship deck and is now filing a lawsuit against the cruise line for US$6 million (approx AUD$7.9m).
Mizel, 66, suffers from neuropathy-induced nerve damage to his feet, meaning he had no idea how hot the deck was when he stepped on it.
When the European cruise ship he was travelling on docked in Greece, Mizel – who was using a golf cart to get around – parked near the pool and walked about three metres to the water.
“Then my wife and our friend came, and they came in the pool with me and said, ‘Man, wasn’t that hot?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know,' and I looked at my feet... From toe to heel, the skin was just hanging off,” Mizel said.
Read more: How to stay safe on a cruise
In the three years following his injury, Mizel suffered a number of dangerous infections and expensive hospitalisations. Doctors eventually had to amputate his big toe due to the number of infections that arose from the burns. They even considered completely amputating the lower part of his leg.
Mizel travelled around Europe with his wife three years ago on the Celebrity Silhouette ship. He is now accusing the cruise line of failing to warn passengers of the unbearable heat on the ship’s deck.
“There was no way to think it would be that hot." he said. "As a matter of fact, I took off a pair of shoes and left them in the cart to go to the pool. If they had just given a hint that it was that hot…”
The extent of his injuries prompted the cruise line to offer to fly him to shore, but Mizel stayed on board to avoid spoiling the holiday for his wife.
Passengers are seemingly unaware of the dangerously high temperatures that decks can reach after baking in the sun all day. It’s important to wear shoes everywhere for general safety, but most importantly on sun-exposed areas of cruise ships – even near pool areas where shoes are not thought of as a necessity.