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Your guide to cruise ship beauty treatments

Woman getting a beauty treatment on a cruise ship

Cruise ship beauty treatments are often on the ‘must-do’ lists of holidaymakers looking forward to some quality “me-time”. Luxury pampering and indulging yourself go naturally hand in hand on holiday when you want to enjoy those precious moments of relaxation and sheer bliss.

Unfortunately, “spoiling yourself rotten” can spell disaster when something goes wrong with a treatment, which may leave you with life-changing injuries, suffering and pain.

Cruise ship beauty salons offer a range of beauty and relaxation treatments, including massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and hair dressing. Nevertheless, beauty treatments, whether on land or at-sea are still highly skilful procedures, which should only be carried out by professional, experienced therapists.

Passengers can still suffer painful and sometimes severe injuries while receiving a beauty treatment onboard ship, most typically:

  • Burns and damage to the hair or scalp
  • Eye damage
  • Allergic reactions

In some cases, injuries happen because beauty therapists neglect to properly assess the suitability of a specific beauty treatment or fail to carry them out in a reasonably competent manner due to a lack of experience or training.

Your long-awaited cruise ship holiday can be suddenly ruined and you could be left with painful, unsightly scarring. It’s important to be aware of the legal duty of care you are owed by cruise holiday operators.

If you have suffered an injury while receiving a beauty treatment during a cruise ship holiday, you may be considering seeking legal advice with a view to making a claim.

The rules about making a claim are different from a hotel or resort if you suffer a holiday injury or an accident aboard a ship or ferry.

Your Legal Friend has 30 years experience and specialist knowledge in all aspects of international personal injury law. We provide you with all the expert guidance you will need to help you help you succeed in making your claim against a UK tour operator / cruise line.

Likely causes of a cruise ship beauty treatment injury

The beauty industry in the UK is known to be affected by a lack of regulation, which can also extend to beauty treatments offered at a cruise ship spa or salon.

The most likely cause of an injury on board ship can be due to mistakes, which are made by therapists and / or staff  who:

  • Fail to properly assess the suitability of clients for specific beauty treatments
  • Fail to apply treatments in a reasonably competent manner
  • Fail to keep all beauty tools and supplies thoroughly sanitised, presentable, in working order and properly prepared

Poorly trained or unskilled beauty therapists may have problems with:

  • Dangerous chemicals  - contained in beauty products used in particular treatments
  • Heat-based treatments  - mistakes made during application
  • Incorrect use of instruments - involved in some beauty procedures

Chemical solutions used in beauty treatments should only be prepared, handled and applied by skilled and experienced beauty therapists.

Therapists should also be adequately trained to ensure specific treatments are safely carried to an acceptable high standard.

Typical Beauty Salon Injuries

  • Chemical burns - caused by incorrect application of beauty products
  • Scarring to the face - following waxing of the upper lip
  • Burns to skin -  caused by spilled or over-heated hot wax
  • Burns to legs - following use of hot wax
  • Cuts and bleeding  - caused by poor or premature wax removal
  • Severe reactions – caused by eyelash tinting
  • Negligent application - of semi-permanent make up.

Allergic reactions

A patch test is not normally carried out to check for an allergic reaction to treatments, such as body wraps, facials or general beauty treatments.

A patch test should be given if strong chemicals are to be used in a particular treatment.

You should always ask for advice if you are worried about the use of a product. If you know you are allergic to an ingredient you should enquire about the use of an alternative.

An adverse reaction may still occur even if all the procedures have been followed.

A product may still be used even after you have told the therapist that you have an allergy to an ingredient, which causes a severe reaction.

When an injury occurs during a cruise ship beauty treatment

Any passenger who chooses to have a beauty treatment at a cruise ship beauty salon should expect the high standards of customer care.

Lack of adequate regulations in the beauty industry may sometimes mean that health and safety guidelines are not always followed as closely as they should be and the quality of service is not guaranteed.

It can be difficult to establish exactly how and why a mistake happened.

There is often psychological stress and reduced self-confidence as a result of a physical injury affecting appearance.

The law involved in making a cruise ship injury claim is different for an injury, which occurred at a hotel or resort.

The Terms and Conditions contained in your holiday contract, which are supplied by both Tour operators and Cruise lines are bound by regulations set out in the Athens Convention.

The Athens Convention – what you need to know

The  Athens Convention applies to EU member states and has been in force in the UK since 1996.

Seagoing vessels owe a “duty of care” in the carriage of passengers and luggage by sea, and to passengers who are either getting on or off the boat.

The Convention operates in favour of the consumer. The fault is automatically presumed on the part of the carrier unless they can prove otherwise, and is different from claims under the Package Travel Regulations 1992, which require you to prove the carrier was at fault.

A cruise ship accident claim will almost always be in accordance with the Athens Convention and not under Package Holiday Regulations 1992.

You can still make a complaint for a ‘spoilt holiday’, according to Package Holiday Regulations 1992 but this will be a completely separate action.

It is also important to be aware that under the Athens Convention, the Terms and Conditions:

  • Only apply to cruises that start and finish in a UK port
  • Do not apply to domestic cruises around the British Isles and the coast of Scotland.

If your cruise departed from a foreign destination...

You may be able to proceed with a claim under the Package Travel Regulations 1992 but only if:

  • There were no ‘stop-off’ ports of call inbetween
  • Your tour operator is a UK company

Time Limit

A further important difference is the time you have to make a claim from when the accident occurred:

  • 2 years - Athens Convention  
  • 3 years - Package Travel Regulations

Compensation Limit

A limit is imposed on the amount of compensation that can be claimed for personal injury or death.


All sea carriers must have insurance as they have a strict liability for passenger personal injury, fatality or any shipping related incident unless there is evidence to show the incident was caused by:

Natural phenomenon of an “exceptional, inevitable and irresistible character”, or

Wholly caused by a third party.

Making a claim – what you need to know

Building your case and making a claim requires the in-depth knowledge of a specialist solicitor.

Your Legal Friend has 30 years experience and knowledge in all aspects of international personal injury law.

We specialise in helping all those who have suffered from a holiday accident while onboard a cruise ship through no fault of their own and wish to claim compensation against a UK tour operator / cruise line.

We can help you to claim back any additional expenses you have incurred as a result of your accident, such as:

  • Any medical expenses you had to meet whilst on holiday
  • Time taken off work on your return from holiday
  • Missing out on taking part in any holiday activities because of your injury

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way.

  • Specialist team of accident abroad solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • No upfront fees or payments
  • Over 30 years of experience in personal injury compensation

Talk to us today

For an informal, confidential chat with one of our specialist personal injury solicitors... Call us now on 0808 301 7535 (calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.