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|Halacha - Starting a Cruise on Erev Shabbos|
|Submitted by Yisroel Phillips Answered by Rav Peretz Moncharsh|
|Question: Is one permitted to start a transatlantic cruise (in May) on the Cunard Liner, Queen Mary 2, that leaves on Friday? I have learned that the Shulchan Aruch in Orach Chaim Siman 248 forbids one to embark on a ship within 3 days before Shabbos. Does that apply to modern ocean going liners?
Enjoy your vacation.
Mishna Berura explains a number of reasons for not departing on a ship from Wednesday on. One reason is that it would be putting the person in a situation of having to be mechalel Shabbos during situations of sakana that are likely to arise, this presumably would not apply under your situation since ocean travel today is much safer and the non-Jewish crew can deal with any circumstances that arise without the assistance of the passengers. The issue of the non-Jewish crew being expected is also not an issue, since presumably the majority of the passengers are not Jewish and they crew is running the ship for them. One need not suspect that crew members are Jewish, since the vast majority of seamen are not. The final concern, and according to Shulchan Aruch the primary one, is that sea-sickness will ruin the passengers' oneg Shabbos. However, I presume that modern, luxury ocean liners do not cause significant sea sickness and would be similar to departing on a riverboat which is permitted.