Monthly Archives: August 2017

Proudly Representing Cruise Ship Cases in Miami, Nearby Areas of Florida and Nationwide

Recently a person who had traveled on a Celebrity Cruises ship to New Zealand wrote into Mercury News, asking if Celebrity is responsible for paying therapy expenses. The traveler said that she had been injured on a cruise company sponsored whitewater rafting excursion which included a drop down a 20+ foot waterfall.

According to the letter, the passenger and two others were ejected from the vessel while going over the waterfall, resulting in the passenger suffering a broken hand bone. The cruise company reportedly agreed to pay for an x-ray, which was performed by the ship’s onboard doctor, taking responsibility for the incident. But despite covering the x-ray treatments, Celebrity reportedly refused to pay the $653 the traveler was billed after 15 sessions of therapy on the healing bone.

With tens of millions of people taking cruises every year, and millions of them also taking cruise line sponsored excursions, injuries are relatively common. What is not common, though, is for cruise companies to proactively admit that such injuries are the fault of the company.

In the answer to the traveler’s question, the Mercury News advice columnist rightly advised the victim to get all such communication in writing. But another facet of the answer is to ensure that the traveler does not sign away his or her rights to sue. As can be seen in this situation, sometimes cruise companies may initially take responsibility for their negligence, or seem to attempt to assist and injured passenger, only to change their tune later.

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As we reported two days ago, the remnants of Hurricane Harvey have wrought havoc on the cruise industry. Some cruise ships, such as the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas, have been rerouted away from their port in Texas due to the storm. While the Liberty of the Seas was sent to Miami, passengers on other ships have yet to be told when they will be able to dock or where.

Fox4News.com reports that the Carnival Valor is one of the ships which has been left out to sea as a result of the adverse weather conditions created by Harvey. The piece quotes Carnival Valor passenger Matilda Williams, a native of Texas, as saying:

“No, they’re telling us the storm is coming this way toward New Orleans so we’re thinking, ‘Okay, do we need to get flights out of here? Do we need to rent a car?’ We don’t know what to do because they aren’t providing us information on the ship right now. They aren’t telling us anything.”

The reports says that Carnival indicates that it has three Galveston, Texas based cruise ships which it hopes will be able to return to port soon. In addition to the Valor, Harvey and its remnants has disrupted the itineraries of the Carnival Breeze and the Carnival Freedom.

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On June 29, 2017 the U.S. Senate took up bill S.1502, otherwise known as the Cruise Passenger Protection Act of 2017. For the better part of the last decade we have been blogging about the dangers of cruise ship travel, which counts sexual assault as its most often reported crime. The U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation in April which is aimed at making cruise ships safer for passengers.

The bill was introduced to the Senate by Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, both Democrats.

Some of the features of the bill can be found on this website, and include:

  • “The bill requires that the time for filing passenger claims against the owner of a cruise vessel must be at least three years, in contrast to the one-year and two-year current legal limitations now in most passenger tickets.”
  • “The bill further requires that DOT determine which elements of the current Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) "Passenger Bill of Rights" are legally enforceable, with a requirement that the cruise lines must disclose to passengers how they may obtain legal relief.”
  • “The bill also provides for a federal Advisory Committee, enhanced procedures for prompt reporting of shipboard incidents to law enforcement officials, federal support for shipboard crime victims (including assistance on how to pursue claims), on-board video surveillance, certain shipboard crime prevention devices (e.g., passenger cabin door peepholes), detailed requirements for on-board medical staff and crew lifesaving training, medical assistance to sexual assault victims, on-board "sea marshals" certified by and under jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard, and creation of a publicly accessible incident database….”

Cruise ship passengers lack many basic protections and it is time that the nation’s lawmakers act to fix the situation.

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Hurricane Harvey struck Texas over the weekend, causing widespread wind damage and flooding. As the massive category 4 storm weakened, it stalled over the eastern half of Texas, dumping record quantities of rain and disrupting much of the region’s industry, including travel. At one point, there were a reported 20,000 cruise ship passengers whose itineraries were affected by Harvey.

As the remnant of Harvey continues to linger over parts of Texas, authorities have resorted to redirecting cruise ships which were scheduled to call on the Texas port city of Galveston.

The Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas is one of the ships which was supposed to dock at Galveston this week. Due to the adverse weather conditions, the ship has been rerouted to Miami, Florida. In a report issued by FoxNews.com, Royal Caribbean manager of communications Owen Torres is quoted as saying "We are doing all we can to help guests adjust their travel arrangements and appreciate their patience during a stressful time."

The company is not sure when the Liberty of the Seas will be able to return to Galveston, but has said that it hopes to return the ship by September 1. In the meantime, the ship’s subsequent sailing was cancelled.

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Royal Caribbean Succombs to Pressure - Offers Lifeguards - Carnival Still Does Not

Royal Caribbean pool policy, reported on here.

Carnival offical pool policy, found here.

"Do you provide a formal lifeguard program?

We’ve put a lot of thought into our safety programs. We have made and will continue to make significant investments in training our employees through highly respected water safety training organizations on water safety, CPR and first aid as well as being prepared to initiate proactive intervention if necessary."

 

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The Cruise Industry Reroutes Ships Ahead of Hurricane Harvey Landfall

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Cruise Passengers Fear for Their Lives As Monster Waves Crash Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship

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Husband Accused of Killing Wife Aboard Cruise Ship Pleads Not Guilty

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Are Cruise Companies Serious About Preventing Sexual Assault

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