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.