Positive Changes That Could Come to the Cruise Line Industry 

Posted on Wednesday, November 25th, 2020 at 3:00 pm    

If there is one thing that the emergence of COVID-19 has done for the cruise line industry, it is the exposure of the chinks in many companies’ health and sanitation policies. COVID-19 is a highly infectious and transferable disease. Its emergence has exposed just how easy it is to transfer germs among passengers at sea, resulting in serious illness and compromising the health and safety of both passengers and crew members.

Closing in on almost a year after the disease first appeared, the cruise industry has yet to set sail again in full force. Has the pandemic taught companies anything? As devastating as COVID-19 has been to the industry, the cruise line industry may make traveling safer for passengers and employees in the future.

The Future of the Cruise Industry

COVID-19 has forced the Cruise Lines International Association to reexamine and rethink some of its most basic guidelines. Already, members are brainstorming about how they can help cruise line companies adjust and make future embarkations safer for everyone.

One of the positive changes that may last long after the COVID-19 epidemic has slowed down is a more complete and enhanced approach to ship sanitation. Some news outlets have already reported that enhanced hygiene will be at the center of many business models. This includes more stringent cleaning regimes for guestrooms and more thorough sanitation of kitchen and bathroom facilities.

The dining experience may undergo significant changes, as well, in the wake of COVID-19. Buffet style lines where people are constantly hoovering over food, even with sneeze guards in place, standing close to one another in line and touching bins of plates and utensils may become a thing of the past. While buffets have always been a popular option, they are rife with conditions that may expose a large number of people to a pathogen in a short amount of time. Limiting guests or serving meals to seated guests may be preferred.

One of the most important changes that could take the cruise line industry in a more positive direction is upgrading current shipboard medical facilities. March already feels like forever ago, but the image of people sick and stranded on cruise ships is still burned in many people’s memories. Learning from past mistakes, cruise lines may be looking to bulk up their medical facilities and enhance the supplies and staff they have onboard their ships. This would put them in a position to better handle not just disease outbreaks, but other types of serious medical issues that could arise while out at sea.

In the short-term, passengers who board a cruise line in 2021 may see routine COVID-19 testing before and after boarding ships, mask requirements, and increased sanitation protocols. In the long-term, cruise lines may make changes that put passenger safety and security at the forefront of the cruise experience.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A.

The legal team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. has extensive experience handling a wide range of cruise ship cases, from ship-related COVID-19 cases to medical negligence claims for people injured onboard a ship. Future safety changes are a positive step in the right direction, but if you or a loved one have suffered from a cruise ship illness or injury, you may be entitled to compensation. To talk to one of our attorneys about your potential claim, contact us at (786) 375-0344 today. The consultation is free.

Holiday Cruise Plans Go Bust

Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2020 at 2:04 pm    

If you were hoping to take a nice and relaxing cruise to celebrate the holidays, get ready to change your plans, yet again. Many popular cruise lines are once again stalling plans to set sail, this time canceling cruises through at least December 31st of 2020.

This new wave of cancellations comes only days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for cruise ships in the wake of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States and Europe. At, first the news seemed positive for cruise lines, with the CDC announcing that it was listing its “no-sail” ban in United States waters. However, as the order was lifted, it was replaced with new and enhanced guidelines that require cruise lines to ensure that the health and safety of passengers and cruise line employees come first.

Parent companies Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises have all suspended their plans to return to the sea through December 31st.

What Are These New CDC Guidelines and How Could They Impact Passengers?

At the core of the new CDC safety guidelines are enhanced measures that aim to make cruise lines safer for both employees and passengers, instead of floating petri dishes of disease. Ships sailing from U.S. ports will be required to establish onboard COVID-19 testing capabilities. These testing capabilities will mean that rapid testing of all passengers and crew members can be accomplished the day a ship sets sail and the day it returns to port to screen for infections.

It also means that symptomatic passengers, future passengers, and crew members may be tested with a quick turnaround for results to help contain any potential outbreaks. These testing measures will be coordinated with the CDC. The order also sets standards that govern proper hand hygiene and social distancing.

Passengers or crew members who test positive for COVID-19 before boarding will not be allowed on the ship. If a passenger or crew member tests positive while they are onboard the ship and out to sea, then the individual will be placed in isolation until they can be transferred to a dedicated facility onshore. Remaining passengers and all crew members who are deemed nonessential will be required to quarantine. The new CDC guidelines also mandate that cruise lines have all the essential medical equipment on board, as well as trained personal that can treat severely ill patients.

What Are Cruise Lines Doing in the Meantime?

During this new round of delays, many cruise lines have expressed that they will be busy making necessary changes to accommodate the CDC’s new guidelines. The first round of departures for most cruise lines will be without paying customers. These departures are meant to be simulations that will test their response to COVID-19 related issues and to make sure that they have accomplished the goals that the CDC has laid down.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A.

COVID-19 has impacted several customer services and travel industries. It is understandable that many industries want to get back to what they do best, make money. Should profit come before public safety? At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we don’t think so. Both passengers and cruise line employees should feel safe and confident with their work and travel plans. When cruise lines forgo safety for profit, you may be entitled to compensation for any resulting injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered harm linked to COVID-19 exposure on a cruise ship, contact the legal team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. for help. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, call (786) 375-0344 today.

While Some Cruise Lines Delay Start Dates, Others Bump Them Up

Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 at 5:58 pm    

In recent months around the world, cruise lines have had to adjust to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, this has meant halting operations entirely. For instance, in the United States, a No Sail Order has banned cruise ships from U.S. ports until November 1. Even before the CDC announced this particular date, the cruise industry had initiated its own ban on U.S. activity until November.

However, some cruise lines around the world have been eager to welcome guests back onto their ships. On August 16, the MSC Grandiosa left the port of Genoa, Italy, and became the first ship to set sail in months. Since then, other ships have followed in its footsteps.

As more and more cruise ships take to the water, many cruise-goers will wonder: which cruises are – and are not – in operation, and why? And how are cruise lines keeping their guests safe?

Which Cruise Lines Are Delaying Start Dates?

Recently, Carnival Cruise Line has announced new trip cancellations that will extend into the spring of 2021. The canceled trips include all cruises leaving from Miami aboard the Carnival Magic until March 13; all cruises from Tampa aboard the Carnival Paradise until March 19; and all cruises from New Orleans aboard the Carnival Valor until April 29.

Carnival’s recent cancellations appear to be a COVID safety measure. Christina Duffy, the president of Carnival Cruise Line, stated in a press release: “We are committed to providing our guests and travel agent partners with certainty where we can, although we regret disappointing our guests.”

Which Cruise Lines Are In (or Soon To Be In) Operation?

Unlike Carnival’s U.S.-based cruises, other ships have restarted operations this fall or announced plans to do so soon. Since the MSC Grandiosa set sail in August, multiple cruise lines have resumed trips departing from Europe.

In mid-September, AIDA Cruises announced that it would bump up its restart date for Mediterranean cruises to October 17. AIDA, which is a German subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, had previously announced that it would delay trips until November 1.

AIDA’s announcement follows a similar decision from another Carnival Corp. cruise line in Europe. Costa Cruises, an Italian Carnival line, officially resumed operations when two of its ships set sail on September 6.

How Are Cruise Lines Keeping Passengers Safe?

Cruise ships have responded to the pandemic by implementing new safety measures for guests and crew. For example, AIDA has developed a “health and safety” program for all vessels, which includes:

  • A mask requirement in indoor common spaces
  • Social distancing requirements
  • Continuous cleaning and disinfection measures
  • Hand sanitizer stations

Unfortunately, safety measures such as these cannot fully eliminate the risk of COVID spread. As the CDC has recently noted, foreign cruise lines have continued to see COVID outbreaks aboard their ships this summer and fall.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A.

If you or your loved one has fallen ill during or since a cruise, get in touch with Louis A. Vucci P.A. today. We know that cruise lines have a responsibility to keep their guests safe – and if your illness is a result of cruise ship negligence, one of our skilled attorneys will fight to win the compensation you deserve. Call (786) 375-0344 to schedule your free, confidential consultation now.

Cruise Ships Barred from U.S. Ports Until November

Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 at 5:39 pm    

On September 30, the CDC announced that it would extend the No Sail Order for cruise ships through the end of October. In other words, cruise ships will not be allowed to operate in U.S. waters or dock in U.S. ports through at least October 31. This move is intended to minimize the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks among would-be cruise guests.

In of itself, the No Sail Order is old news – it has been in place since mid-March of this year. However, if the order actually expires at the end of this month, there may be serious implications for U.S. cruise-goers. So, what is the reasoning behind the No Sail Order, and how long will it last?

The Reasoning Behind the No Sail Order

When the No Sail Order first took effect in March, cruise ships had been making national headlines for having rampant COVID-19 outbreaks. The Princess Diamond was one of the most infamous examples of this phenomenon. By the end of that voyage, more than 700 of the ship’s 3,711 passengers and crew members tested positive for coronavirus.

The No Sail Order is a response to the risk of high infection rates and possible deaths on cruise ships. As the CDC noted in its recent announcement, at least 41 deaths have resulted from cruise-related COVID-19 cases in U.S. waters since March 1. Since the pandemic continues to affect U.S. communities, the order has been extended multiple times to reflect the ongoing danger.

Furthermore, as the CDC points out, cruise ships operating in other parts of the world have not proven that they can successfully mitigate COVID-19 risk. Some of these ships have experienced outbreaks in recent months, despite operating at lower-than-usual capacity. As the announcement states:

“Recent outbreaks on cruise ships overseas provide current evidence that cruise ship travel continues to transmit and amplify the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 – even when ships sail at reduced passenger capacities – and would likely spread the infection into U.S. communities if passenger operations were to resume prematurely in the United States.”

How Long Will the No Sail Order Last?

For the moment, the No Sail Order is set to last until November 1. Of course, the order has been extended multiple times in past months, and it could be extended at the last minute again. (The most recent extension was made official just two hours before the order was due to expire at the end of September.)

However, there is reason to anticipate that the order will actually expire at the end of October. According to reporting from Axios, CDC Director Robert Redfield pushed to extend the No Sail Order until February 15, but was overruled by the current administration. The October 31 date is the result of the administration’s decision, and also matches up with the cruise industry’s own ban on U.S. activity until November.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A.

If you have suffered harm related to COVID-19 exposure on a cruise ship, do not delay in contacting a lawyer at Louis A. Vucci P.A.. The experienced cruise ship negligence lawyers at Louis A. Vucci P.A. can help you understand the paths you may be able to take to recovery. To schedule a free consultation, call (786) 375-0344 or fill out our contact form now.

September 2020 Cruise Ship News: Coronavirus Updates and More

Posted on Thursday, September 10th, 2020 at 8:27 pm    

September 2020 Cruise Ship News: Coronavirus Updates and More

During the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many places that encourage large gatherings or have limited space for social distancing remain temporarily closed for the public’s safety. Cruise ships remain one of the trigger locations for spreading coronavirus. The industry did not act quickly in halting voyages. In fact, many coronavirus cases, and even some virus-related deaths, were attributed to sailing on a cruise last Spring. If you believe medical negligence caused your coronavirus diagnosis or a loved one’s death from the viral infection, then the experienced team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. can help fight on your behalf. Call us today at (786) 375-0344 for your free consultation.

On March 14, 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted a Warning – Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel. A No Sail Order was issued to start April 15, 2020, which suspended all cruise ship travel in the United States. The law applies to all vessels with a capacity over 250 passengers. On July 16, 2020, the CDC extended the No Sail Order a second time, which will remain in effect until September 30, 2020. As of right now, the U.S. cruise industry suspended all voyages until October 31, 2020.

There are a few noteworthy updates on where cruise ships and coronavirus stand in recent and coming weeks.

Cruise Ships and Coronavirus Updates

In recent global news, certain cruise lines have started sailing again in other parts of the world. According to CNN, MSC Cruises’ first post-COVID voyage set sail on August 16 from the Genoa port in Italy. While the cruise line would not share the exact number of the amount sailing, it did report the trip operated at 60% capacity. At full capacity, the vessel holds 6,300 passengers. The MSC Grandiosa set sail on its second cruise on August 23. Both cruises included stops and day trips at Mediterranean ports.

Several smaller cruise lines restarted trips across Europe this summer. In early August, the Norwegian cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen made major headlines as multiple crew members and guests tested positive for COVID-19. A total of 71 people, both passengers and guests, ended up testing positive. Several became severely ill and it was announced on August 28 one passenger died from the viral infection.

Here in the U.S. cruise ships might not be sailing, but many crew members are still stuck in U.S. waters. After the implementation of the No Sail Order, many cruise crew members remained on-board. Almost five months later, the U.S. Coast Guard reported to USA Today they were tracking 57 cruise ships in U.S. waters that held approximately 12,084 crew members.

Post-Coronavirus Cruise Ship Procedures

Now that cruise ships have started sailing again many are wondering what new precautions the industry is taking to protect crew and guests against coronavirus.

As the first ‘big’ ship to sail since April, for better or worse, MSC Grandiosa has set the new and current standard.

Here are a few new safety precautions the company is taking on their cruises:

  • Test every crew member for COVID-19 prior to boarding and several times during their contract.
  • Test every guest for COVID-19 prior to boarding.
  • Anyone that tests positive is denied boarding, as will the entire party they are traveling with.
  • Enhanced sanitation methods that include using hospital-grade disinfectant and UV-C light technology.
  • Operate at a maximum of 70% capacity to ensure social distancing is possible on the ship.
  • Temperature checks of guests and crews prior to boarding the vessel.

These are just a few of the many new procedures the cruise line is now enforcing.

Current U.S. and Global Coronavirus Statistics

As of August 28th, the CDC reported the following coronavirus numbers in the U.S.:

  • 5,845,876 confirmed cases
  • 180,165 deaths
  • California has the highest total cases at 683,529
  • Florida has the second-highest total cases at 605,342

On a global scale, the WHO reported the following worldwide coronavirus numbers as of August 28th:

  • 24,299,923 confirmed cases
  • 827,730 deaths
  • America has the highest confirmed cases count of any country
  • Brazil has the second-highest at 3,717,156 confirmed cases

Tips for Protection Against Coronavirus

The CDC recommends the following steps to protect yourself against coronavirus:

  • Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Use a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when handwashing is not an option.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your nose, eyes, and mouth, with unclean hands.
  • Maintain six feet (approximately two arms’ lengths) distance from people who are not part of your household.
  • For those over 2 years old or who do not have breathing problems, wear a face covering when in public settings, especially when social distancing is not possible.

For more recommendations and steps on how to protect against coronavirus, visit the CDC’s website.

How an Experienced Medical Negligence Attorney Can Help

Any sickness is hard to deal with, but in some cases, COVID-19 symptoms prove to be extremely difficult to overcome. In several cases the illness lasts for weeks, making it hard to focus on anything but getting better. Or, if you lost a loved one the sudden loss is unbelievable tragic and requires time to grieve. A medical negligence attorney who understands the ins and outs of the law can fight on your behalf while you focus on recovering or mourning the loss of a loved one.

Why Choose Louis A. Vucci P.A.?

Our experienced team not only has years of experience handling medical negligence claims for people who’ve become injured or ill on cruise ships, but we will fight aggressively on your behalf both in and out of the courtroom.

We understand during these difficult times financial issues are at an all-time high. Therefore, we operate on a contingency basis. We only collect a fee if we win your case, and we do not require money up-front.

Don’t Waste Time – Get Started Today!

If you, or your loved one, are suffering due to medical negligence caused by a coronavirus diagnosis following a cruise, then you might be entitled to compensation. At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we can answer all your case-specific questions in our free consultations. Call us today at (786) 375-0344, or simply reply in our online chat message to get started.

Cruise Industry Still on Hold as No Sail Order Extended Again

Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 at 9:25 pm    

Considered a nonessential travel method that should be avoided during the COVID-19 pandemic, cruise ships have been sitting idle since the middle of March, and there is no definite date in place for when they will be able to sail again.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put a No Sail Order in place on March 14, 2020, for all cruise ships that operate in U.S. waters and carry over 250 passengers and crew. The CDC also put cruise ships under a Level 3 travel health notice because of an increased risk for person-to-person spread of the coronavirus among passengers. The No Sail Order was extended on April 15, and a second extension was announced on July 16, 2020. The order will remain in effect until one of the following events occur:

  • The CDC rescinds or modifies the order, or
  • COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency, as declared by the Secretary of Health and Human, or
  • September 30, 2020

How Cruise Lines Are Handling the Crisis

On March 13, 2020, the cruise line industry’s largest trade association, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), announced a voluntary 30-day suspension of operations for all of its member cruise lines. The suspension was prolonged until July 24 and then again to September 15. Although the cruise industry is currently experiencing substantial financial losses, it is looking ahead with optimism. The CLIA website states, “Despite current challenges, the cruise community will emerge from this global crisis stronger and even better than before.”

Popular cruise lines like Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean have posted special messages on their websites to address questions from travelers. The statements strive to rebuild trust by explaining that the organization’s first priority is safety, and it is working to implement whatever changes are necessary to meet the new demands.

Many cruise lovers live in the U.S., so cruise lines have devoted customers who will want to come back at their first opportunity. Policies for cancellation and postponement of reservations have been relaxed, and deep discounts are being offered to encourage people to plan ahead for returning to sea. However, passenger numbers may struggle to be restored to pre-pandemic levels. The cruise business profits by putting as many travelers as possible on one ship. Passengers interact in group activities, sit elbow-to-elbow in theatres, and eat meals or sunbathe within arms-reach of each other. The social atmosphere is the perfect place for viruses to circulate. Cruise ship companies are having to re-think their typical business model in order to promote their service and make customers feel safe.

New Protocols When Cruise Ships Sail Again

When cruising is once more a travel option, restarting operations will most likely happen in a gradual manner, as the virus will be at different stages in different areas. Health and safety will have to be made a priority to preserve the future of the industry. Planning is now in the works for new protocols to be in place when sailing resumes to protect passengers and crew from illness outbreaks onboard. New procedures under consideration include:

Capacity limits

Since maintaining social distancing throughout the ship can go far in preventing the spread of disease, the number of passengers allowed on cruises will be reduced. With less capacity, the inside cabins could go unoccupied, and instead, rooms with windows or balconies could be filled up to allow passengers access to fresh air.

Boarding procedures and health screenings

Touch-free temperature scans will be required before boarding. Ship personnel may also decide to deny boarding to anyone with symptoms of illness. Crew procedures for embarkation will be touchless, and boarding times will be staggered to avoid close contact in lines as passengers take turns going through the boarding process.

Enhanced cleaning

Hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout ships, and in-depth disinfecting of all public areas repeated regularly. Certain sections of the ship may be closed periodically to allow for deep cleaning.

Stateroom safeguards

Cleaning supplies (disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer) and protective gear (masks and gloves) could be added amenities for each cabin. Extra bedding that can’t be washed easily, such as throw pillows and bedspreads, could be omitted. Disposable covers for high-touch items, such as television remote controls, is another possible hygiene precaution.

Dining variations

Requiring hand sanitizer use upon entering onboard restaurants is a measure that some cruise lines already had in place, but the crowd-pleasing self-service buffets may disappear altogether. Passengers may be assigned to tables in dining rooms and seated only with their traveling companions. Crowding could be reduced by spreading diners out with more venue options available, especially outdoors, or instituting multiple seating times. Room service could be encouraged by expanding the menu choices and hours of availability.

Future Considerations for Cruise Operators

Although relaxing some of the new protocols eventually will probably make sense, the stricter sanitation procedures should remain in place. With the cruise industry’s history of onboard virus outbreaks, such as norovirus, the augmented attention to cleanliness should be a welcome and permanent addition to its operations.

Competition has always been intense among cruise lines, and it will probably only increase while some travelers still rule out cruising as a vacation option. Sanitation policies will be added to the amenities that customers compare between ships, so companies should be racing to outdo each other in the area of onboard health.

Louis A. Vucci P.A. Is Here for You

Has your life been impacted by the detrimental event of contracting COVID-19 as a guest or crew member on a cruise? You may have a personal injury claim that Louis A. Vucci P.A. can help you with. Our skilled medical negligence attorneys can determine if your illness was caused by the cruise line’s failure to act responsibly, and you could be entitled to financial compensation. To find out how you may be able to pursue legal action after your COVID-19 diagnosis, just call us at (786) 375-0344 or fill out this contact form. Let’s get started today.

How Are Cruise Lines Navigating the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020 at 9:54 pm    

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the cruise industry. The global outbreak has caused major problems for hospitality and travel in general, but the nature of the cruise industry, in particular, presents unique issues, including forcing potentially infected passengers to spend weeks in close proximity to one another, with limited medical care.

Under these new circumstances, cruise lines are often unable to guarantee the safety of their customers. The result has been a cessation of operations and employees stranded on ships, waiting to be repatriated to their home countries. Some companies have been sued for their alleged inadequate response to the crisis.

Problems Faced by Cruise Lines

The primary issue that cruise companies must deal with during the pandemic is providing a clean and sanitized environment. Thousands of people must live together in close quarters for weeks, eating, drinking, and socializing in close proximity, and touching surfaces that may be contaminated. While evidence suggests that COVID-19 is not spread through food, its ability to spread through HVAC systems is unclear. Also at issue is the ability of a cruise ship to spread contagion to other cities worldwide, as the ship makes stops for tours and excursions.

Frequent cruise ship passengers tend to be older, above 65 years of age. This age group is at a higher risk than the general population of suffering severe effects or death from the COVID-19 virus, and their medical needs are more extensive.

Health care on cruise ships is very limited. Even a large ship may only have a couple of doctors and a few nurses on board. A small medical staff such as this can be incredibly inadequate to deal with a major disease outbreak among the passengers. Ships must have medical staff on-call 24 hours a day, but this could mean that the limited staff becomes overworked during a viral outbreak.

How Can Cruise Lines Protect Their Passengers and Crew?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control provides federal guidelines for cruise ships in the form of the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP). While these rules primarily address gastrointestinal and not respiratory illnesses, some of the recommendations overlap with CDC advice for the prevention of COVID-19 infection. A Carnival spokesperson has noted that the company has implemented protocols including monitoring guests for fever as well as additional procedures for cleaning and sanitation.

In response to the pandemic, the CDC announced an industry-wide No-Sail Order on March 14. The order remains in effect until July 24, or until the CDC director decides to rescind or modify the order, or the Secretary of Health and Human Services declares that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency. The order applies to all commercial passenger ships that carry more than 250 guests and where an overnight stay is anticipated.

Current Cruise-Related Lawsuits

It can be difficult to sue cruise companies, as they enjoy a number of protections, and are often not U.S. companies and not subject to many safety regulations that would normally protect customers and employees. Still, many cruise lines are facing lawsuits related to their response to the crisis:

  • Carnival Cruise Lines has been sued by more than 60 passengers for failing to protect them from COVID-19. The lawsuit alleges that Carnival failed to sanitize the Grand Princess ship between voyages and didn’t screen new passengers for the disease.
  • Costa Cruises has been sued in federal court by passengers of the Costa Luminosa vessel, alleging the company acted negligently in response to an outbreak on the ship. Three passengers on that voyage have died from COVID-19 so far.
  • Royal Caribbean is facing a wrongful death suit after two crew members were airlifted off the Oasis of the Seas vessel, and a 27-year-old member of the Celebrity Infinity crew died from the virus.
  • Holland America has been hit with a lawsuit after an outbreak of COVID-19 on their MS Zaandam vessel in March. The ship set sail from Buenos Aires on March 7 and stopped in Montevideo, Uruguay, and the Falkland Islands before the trip was canceled a week later.

Recent Developments

Each cruise line has made their own decision as to when to resume sailing:

  • Carnival plans to deny boarding to all guests age 70 or older unless they have a letter of fitness from their physician. Carnival cruises in North America are suspended through September 30, except for Carnival Legend, suspended through October 30, and Carnival Radiance, canceled through November 2. They will suspend their Australian cruises through August 31.
  • Costa Cruises has suspended all cruises through August 15, and their Northern Europe cruises through the remainder of the summer season.
  • Holland America is suspending global operations of its fleet through Fall 2020.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line has suspended operations through September 30, and intends to resume sailing on October 1.
  • Royal Caribbean has canceled its sailings until September 16, except for voyages to China, which they hope to resume in August.

Start dates will depend greatly on the progress of the outbreak at the time and whether there is a second wave of the virus in the fall.

What Cruise Passengers Should Expect in The Future

Guests should expect additional safety measures, such as pre-boarding health screenings, periodic temperature checks, and the suspension of buffets. Companies are expected to enhance their sterilization procedures and monitor public spaces, closing them early each day for deep cleaning. Ship crews will be trained in new procedures to combat outbreaks, and ships may expand their medical facilities and add new medical staff. Shore excursions will adopt protocols for the requirements of each port.

Global cruise lines represent a $45 billion industry, serving more than 20 million passengers a year. The cruise companies continue to make changes to make their vessels safer for the public, but there is much work to be done. Until there is a vaccine in place, cruise lines will remain in a frustrating state of limbo, and may continue to face litigative hurdles.

Contact a Cruise Ship Injury Attorney Today

Cruise lines are often international companies that are not subject to U.S. safety regulations, making cruise line legal cases particularly complex. However, the cruise line attorneys at Louis A. Vucci P.A. are highly experienced in this area of law. We have the skills and resources needed to uphold your rights and secure the full and fair compensation you need.

If you’ve suffered from COVID-19 or if you have lost a loved one to COVID-19 as a result of traveling on a cruise ship, don’t hesitate to contact our attorneys at (786) 375-0344 to schedule a free consultation. We’ll fight for the justice you deserve.

Cruise Ship News: COVID-19 updates, Crew member illness concerns, the future of the cruise industry

Posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 at 3:02 am    

Hope for Norwegian Cruise Lines Amid the Pandemic

Four months after the first reported case of Covid-19 in the United States, the economy started to reopen. Businesses suffered greatly during this pandemic, and some ended up having to close their doors permanently. With so much uncertainty looming, Norwegian Cruise Line can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Its parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, issued a statement that they received financing that could potentially last for a whole year. If they can’t resume business any time soon, they’re not worried about their financial standing. The bailout gives them a cushion of funds that will ensure their survival until they can resume normal business operations.

This ray of hope came just after the popular cruise company notified investors of their money troubles. After filing the report, shares of NCLH stock plummeted 20% and continued to fall throughout the day. Norwegian withdrew $1.55 billion early on in the pandemic, causing their credit rating to drop and making it tougher to find new funding. Fortunately, NCLH was able to gather enough cash to last well beyond the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s no-sail order.

Crew Members Suffer from Coronavirus Outbreak

Approximately 2,500 staff members aboard the MS Norwegian Epic still can’t leave due to Covid-19. At first, funny posts on social media platforms seemed to brighten the crew’s mood during a traumatic situation. Now, weeks later, Norwegian Cruise Line is prohibiting their employees from sharing any information about the ship’s condition with the public.

Leaked audio obtained from Business Insider uncovered an announcement made by the cruise ship’s leadership team. They said any written, verbal, photographic, or video material detailing what’s happening on board without the company’s permission is a violation of their policy and could result in legal action.

This outrageous threat came just weeks after the cruise line had to halt operations and keep their employees quarantined to prevent further spread of the virus. Everyone still has access to their phones and can communicate with friends and family. Yet, if they post to social media without expressed permission from Norwegian Cruise Line, they could face prosecution by shoreside authorities. The warning is just another unpleasant circumstance following pay cuts, contract terminations, and fatalities.

CDC Issues Requirements for Disembarking Crew Members

Around 80,000 crew members working on 120 different haven’t been able to find their way home because of the outbreak. With the CDC recommending self-isolation for anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms, operations halted, and employees ended up staying out at sea for weeks or months.

Now that things are calming down and there are various plans in place, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean started to disembark its crew and help them get home safely. However, the CDC is requesting that all staff entering through U.S. ports take private transportation home. Many companies complained that it’s too expensive to arrange private transportation for all their employees, halting disembarking efforts.

Crew operators and the CDC continue to be in limbo regarding foreign crew members and how to send them back to their families. Without the option of public transportation, the task of flying them back home has been a challenge. Although some companies were willing to comply with the CDC’s requests, others are now at a standstill and trying to agree on how to disembark the remaining workers safely.

Death Tolls Rise Among Cruise Ship Employees

The harsh reality of the situation is that the outcome is out of their control. Staff stuck on various cruise ships are sleep-deprived and stressed. Everyone is on edge because of the unknown. They don’t know how long they’ll be on the ship and how long it will take to get home. Those infected with the virus don’t know if they’ll survive. Others worry if they catch Covid-19, it could extend their time aboard because of the required self-isolation.

Some deaths raised questions about the effects of quarantining on a person’s mental state. An employee aboard the Regal Princess in the port of Rotterdam jumped off the ship and died. In a separate incident, a crew member from Jewel of the Seas went overboard. Deaths like these are traumatic. A former guest manager from Norwegian Cruise Line said she received Facebook messages from some workers saying they were suicidal.

Many people on these ships had to self-isolate in their small cabins for two weeks and spend even longer isolated from their families and friends. That can lead to stress, loneliness, and depression. Additionally, some felt momentary relief thinking they could finally go home only to find out their flights got canceled. The emotional highs and lows are starting to impact everyone.

The Future of Cruises

There still isn’t a definitive date for when cruise lines can resume normal operations. With so many people continuing to quarantine aboard the ships and no plans for getting them all to their home countries, there’s no way of knowing when the companies will start offering cruise services again.

Some planned on reopening by now, but the CDC keeps extending the shutdown. Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean say they want to get back on the water by June 12. Others are shooting for reopening in July or August. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict precisely when cruise-goers can take their next trip. The coronavirus is in control of everyone’s schedules at this point. When the world returns to normal depends on how much longer this pandemic affects businesses and whether researchers can find a cure.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. for a Free Consultation

If you contracted Covid-19 while working on a cruise ship, the experienced attorneys from Louis A. Vucci P.A. might be able to help you. You probably incurred expensive medical bills and without a source of income, worry about how you’re going to pay. If you got sick because of the cruise line’s negligence, you could file a lawsuit for financial compensation.

You deserve to seek justice against those responsible for your suffering. The attorneys from Louis A. Vucci P.A. will help you get through this devastating time in your life. You can count on us to be by your side from beginning to end of your case. To find out how we can help you pursue legal action after your diagnosis of Covid-19, call (786) 375-0344.

Coronavirus, Cruise Ships, and Your Legal Rights

Posted on Friday, May 1st, 2020 at 3:52 pm    

What was supposed to be a one- to two-week cruise for sun, fun, and a little R&R has turned into an extended nightmare for many people who embarked on a cruise recently. Ships are the perfect environment to foster the spread of infection, and the recent coronavirus outbreak has proven that fact.

It is hard to keep tabs on the number of people who have contracted coronavirus while on a cruise because the numbers just keep going up. What is not hard to track, however, are the ways that cruise line companies are trying to dodge their responsibility when it comes to compensating passengers who contracted the disease while aboard one of these ships.

Louis A. Vucci P.A. breaks down why it can be difficult to hold cruise lines accountable and what you can do about it.

Why Is Suing a Cruise Line So Difficult?

It can be very difficult for passengers of cruise liners to protect their legal rights when something goes amiss aboard a ship. Why is that? Unfortunately, many cruise lines have legal protections because they are not, in fact, U.S. companies. These companies are incorporated in foreign countries, which means they are not bound by U.S. employment standards, Occupational Safety and Health Act regulations, and other food and safety regulations.

The rules that have been put in place to protect Americans at work, on the roads, or at businesses, simply don’t apply to cruise lines. This isn’t just a niche problem that applies to small-time cruise lines either. News reports highlight the fact that Carnival is incorporated in Panama, Royal Caribbean is incorporated in Liberia, and Norwegian Cruise Lines is incorporated in Bermuda.

Major cruise lines have skirted U.S. laws and regulations by incorporating outside of U.S. jurisdiction, and that makes it more difficult for Americans who have suffered at their hands to seek justice.

What Can be Done to Help Cruise Line Passengers?

While being incorporated outside of the U.S. makes things more difficult and complicated for passengers and their attorneys, there are still ways to hold them accountable. It’s possible to recover damages by arguing to a judge that the cruise line in question knew their actions were “unreasonable under the circumstances.”

Cruise lines may have been negligent by ignoring the mounting evidence about the dangers the coronavirus pandemic posed to the public and failing to adequately warn their passengers and take steps to protect them.

There are even some maritime laws that could come into play like the Death on the High Seas Act. While it is an extraordinarily old law, attorneys are using every resource available to them to help passengers impacted by the coronavirus while out at sea. It may seem like an uphill battle, but it is a battle worth fighting.

Contact a Coronavirus Cruise Ship Lawyer Today

Louis A. Vucci P.A. is committed to helping people impacted by the coronavirus protect their legal rights from massive cruise line companies more interested in profits than people. While this virus may have changed the nature of how we work, it hasn’t changed how hard we work. We are here to fight for your rights and give you legal advice about all our options.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. at (786) 375-0344 for a free consultation or fill out this form online. You may be eligible to recover compensation if you contracted coronavirus while aboard a cruise line.

Miami Herald releases cruise ship COVID-19 case data

Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 at 9:23 pm    

Louis A. Vucci P.A. has compiled a chart outlining COVID-19 cases by cruise line. The data was provided by the Miami Herald, and breaks down the number of coronavirus cases for each cruise line by passenger infections, crewmember infections, passenger deaths, and crewmember deaths.

Aurora Expeditions
Total Known Cases 128
Known Passenger Cases 0
Known Crew Cases 1
Total Known Deaths 1
Known Passenger Deaths 0
Known Crew Deaths 1
Carnival Corporation
Total Known Cases 1740
Known Passenger Cases 1158
Known Crew Cases 500
Total Known Deaths 53
Known Passenger Deaths 41
Known Crew Deaths 7
Disney Cruise Line
Total Known Cases 37
Known Passenger Cases 3
Known Crew Cases 33
Total Known Deaths 0
Known Passenger Deaths 0
Known Crew Deaths 0
Fred Olsen Cruise Line
Total Known Cases 13
Known Passenger Cases 1
Known Crew Cases 12
Total Known Deaths 0
Known Passenger Deaths 0
Known Crew Deaths 0
Genting Cruise Lines
Total Known Cases 3
Known Passenger Cases 3
Known Crew Cases 0
Total Known Deaths 0
Known Passenger Deaths 0
Known Crew Deaths 0
MSC Cruises
Total Known Cases 101
Known Passenger Cases 39
Known Crew Cases 62
Total Known Deaths 1
Known Passenger Deaths 0
Known Crew Deaths 1
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
Total Known Cases 14
Known Passenger Cases 1
Known Crew Cases 8
Total Known Deaths 0
Known Passenger Deaths 0
Known Crew Deaths 0
Phoenix Reisen Cruises
Total Known Cases 64
Known Passenger Cases 6
Known Crew Cases 9
Total Known Deaths 3
Known Passenger Deaths 2
Known Crew Deaths 1
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Total Known Cases 486
Known Passenger Cases 181
Known Crew Cases 293
Total Known Deaths 6
Known Passenger Deaths 5
Known Crew Deaths 1
TUI Cruises
Total Known Cases 6
Known Passenger Cases 2
Known Crew Cases 4
Total Known Deaths 1
Known Passenger Deaths 1
Known Crew Deaths 0

To read more from the Miami Herald, click here.