COVID-19 Puts Cruise Ships on Cruise Control 

Posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2021 at 5:45 pm    

Eager to get out to sea and soak up some rays? It looks like you may be waiting a little bit longer to get back aboard a cruise ship. Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, a new wave of cruise ships has just announced that they are pushing back their relaunch dates — again. Norwegian Cruise Line has become the first large-scale cruise line to announce that they are forgoing a June restart and plan to push their timeline to July. Other major cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises, have canceled their itineraries through May, but not into June.

Part of the reason for the continued delay may be that the cruise industry is still coming to terms with how to address Centers for Disease Control guidelines. In 2020, the CDC issued guidance called the “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order,” which was meant to serve as a roadmap for cruise ship operators and gave them instructions on how to keep passengers and crew members safe. Some cruise lines continue to grapple with how to put safety protocols in place and maintain them through the duration of a trip.

More Than One Hurdle for Cruise Lines

Another major hurdle the industry is still trying to overcome is the travel-restrictions that some governments have in place. While a few European ports have opened up with enhanced safety measures, others are remaining cautious. Canada has extended its ban on cruise ships until at least 2022. The ban applies to all ships carrying more than 100 people aboard. The country has even banned smaller adventure-seeking pleasure crafts from entering Arctic waters, hoping the move will protect indigenous people from those potentially carrying the virus.

Memories Haven’t Faded and Neither Have the Lawsuits

While this response may seem extreme, consider the stories from cruise ship survivors caught in the aftermath of the first wave of the virus last year. The pain, suffering, emotional distress and uncertainty is still raw for many of the survivors trapped and frightened at sea and stuck stranded at port.

Those aboard the Grand Princess, quarantined on board off the California coast, remember the trauma all too vividly. More than 100 people aboard the ship ended up infected with COVID-19, and eight died. The family of one man who passed away is now suing the operators of that cruise line for negligence and wrongful death. Their case is only one of a dozen lawsuits filed so far by the passengers and surviving relatives on board that Princess Cruise ship.

Reach Out to the Team at Louis A. Vucci P.A.

Everyone has been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. While we all wish we could relax and get away for a while, cruise lines still have a responsibility to ensure that when they sail, they are doing it safely. Those impacted by the first wave of the virus one year ago are living with the consequences of the actions, or lack thereof, of the cruise line industry. As they await the final results of their pending lawsuits, we can only hope that the cruise line industry as a whole has taken the disasters of the past to heart and enhanced their safety protocols.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a COVID-19-related experience aboard a cruise ship, contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. for information on how we may be able to help you. Our skilled legal team has experience handling a wide range of cruise line-related accident, injury, and illness claims. To find out how we may be able to help you collect the compensation you deserve from a negligent cruise line, contact our office at (786) 375-0344 today.

Sexual Assault on Cruise Ships- A Growing Concern

Posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2021 at 10:00 am    

Just before news of the Covid-19 pandemic began to hit the airwaves in early 2020, data released at the end of 2019 painted a disturbing picture of sexual assault in the cruise line industry. Covid-19 coverage then dominated cruise ship headlines for much of the remaining year. However, as the industry begins creating plans for the future, passengers may want to revisit this shocking 2019 data and consider how it may impact their travel plans.

In December of 2019, reports began to emerge that FBI data showed 35 reported sexual assaults aboard cruise ships between July and September of 2019. While the number may not sound significant at face value, take into account that those 35 sexual assaults represent a 35 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 67 percent increase year-over-year. These numbers also represent only those sexual assaults that ended up being reported to authorities. While other crimes are also committed at sea, sexual assaults make up the largest proportion of reported crimes. Forbes reports that of the 46 reported crimes during that July and September period, 35 were sexual assault complaints.

International outlets have also picked up on the cruise ship and sexual assault trend. Some reports claim that large quantities of alcohol combined with little to no independent police presence onboard ships are a recipe for sexual violence. Girls and young women vulnerable to sexual abuse may find themselves put in a frightening situation in an environment where they may not know who to turn to for help. This is especially true in cases where the sexual assault was perpetrated by a member of the crew or a security member.

Investigation Complications

To add insult to injury for many victims of sexual assault aboard cruise lines, investigating these crimes can be challenging. Jurisdiction can enter muddy waters depending on where the crime was committed. Authorities may need to engage in international negotiations with other countries and law enforcement in foreign ports. This complex process can become extremely frustrating and taxing for victims still trying to cope with the trauma of a sexual assault.

Fighting Back

For several years media outlets have been talking about the problem of sexual assault aboard cruise ships. The public may not have been fully aware of the scope of the problem because of the way crimes aboard cruise ships were originally reported and categorized. Since these reporting standards were changed in 2016, it is easier to recognize that sexual assaults on cruise lines are becoming a growing and widespread problem. Just as sexual assault numbers peaked in 2019, the cruise industry was hit with the Covid-19 pandemic, and priorities shifted to infectious disease control. Plans for tackling or addressing sexual assaults are left to media statements declaring “passenger safety is a top priority.”

The Legal Team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. Can Help

A cruise ship excursion should be a dream vacation, not a nightmare at sea. If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted aboard a cruise ship, you don’t have to remain a silent victim. The legal team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. can offer you compassionate support and a legal outlet to seek justice.

Contact our experienced legal team today for a free and confidential case evaluation. We will treat your situation with sensitivity and show you the compassion and dignity that you deserve. Call (786) 375-0344 to schedule your consultation today.