Vucci Law Group Blog & Updates

September 2020 Cruise Ship News: Coronavirus Updates and More

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

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.

Help for Coronavirus Cruise Ship Passengers

Posted on Thursday, April 16th, 2020 at 6:37 pm    

Louis A. Vucci P.A. is here to help those who have been affected by the coronavirus while aboard a cruise ship. Many ships have spent weeks at sea, unable to dock, and as cases have proliferated onboard, many cruise ship passengers have become seriously ill or died as a result of the virus. We know that many passengers impacted by the coronavirus are struggling to understand their legal rights.

If you were affected by the coronavirus while aboard a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation. We are available to review your case and can help you decide if filing a lawsuit is right for you. You can rest assured that at Louis A. Vucci P.A., we are continuing to work hard on our cases while practicing social distancing to minimize the spread of the virus.

If you are a current client, please use email as your primary method of contacting us. If you are a prospective client who has been impacted by coronavirus on a cruise ship, please fill out this form so that we can set up a 100% free consultation either via phone or email.

What Is the Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a viral infection that emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, it has spread across the world. As of April 14th, 2020, nearly 2 million people have tested positive, and over 120,000 have died, according to estimates by the World Health Organization.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus usually develop two to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

More severe symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain/pressure
  • Confusion
  • Blue tint to lips/face

If you experience coronavirus symptoms, it’s important to contact your physician right away, and always call in advance before going to a medical facility.

Coronavirus on Cruise Ships

Coronavirus spreads very easily, and cruise ships have become viral hotbeds due to the large number of people in close proximity to each other. In February and March of 2020, dozens of cruise ships began to report suspected and confirmed cases of coronavirus among their passengers and crew. Many countries were hesitant to let these ships dock at their ports due to fear of the virus spreading, resulting in confusion and delayed responses.

Cruise ship company responses to the coronavirus raise many legal issues. While it is notoriously difficult to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, there are steps that cruise ship operators could have taken early on to diminish or prevent the spread of infection. Cruise ships have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect their passengers from harm. There is evidence that several cruise ship operators were slow to respond to outbreaks by continuing to sail during the outbreak and not implementing social distancing measures.

Contact A Coronavirus Cruise Ship Lawyer 

At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we understand the impact that the coronavirus has had on cruise ship passengers who were aboard during coronavirus outbreaks. We are working tirelessly to continue to fight for our clients, and are exploring new and innovative ways to stay in contact with our clients during these difficult times.

As of April 12th, 2020, thousands of passengers remain stuck at sea aboard cruise ships. If you were or are currently aboard a cruise ship during the coronavirus pandemic, contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. today by filling out this form to set up a free consultation to talk about your options. You may be eligible for compensation.

Coronavirus and Cruises

Posted on Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 at 4:48 am    

A cruise should be one of the most relaxing ways that you and your family can vacation. Every cruise line bills their cruise experience as a refreshing one – with exciting excursions, onboard entertainment, and an endless supply of tropical beverages.

According to the Cruise Line International Association, more than 32 million passengers are expected to board in 2020. While millions have booked their deposits and counted down the days on their calendars, cruises in 2020 aren’t as fun as they might seem.

The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a rapidly evolving virus causing respiratory disease and, in extreme cases, death. While the first case appeared in Wuhan City, China, the virus is spreading across the world, with cases popping up even in the United States. On January 31, the Health and Human Services Department declared the virus a public health emergency.

The CDC has confirmed that the virus appears to be spread person-to-person. That means that any location where people from across the world cross paths, such as airports or cruise ships, is going to be extremely dangerous for the general public.

Unfortunately for cruise-goers, the highly contagious virus has already affected numerous cruise lines. With people from all over the globe gathered in one enclosure, touching every guardrail, coughing in closed rooms, and shaking hands with every stranger – it’s no wonder cruise ships are a hotbed for spreading disease.

Affected Cruise Ships

On February 14, Carnival Corporation, one of the most massive cruise lines in the world, docked its Westerdam ship in Cambodia to the relief of many. The cruise ship had been denied entry to multiple ports after concerns of the virus spreading. They finally were allowed port in Cambodia, and the cruise-goers seemed to feel as if all was in the clear.

However, just two days later, an American passenger tested positive for the coronavirus. Who knows how many others came into contact with the American while on the ship? And now, all of those passengers are dispersed across Asia, heading to various airports in an attempt to get home.

Carnival is in even hotter water for another ship currently affected by the coronavirus. The Princess Diamond, a luxury cruise ship parked outside Yokohama, Japan, has been quarantined for two weeks. Thousands of people, both sick and not sick, have been stuck in their rooms, receiving meals by mask-wearing cruise employees. There are more than 540 confirmed cases aboard the ship, and quarantining the infected with all of the other passengers leaves room for hundreds of more passengers to be potentially infected.

One lawyer, an expert in global health law, has suggested that the quarantine has turned the ship into a “boiling pot of transmission.” Many other health experts question the measures that Carnival is currently taking.

The fear of spreading the coronavirus has led to many situations like these popping up over the last few months. In Italy, 6,000 passengers are currently being quarantined on their cruise ship even after preliminary tests show that there is no confirmation of the virus. One couple in question had recently been in Hong Kong, and the cruise line worried that allowing anyone off the ship could further spread infection.

What Should You Do?

Before you ever board a cruise ship, it’s important to call your healthcare insurance and see what kind of coverage you have for offshore medical occurrences. If you’re not covered, it might be a good idea to purchase travel insurance in the unfortunate case of needing medical assistance in a foreign country.

It’s also good to take a look at the medical accommodations provided by the cruise line. All cruise ships are required to have at least one medical professional on board. American-docking cruises have even stricter guidelines, demanding that the ship also provide an examination room, an intensive care room, and lab processing equipment.

It’s important to note that while the ships are required to have a doctor on board, they won’t usually have a specialist, nor will they likely have someone prepared to deal with something as medically intense as the coronavirus.

Another essential step to take pre-boarding is to look up the cruise ship with the VSP. The VSP, or the Vessel Sanitation Program, is run by the CDC and inspects ships for infection outbreaks. They then rank the ships from 1-100 for sanitation safety. Anything under a score of 85 is not recommended. The VSP also requires that ships report any outbreaks 24 hours before docking in an American port.

Once on the ship, it’s important that you do everything you can to keep yourself from getting sick. Because of the number of people that touch everything inside the ship, it’s crucial that you wash your hands frequently. If you notice someone who appears to be ill, alert a staff member immediately and go back to your room until the possibly infected area has been properly sanitized.

Were You Hurt or Did You Become Ill on a Cruise?

Cruise lines have a legal and moral imperative to ensure that they are keeping their passengers safe from contracting illnesses while onboard. Especially in light of the coronavirus, cruise ships should be taking all precautionary measures possible.

The big cruise lines make billions of dollars a year, and the least they can do is ensure the safety of their passengers.

If you or someone you love has become ill on a cruise ship due to the negligence of a cruise line, call us today at (786) 375-0344, and we can help you recover your losses. You could be entitled to damages to cover medical bills, loss of wages, emotional distress, and more.

At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we have been helping individuals go up against big corporations since 1997. We know that legal costs can seem daunting, which is why we represent clients on a contingency-fee-basis. That means that we won’t charge you a dime until we get you a full and fair settlement.

Call us now at (786) 375-0344 to schedule your free initial evaluation.

Beware of Norovirus Before Your Next Cruise

Posted on Monday, December 16th, 2019 at 4:25 pm    

Cruises are a popular way to travel because they’re relatively stress-free. You can just sit back, sip on a daiquiri, and enjoy watching the endless hypnotic movement of the ocean’s tide from the ship’s deck.

Thirty million passengers are expected to travel by cruise in 2019, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, Inc. However, despite all of the fun that a cruise ship promises, there are some drawbacks.

Hundreds of passengers contracted the norovirus stomach flu while traveling on the Royal Caribbean International’s ship, Oasis of the Seas, in January 2019. And it’s not hard to imagine why so many people got sick.

Thousands of people are touching the same handrails, buffet utensils, bathroom door handles and elevator buttons. Once someone is infected with this hyper-contagious stomach flu, it’s easy to pass it on. People with the virus can shed billions of norovirus particles, and it only takes a few of those particles to infect another person.

The Oasis of the Seas’ contained quarters was the perfect recipe for the norovirus to spread rapidly, infecting 561 of 6,285 passengers and 31 of 2,169 crewmembers.

Known as the “cruise ship virus,” norovirus accounts for 90 percent of diarrheal outbreaks on cruise ships. It’s not only the close living quarters that breed this fast-spreading illness, but it’s also coming and going of passengers on and off the ship.

When passengers go ashore, they can become infected with the illness and bring it back to the cruise ship. In addition, the norovirus doesn’t leave the ship with the passengers. The norovirus can contaminate surfaces on the cruise ship and infect a new round of passengers.

The norovirus can persist on surfaces and is resistant to common disinfectants. So even after passengers leave, and crewmembers disinfect the ship, the virus can remain and infect the new oncoming passengers.

The Oasis of the Seas was set to embark on a journey to Mexico and then through the Caribbean Sea to Haiti and Jamaica. However, because of the rapid spread of the norovirus, passengers were not allowed off of the ship in Jamaica for fear of future infection.

The Oasis of the Seas returned to Port Canaveral, Florida a day earlier than scheduled because the norovirus was spreading so rapidly on the ship. Hundreds of vacations were ruined for those who contracted the norovirus and the remaining were cut short for those who didn’t contract the virus.

This was a real blow, especially financially, for those passengers who had planned and saved for months in advance for a tropical getaway.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) runs the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) to help curb the spread of the norovirus and other gastrointestinal illnesses. The VSP also performs unannounced operation sanitation inspections to make sure the ship is in tiptop shape.

The VSP inspects ships with more than 13 people and a foreign itinerary including ports in the United States in and provides a service for passengers to look at a cruise’s inspection score before booking a trip. The top score is 100, which is excellent. Any score below 85 is considered unsatisfactory.

Passengers can also investigate a cruise ship before booking travel to check for any recent outbreaks. The VSP requires cruise lines that are sailing from a foreign port to an American port to document if any outbreaks occurred on the ship within 24 hours before the ship docks at its port.

But remember, just because a ship has a good score doesn’t mean you won’t be infected with the norovirus illness. There have been reports of the norovirus on ships that had near-perfect scores.

Passengers should always take appropriate measures to keep from getting sick. First, passengers should wash their hands frequently, especially before and after eating. Passengers should try to keep their hands away from their mouths and should stay away from any food or water that could be contaminated.

If you notice someone is ill, you should leave the area and alert a crewmember. Passengers should stay in their room if an illness is reported and wait for the area to be sanitized. Yes, it takes away some of the fun of the cruise ship, but if you’re already on board, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Also, before you board a cruise ship, take the time to look at the cruise line’s medical accommodations. Cruise ships are required to have at least one medical professional available at all times. All ships that hold 250 or more passengers have overnight accommodations.

If the ship comes to an American port, then an examination room, an intensive care room, and lab processing equipment are also required. But there are some major drawbacks to being out at sea without an actual hospital nearby.

First, the cruise ship doctors are not usually specialists. So, if you should need special care, there’s a good likelihood that you won’t be able to receive it. Before you book a cruise, you should call your healthcare insurer to find out if you are covered for offshore medical issues.

Also, it might be smart to purchase travel insurance. If you become seriously ill, you may need an emergency medical evacuation, which can be very costly. Remember that you can purchase insurance from an independent company instead of the cruise line itself and possibly save some money.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. For Help If You’ve Experienced A Cruise Ship Accident

At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we were disappointed to find out about the hundreds of norovirus cases on the Oasis of the Seas. We believe that cruise lines should take all of the precautions necessary to prevent all types of illness while they are at sea.

Contact us today if you or someone you know contracted an illness while at sea on a cruise ship. You may be entitled to compensation for the physical, emotional, or financial losses you experienced while being on a cruise ship. Please contact us at (786) 375-0344 today for a free and confidential consultation. You also can reach out to us online.

Latest Cruise Ship News

Posted on Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 at 7:45 am    

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) expects 30 million passengers on its cruises in 2019. Over one million employees and 290 ships are part of this organization alone, so handling the logistics of providing world-class entertainment and leisure to the travelling public is overwhelming.

There have been recent reports about the working conditions on cruise ships, bringing to light that often their crews are overworked and underpaid. Large ships require very large staffs, and many of these crew members are often forced to work more than 60 hours a week. It’s no wonder, then, that sometimes these exhausted cruise ship employees make errors that affect passengers’ wellbeing.

However, despite these reports, cruise passengers still entrust their lives to these companies and their ships. During the summer of 2019, several serious accidents occurred on board cruise ships. While each accident is unique and requires a thorough investigation to determine who is responsible, it’s clear that the cruise industry needs to work to limit on-board accidents, assaults, and illnesses.

Cruise Collisions

According to news reports, the MSC Opera crashed into the dock of Venice’s Giudecca Canal on Sunday, June 2, 2019. The crew of the ship lost control and veered into another boat, injuring at least four bystanders.

MSC Cruises’ promotional material touts the technical specs of the Opera: a nearly 66,000-ton ship capable of carrying 2,150 passengers. Unfortunately, this was not the first time the huge ship had experienced technical failures. In 2011, the Opera lost power while on a Baltic cruise, resulting in dark passageways and toilets that wouldn’t flush.

Smaller ships, like the Burdigala II, are at the same risk for technical failure and crew negligence that the large international cruise ships like the Opera. On August 19, 2019 the pleasure cruise, based in Bordeaux, crashed into the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas after losing control. Ten people were injured, including four seriously. In April 2019, a Viking river cruise called Idun crashed into a petroleum tanker. Five people were hurt.

With a history of failures like these, it’s easy to understand why passengers and governments are increasingly concerned about cruise ship safety. Accidents like the Opera’s have generated demands from local residents that large cruise ships be diverted from historic city centers. Some have even proposed banning them altogether.

Given the impact that the cruise industry has on the economies of scenic ports like Venice, complete bans are unlikely, and political infighting has made reforms difficult. Forbes reports that the media has exaggerated the scope of the proposed changes, and that they have printed stories that falsely equate public statements to current legislation. Large ships will continue to dock in major ports, and smaller vessels continue to gain popularity among people going on cruises.

On Board Assault

One danger on the high seas and on shore is alcohol. In the United States, many states have enacted laws that require bars and restaurants to monitor their customers and refuse to serve anyone who is visibly intoxicated. These “over serving” or “dram shop” laws are intended to help lower the chances of drunk driving and alcohol-influenced violence. Since revenue from alcohol makes up a significant portion of the cruise industry’s revenue, they have little incentive to limit sales.

Unfortunately, excessive alcohol consumption on board cruise ships has resulted in serious injuries for passengers. At the end of a week-long cruise around Norway, a fight broke out near a buffet of the P&O Britannia. The July 2019 clash resulted in the injury of six people, and two people were arrested on suspicion of assault.

Sexual assault is another alcohol-fueled crime that is all too common on cruise ships. In July 2019, a man was sentenced to 78 months in federal jail for sexually assaulting his colleague on a cruise. In 2015, an anonymous minor was raped by a group of men who had gotten her drunk. In the summer of 2019, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that Royal Caribbean could be sued for its failure to intervene on her behalf.

Sickness and Medical Emergencies at Sea

Good sanitation is one of the fundamental responsibilities of cruise ship companies, and also one of the most difficult to maintain consistently. The unique limitations of cruise ships—their isolation while at sea and the resulting lack of freedom of movement for passengers—can exacerbate the spread of illnesses.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) tracks the spread of disease on vessels that stop in the United States, and has implemented the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) to help mitigate common gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships.

Even with these inspections and safety precautions, illness, especially Norovirus, is still common. Perhaps the most significant recent occurrence was on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. In January 2019, 500 passengers and crew members became ill with Norovirus, resulting in an early end to the trip.

According to news reports, the Carnival Cruise Fantasy got the third-worst CDC VSP grade ever in August 2019 after inspectors found issues like unclean dishes on a galley rack designated for clean dishes and brown water coming out of shower hoses in the medical center.

Once a passenger has fallen ill on a cruise ship, they have only one treatment option: that on-board medical center. While the doctors and nurses that cruise companies employ are supposed to be trained to deal with the full range of possible medical emergencies, their tools are limited. Ships with deep sea capabilities travel far from ports, and, therefore, far from comprehensive emergency medical care.

In 2018, a man was misdiagnosed with a serious heart condition by the on-board medical staff and evacuated via an air ambulance to receive treatment. Once he reached a hospital, he was happy to learn that he had a much less serious condition.  But he is still fighting the more than $600,000 bill for his flight.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. for Help After a Cruise Ship Accident

Many people are drawn to promises of adventure and relaxation on rivers and the sea, but the cruise ship industry has continued to put passengers at risk. You deserve to have a safe vacation, and to pursue legal action if the cruise line fails to provide that. Louis A. Vucci is experienced in cruise ship litigation, and has extensive experience fighting the major cruise ship companies on the behalf of passengers.

If you have been injured as a result of the cruise ship industry’s negligence, let the cruise ship attorneys of Louis A. Vucci P.A. help make them accountable. We are ready to discuss your accident during a completely free consultation. Call us at (786) 375-0344, chat with us, or fill out our online contact form.