Vucci Law Group Cruise Ship News Archives

Norwegian Cruise Ship Collides With Pier Wall in Civitavecchia

Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2021 at 11:15 pm    

In mid-December of 2020, the Norwegian Escape cruise ship reportedly sustained significant damage after colliding with a pier wall in the major Italian cruise port of Civitavecchia, which is a central hub for cruises bound for nearby Rome. As a result of the collision, the ship was damaged on its starboard side.

While this cruise ship accident left a nasty-looking gash that seems quite deep, reports indicate that the damage was confined to areas above the ship’s waterline, so the vessel remains seaworthy. More importantly, no injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

Early reports suggested that the Escape hit a pier wall in Civitavecchia as it was arriving and making its way toward the dock. However, further evaluation showed this was likely not the case. At this time, authorities are not certain what caused the damage but note that the causes of many similar accidents are weather-related.

The Escape’s accident is far from the only pier collision to occur within recent memory. Another notable example from August of 2018 involved the Carnival Horizon sustaining damage after striking Pier 90 at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. The collision also caused significant damage to the pier, but thankfully, no injuries were reported in this instance either.

What to Do If You Were Involved in a Cruise Ship Accident

Unfortunately, not every cruise ship passenger is lucky enough to avoid physical or psychological injury after a cruise ship accident. While no one ever expects to be harmed during a cruise vacation, cruise ship accident injuries can and do occur as a result of cruise lines’ negligence. Common causes of cruise ship accident injuries include:

  • Inadequate or negligent security
  • Failure to adhere to appropriate safety policies and procedures
  • Failure to maintain cruise ships in acceptably safe conditions

No matter the circumstances surrounding your cruise ship accident, if you were injured on a cruise ship as a result of the cruise line’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries and other accident-related losses. To protect your rights, your health, and your ability to recover compensation for the accident, Louis A. Vucci P.A. recommends taking the following simple steps:

  • Report your injury – If you were injured as a result of the cruise ship accident, report your injuries to the ship’s crew immediately. If your injuries require medical attention, visit the ship’s medical center for evaluation, too.
  • Take photographs – Don’t rely on the crew of the ship to document your accident. Take pictures of your visible injuries as soon as possible, so you have photographic evidence in case you decide to file a claim later on.
  • Talk to witnesses – If any loved ones or other eyewitnesses were present at the time you were injured, ask them to provide statements regarding the incident. Make sure to request witnesses’ contact details, too, in case you need to follow up in the future.
  • Request copies of your medical reports and other documents – If possible, talk to the ship’s crew or medical center staff and request any medical records, reports, or other personal documents that were generated for your voyage. This kind of documentation often contains important evidence that could support your injury claim.
  • Talk to a cruise ship accident attorney – A skilled cruise ship lawyer can help you document your injuries, gather evidence to support your case, and negotiate assertively for the compensation you’re due.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. Today

Contact a personal injury law firm that specializes in cruise ship accidents to discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation. The cruise ship accident attorneys of Louis A. Vucci P.A. are exclusively dedicated to injury claims involving cruise ship injuries and assaults, and we are standing by to take immediate action in your case.

Cruise Captain Responsible for Venice Ship Crash in 2019, Report Says

Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2021 at 11:04 pm    

A recent report indicates that a 2019 incident in which a cruise ship struck the banks near the port of Venice was caused by the captain’s incompetence.

On June 2, 2019, the MSC Opera was maneuvering through the canals of Venice when it struck the banks of the channel. The crash damaged the banks and rammed into a smaller river cruiser, injuring four elderly tourists.

Prior assurances from officials suggested that cruise ships posed no danger to the people or buildings of Venice because the vessels never entered the channels under their own power and were pulled by tugs. However, that appears to have not been the case with the MSC Opera. A report filed by three Italian naval experts with the local public prosecutor indicates that the blame for the crash lies with the Opera’s captain and crew, and that the accident was caused in part because the ship entered the channel while using its own propellers.

The report from the naval experts says the Opera had entered one of the channels in Venice under its own power when the ship’s steering system failed. The report indicates that the captain was notified that the ship’s steering had failed, but the captain failed to notify the channel pilots who had come onboard shortly beforehand.

Furthermore, the captain failed to press a button that would have instantly stopped the ship’s engines, causing it to drift uncontrollably while being pulled by the tugs. Because the ship’s engines were still operating, the tugs could not adequately steer the ship, and one of the lines connecting the cruise ship to the tugs snapped. Once the tugs lost control of the ship, it drifted toward the banks of the canal, where it rammed a river cruiser before colliding with the shore.

Cruise ships passing through the venerable canals of Venice have been a growing concern for local residents and those who wish to protect the city’s historical architecture. Cruise ships bring tourists and lots of money to the local economy, but the Opera crash illustrates the potential dangers these large vessels bring to both people and property alike.

The requirement to have cruise ships pulled through the canals by tugs was meant to reassure locals in Venice that these vessels would not do any harm to their community. If cruise lines and their crews do not follow these guidelines, as in the case of the Opera, then future crashes could do catastrophic damage.

Call Louis A. Vucci P.A. Today If You’ve Been Involved in a Cruise Ship Accident

The case of the MSC Opera shows what can happen when cruise lines don’t take safety precautions seriously. Though the injuries were relatively minor in this instance, these kinds of accidents can cause serious harm to both passengers and crew members, and even get them killed in some cases.

If you’ve been involved in a cruise ship accident, the team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. has the experience and knowledge to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today at (786) 375-0344 or visit our contact page for your free initial consultation.

Costa Cruises Flagship Damages Pier in Italy After Crashing During Technical Stop

Posted on Friday, January 29th, 2021 at 10:42 pm    

An Italian cruise ship reportedly damaged both itself and shoreside equipment on a nearby pier in Savona, Italy, on January 22, 2021, according to news reports.

The ship in question is the Costa Smeralda, the flagship of the Italian cruise line Costa Cruises. According to reports, the accident occurred when the ship was attempting to dock in Savona. Photos and video of the scene show the Costa Smeralda approaching the dock at a quick pace before one of the ship’s lifeboats was caught on a shoreside crane. Once the lifeboat was caught, it was heavily damaged and ripped from the ship.

As the damaged lifeboat was ripped from its position, its movement damaged another lifeboat on the Costa Smeralda before landing in the water. The Smeralda’s maneuver also damaged the port terminal’s silo system and several shore cranes, which were pushed off of their rails.

Initial reports indicate that the cause of the accident is unclear. Police, port authority personnel, and other law enforcement agencies were reportedly at the scene and beginning to investigate the crash. Though the damage to the ship is relatively minor, lifeboats are considered essential safety equipment on cruise ships, so it’s unlikely that the Costa Smeralda will sail again anytime soon.

There were no passengers on board the Costa Smeralda at the time of the crash, and no injuries were reported. The Costa Smeralda, which was delivered in 2019, is the flagship of Costa Cruises. Costa is a subsidiary of Carnival Cruises, the international cruise behemoth with headquarters in Doral, FL. At the time of its completion, the Costa Smeralda was the fifth-largest cruise ship in the world, measuring 1,105 feet (337 meters) long and weighing 185,010 tons.

Costa Cruises Delays Restart of Operations

In a remarkable coincidence, the accident occurred on the same day Costa Cruises had decided to postpone the restart of operations until March 13, 2021. The company said it had delayed restarting cruises because current health restrictions imposed by the Italian government would prevent guests from being able to fully enjoy the experience at different ports. Costa has said that it is reaching out to guests and travel agents who are impacted by the postponement.

The Costa Smeralda was scheduled for several cruises on or after March 13, when Costa Cruises had planned to resume operations, but it’s unclear how this accident will impact those plans.

Injured in a Cruise Ship Accident? Call Louis A. Vucci P.A. Today

Though nobody appears to have been injured in this accident involving the Costa Smeralda, passengers and crew alike could have been hurt had things gone differently. Cruise lines have a responsibility to protect both their passengers and their crew members. When these companies fail in that responsibility, they need to be held accountable for their actions.

If you’ve been injured in a cruise ship accident, get an experienced cruise injury lawyer to help you with your case. Get a free consultation from Louis A. Vucci P.A. today by calling (786) 375-0344 or visiting our contact page.

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.

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.

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.

The Current State of the Cruise Ship Business

Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 8:47 am    

The cruise ship business is one that is constantly growing. Companies feel pressure to compete with each other and to innovate the cruise experience to make each voyage more exciting than the last. As a result, these companies often make problematic business decisions, which require excessive amounts of money and occasionally lead to them going to court. Additionally, climate change and rising sea levels are a growing concern within the cruise line business, and cruise companies are being forced to start thinking about the future of their businesses.

Between their large construction projects, constant innovation, criminal activity, and negligence on the part of operators or staff, cruise lines have been in the headlines a lot lately, and as passengers who can be hurt by the negligence of these major cruise operators, we should all be paying attention to the state of the industry and the dangers that cruises pose to consumers. 

Recent Lawsuits Against the Cruise Lines

Recently, three people (one from the Bahamas and two from Alaska), told a court they wanted to be recognized as victims of Carnival Corporation’s environmental crimes. This came up during a trial between Carnival and federal prosecutors over the company’s illegal dumping of over 500,000 gallons of treated sewage into the ocean. The Carnival Corporation eventually pleaded guilty to these crimes and as a result paid $40 million in fines and was put on probation for five years.

During those probationary years, their court-appointed monitor found that they continued violating international environmental laws through the burning unfiltered heavy fuel oil and other illegal activities such as falsifying records, dumping plastic into the ocean, using a back channel to communicate with the Coast Guard, failing to give their environmental compliance officer the level of authority outlined in their probation, and improperly preparing their ships ahead of visits by the court-appointed monitor.

The Grand Princess, one of the ships owned by Carnival, even docked in Alaska in 2017 with a dead whale on the bow of the ship. As a result, they were put back on trial for violating their probation, during which the judge threatened to ban the company’s ships from docking at U.S. ports. The public wrote letters urging her to punish the cruise line for their repeated violations.

Safety Concerns

Another concerning trend in cruise line behavior is a sense of disdain for the safety of their passengers and a lack of regulations to protect their safety. For example, MSC cruises was sued by the mother of a 14-year old girl who was sexually assaulted by one of their crew members. The cruise line did not look at employment history or perform a background check before hiring the crew member. The girl was on the cruise with her grandparents and older sister because her younger brother had his finger amputated by a door and her parents disembarked to take him to the hospital. MSC was sued for “failing to provide reasonably safe conditions” aboard the ship, which led to the assault of a minor.

Carnival Cruise Lines had eight reports of sexual assaults between October 1st and December 31st of 2018, and Royal Caribbean had six. On the topic of passenger safety, Royal Caribbean also had issues with the Sky Pad, one of their onboard attractions that features a trampoline with bungee cords that allow a passenger to jump even higher than normal. They were forced to shut down the Sky Pad after one of the cords snapped and a passenger broke his pelvis.

Booming Revenues

Despite their repeated offenses in terms of the safety of their passengers and environmental regulations, the cruise industry continues to grow and companies continue to have enough money to think about the future of their businesses. 18 new cruise ships were set to launch this year, and the industry is expected to bring in a whopping $134 billion. Many believe that the growth in the industry is largely due to millennials and retirees, but the impact they are having on the overall popularity of cruise lines is enormous. Companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to update their vessels and attract these new audiences. The Sky Pad aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Mariner ship was one of the updated attractions that Royal Caribbean brought aboard during a $100 million remodel meant to attract millennials such as the 25-year-old who broke his pelvis.

With this rapid growth, there are growing concerns about the environmental impact of these expansions, especially if companies continue to behave as if they are above the law when it comes to environmental regulations. Additionally, companies are constantly looking for the next big thing in onboard entertainment and are making investments to develop the industry in places like China. One recent trend that companies are starting to have to pay attention to is climate change and rising sea levels.

Royal Caribbean is planning to spend $300 million to make their new PortMiami office look like an enormous ship, and one of the updates they are planning is to make sure their structures are at least 15 feet above sea level, as rising sea levels are a growing concern. Another reason Royal Caribbean is investing such a large sum of money to build their new office in Miami is to make the cruise line competitive when it comes to recruiting employees who are the best of the best. If they are going to compete with the rest of the growing industry to gain customers, they have to recruit the best staff.

Another example of companies trying to compete is that MSC recently purchased their own private island, Ocean Cay, which all of their cruises out of PortMiami will stop at. The company is working to build a larger terminal along PortMiami that won’t be completed until 2022, though in MSC’s case executives declined to say whether or not they were concerned about rising sea levels. Two other cruise lines, Norweigan Cruise line, and Virgin Voyages, are currently constructing new terminals in the same area.

Hurt in An Accident? Call Us For Help

As the cruise line industry expands and companies continue to make mistakes, it becomes more and more important for us to hold them liable when they do something illegal or endanger the lives of their passengers. The cruise ship attorneys of Louis A. Vucci P.A. are ready to sit down with you and discuss your accident when you call us at (786) 375-0344 or when you reach out to us online. Our consultations are always 100% free and confidential, so there is no risk to reach out to us.