Vucci Law Group Passenger Claims Archives

COVID-19 Puts Cruise Ships on Cruise Control 

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

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

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

More Than One Hurdle for Cruise Lines

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

Memories Haven’t Faded and Neither Have the Lawsuits

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Court of Appeals finds for plaintiffs in norovirus lawsuit against cruise line

Posted on Friday, October 14th, 2016 at 5:23 pm    

In the case of Swift & others v. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, the defendant made an appeal regarding the court’s decision, which favored 16 claimants who alleged that Fred Olsen Cruise Lines did not perform their proper level of care. In particular, they say they failed meet provisions set forth under the Athens Convention of 1974, thus causing them to contract norovirus.

The judge asked whether the failure to implement the outbreak and control plan caused the passengers to contract the norovirus. In dismissing the cruise operator’s appeal, the Court of Appeals ruled that the judge that handled the case did so in an unbiased manner.

If you have sustained injury and incurred losses because of a personal injury accident that happened aboard a cruise ship, our attorneys at Louis A. Vucci P.A. can help you file the appropriate lawsuit. Call our offices today at (786) 375-0344 to see how we can hold negligent people responsible for your plight.

Norwegian Cruise Line gets $2.8M personal injury claim trimmed down to less than $10,000

Posted on Wednesday, August 10th, 2016 at 9:22 pm    

Bermuda-incorporated, Miami, Florida-based Norwegian Cruise Line on Tuesday, July 20 managed to trim down the $2.8 million personal injury claim that a Dawn-class cruise ship Norwegian Star passenger, Samira Jaber, lodged against it, to less than $10,000. They casting doubt on the medical testimony given by neuropsychologist Jorge Herrera, the medical expert who backed Jaber’s claims that the January 2013 accident in the cruise ship caused her to sustain persistent headaches, ringing in the ears, and memory loss.

After United States District Judge James Lawrence King in Miami reviewed the facts, he decided that Jaber’s CT scan, which was done at a hospital in Cozumel, Mexico during the cruise verified that she did not suffer from traumatic brain injury.

In addition, Jerry Hamilton, Norwegian Cruise Line’s legal counsel, was able to prove that Herrera only examined limited records that Jaber’s lawyers gave. Herrera also admitted that even Jaber told him that she said to her own doctor that she did not feel dizzy, nauseous, or had headaches, two weeks after the incident.

Cruise trips can be considered as an affordable travel option for individuals or families looking to unwind and have a good time away from their homes. However, the negative thing about taking a cruise trip is that passengers are put at risk of being exposed to injurious situations. Get in touch with our attorneys at Louis A. Vucci P.A. today by calling our offices at (786) 375-0344 if you need help with filing a lawsuit against individuals or other parties who are responsible for your cruise ship injury accident.

Royal Caribbean refuses to take blame for man who went overboard

Posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2015 at 12:30 pm    

The spouse of a man who went overboard and is now presumed dead a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is fighting with the company about the circumstances of his death.

Bernardo Elbaz’s fall was captured in a chilling video, after he had apparently fallen from the seventh deck of the ship onto a lifeboat one deck below. The video shows him clinging to a metal support beam as other passengers watched and screamed until he eventually lost his grip and falls overboard.

Elbaz’s husband, Erik Elbaz, insists that Bernardo had jumped to his death because of how devastated and upset he was for repeatedly being told anti-gay slurs by crew members. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has ruled the death a suicide, citing a reported domestic disturbance on board.

Erik Elbaz’s lawyer, Michael Winkleman, asserts that the man didn’t jump when he went overboard, and that the video proves that both of Bernardo Elbaz’s falls were results of failures by Royal Caribbean staff.

Royal Caribbean disputed this assertion in a statement that said, “The attorney’s disproven claims that our security staff had any culpability in this tragedy are shameful and offensive.”

10-year-old drowns aboard Norwegian Gem

Posted on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 at 2:49 pm    

A 10-year-old New York girl lost her life on May 18 while onboard a cruise ship – the Miami-Dade County based Norwegian Gem, which is owned by the Norwegian Cruise Line Corp Ltd, the Huffington Post reported.

The cruise ship had departed for a seven-day cruise in Florida and the Bahamas. According to a press statement about the incident, the cruise ship’s medical team was called to an emergency at the pool deck, where the young female passenger was unconscious. Although the responders performed CPR, she remained unresponsive.

After the child’s death, the Norwegian Gem made its way from 75 miles off the coats of Myrtle Beach to Port Canaveral in Florida.

This event is preceded by another tragic fatal drowning accident; a four-year-old boy died on the same ship in 2014 by drowning, while his friend was airlifted by the Coast Guard for immediate treatment.

The Norwegian Gem, like other cruise ship giants Carnival and the Royal Caribbean, does not employ lifeguards to watch over the ship’s swimming pools.

Carnival Triumph passengers seek damage compensation

Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2014 at 8:58 pm    

The decision on whether passengers of Carnival’s Triumph will receive compensation will be announced soon.

Witness testimonies officially wrapped up on Wednesday, March 5, with U.S. District Judge Donald Graham saying he would issue a decision regarding damage payments at a later date.

The 893-foot Triumph departed from Galveston, Texas on Feb. 7, 2013. Part of the ship burned after a fire broke out in the engine room on February 10. The ship, which had been stuck in the Gulf of Mexico for five days, was finally towed to Mobile, Alabama on February 14.

Carnival management offered each shipwrecked passenger a $500 check, vouchers for future cruise trips, refunds for on-board expenses, and reimbursement for transportation and parking fees.

While cruises provide travelers with plenty of fun opportunities, people can become injured.  If you have been injured during your time on a cruise ship you could be eligible to pursue compensation. The attorneys of the Louis A. Vucci P.A., specialize in representing people that have been injured on a cruise ship. Call (786) 375-0344 to speak with a member of our team.


Norovirus outbreak affects 600 Royal Caribbean passengers

Posted on Monday, January 27th, 2014 at 6:40 pm    

Explorer of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean International ship, was scheduled to sail for 10 days. However, after more than 600 passengers became ill from norovirus, the cruise line decided to return to the port two days earlier than scheduled.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Bernadette Burden confirmed the number of the affected passengers on the ship, stating that around 577 of the 3,050 passengers and 49 of 1,165 crew members were suffering from vomiting and diarrhea while on the cruise.

Royal Caribbean said in a statement that the outbreak has led the cruise ship to be “unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting.”

The ship took to the seas on Tuesday, January 21 from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, and made it to the Caribbean, before returning to home port on Wednesday, January 22.

Our lawyers at the Louis A. Vucci P.A., have experience helping passengers of cruise ships that have suffered from norovirus outbreaks. To find out more about pursuing financial compensation for suffering experienced as a result of a cruise line’s negligence, call (786) 375-0344.

Cruise passengers experience gastrointestinal illness on Royal Caribbean ship

Posted on Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 at 1:41 pm    

According to Miami, Florida-based Royal International Caribbean officials, guests and crew members on the Majesty of the Seas ship have suffered from gastrointestinal illnesses that doctors presume are caused by the norovirus. 68 people total, or around 2.5% of the 2,581 passengers and crew, were affected.

Cruise officials tried to take precautions to ensure that illnesses would not spread throughout the trip, including asking passengers when they boarded the cruise ship on Friday, January 17 if they had developed any gastrointestinal problems within the last three days.

Last year, the Vessel Sanitation Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed nine incidences of gastrointestinal illness outbreaks on cruise ships. This happens when 3% or more members of the passengers or crew suddenly show symptoms of the illness while the ship is at sail.

When on a cruise ship, you should be able to expect clean and sanitary conditions that do not allow for illness outbreaks such as this. Thus, if you have been affected by an undue illness on a cruise ship, call (786) 375-0344. Our attorneys at the Louis A. Vucci P.A., can help you explore your legal options for filing a passenger claim and possibly begin taking legal action.

Cruise ship lawsuit ruling reversed by appeals court

Posted on Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 at 10:35 pm    

In a 2-1 decision issued Wednesday, December 4, the Florida Third District Court of Appeals reversed an earlier trial court ruling, stating that cruise ship doctor Dr. Chris Taylor, who was being sued, was not covered by the trial court’s jurisdiction.

The case was originally filed by a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, Ms. Gutierrez and her husband. The claimants alleged that Gutierrez was subjected to medical malpractice by Taylor, causing her to suffer from sepsis, multiple organ failure, and a cerebral hemorrhage, resulting in brain injury.

According to the lawsuit, Ms. Gutierrez and her husband rode the cruise ship in May 2010 and left from Port Everglades, Florida. As the ship neared Labadee, Haiti, Gutierrez felt intense abdominal cramps and was treated by Dr. Chris Taylor, the ship’s medical practitioner, for gastritis when she was actually suffering from a more severe medical condition.

Unfortunately, as this case demonstrates, passengers on cruise ships can be injured, causing them to need justice and compensation from the cruise ship. If you have been harmed on a cruise ship, whether due to medical crew malpractice or other negligence on the behalf of the crew, our lawyers at the Louis A. Vucci P.A., may be able to help you fight for compensation. Discuss your options by calling (786) 375-0344 today.