Cuba Imprisons Canadian Tourist Involved in Water Excursion Accident

Cuba remains a popular tourist attraction, especially for Canadians who visit the island. But there are dangers there which few tourists may realize.

Newspapers in Canada are reporting that a 47 year old Canadian tourist from Quebec, who was on vacation in Cuba with his wife and two young daughters, is facing criminal charges after a boating excursion accident in Cuba killed another Canadian tourist.

CTV News reports that the Canadian tourist, Toufik Benhamiche, was "driving a small boat as part of a tourist excursion in July 2017 when the boat veered out of control and fatally struck a woman fromTravel to Cuba Ontario."

A Cuban court found the tourist guilty of criminal negligence and sentenced him to four years in prison. 

Mr. Benhamiche and his family were enjoying a week-long family vacation in Cayo Coco, Cuba. He had flown to Cuba as part of a tour organized and sold by a Canadian tour company, Sunwing, whose Cuban partner organized the water tour through another Cuban sub-contractor. The article explains that the fatal accident took place during an adventure tour reportedly offered by Sunwing's local Cuban partner, Gaviota Tours, which reportedly subcontracted the boat portion to the Cuban company, Marlin SA.

Mr. Benhamiche's lawyer Julius Grey said that he intends to bring a legal action against Sunwing for the failure of company and its local tour operators to provide basic instructions regarding the watercraft and permitting the small vessel to be overloaded. According to the Canadian newspaper, Mr. Grey alleges that his client was provided with inadequate direction on how to pilot the boat. He stated: "it's obvious they're at fault . . . our client had been taught nothing, knew nothing, did not have a license and was told he could just do it for a few dollars."

Although this incident obviously does not involve a cruise, it raises a common issue when tourists are injured in foreign countries by the negligence of local tour partners. This case is unusual because the tourist was arrested for what appears to be a case of simple negligence.  

The tourist's lawyer was critical of both Cuba and Canada. He criticied the Canadian government for not assisting the Canadian who was arrested and imprisoned in Cuba following the excursion accident. The lawyer stated that Cuba was trying to protect a Cuban company which it is responsible for from a "potentially high liability" for the deadly accident. 

Gaviota Group is a popular Cuba company which provides a wide range of tours in Cuba, including sail boats and jet skis. Marlin SA is also a popular Cuban company which offers sailing, fishing, and jet skis tours to tourists visiting Cuba. 

One account of the incident, from the Canadian newspaper La Presse, indicates that the "Cuban state . . .  is the true owner of the Marlin company." The newspaper also states that three employees of Marlin were initially charged with criminal wrongdoing but the Cuban government eventually withdrew these charges, leaving the Canadian tourist as the soul culprit.

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Floating Drydocks at Sea - A Growing Problem?

AIDAperlaPassengers aboard the Norwegian Sun are still complaining about the massive renovation projects that ruined their two week cruise from Miami through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles several weeks ago. 

We wrote about the problem almost three weeks ago in an article titled NCL's Panama Canal Fiasco Cruise. The Miami Herald just reported on the continued fallout from the large scale project yesterday in They booked a two-week Norwegian cruise. Instead, they got a 'nightmare at sea.'  

For a cruise where customers paid for what should have been a relaxing and care-free vacation at sea, NCL scheduled the sanding and application of noxious smelling chemicals and compounds throughout the open decks of the ship. Ship employees and contractors involved in the work were wearing respirators due to the dust but the passengers were left to inhale dust generated by the work. 

The project obviously should have taken place in a dry-dock. The heavy construction caused NCL to shut down numerous bars, deck spaces and restaurants. The work also risked the health and personal AIDAperlasafety of the guests. Photos from the Facebook page, Panama Canal Sun, show paint particles and metal shards covering the decks. Doors leading to muster stations on the ship were blocked which seems dangerous, especially considering the buckets of flammable chemicals stored all over the decks. Many passengers complained of burning, itching and runny eyes and difficulty breathing due to the strong fumes and/or particles.

But cruise industry supporters told the Miami Herald that a cruise ship undergoing construction projects outside of a dry dock is not uncommon (although the level of construction on the Norwegian Sun was quite unusual).

Over the years we have been contacted by dozens of cruise passengers who have complained that grinding of exterior decks, painting of portions of the ship exteriors and other noisy and smelly projects ruined their vacations. Take a moment and read our article HAL's Upgraded Cabin From Hell. Watch the video here

I have always been amazed that a travel/vacation company of any type would subject their customers to such an inconvenience, much less a health hazard like what happened on the Norwegian Sun

But cruise lines don't make money unless they are sailing their ships. The industry's enormous tax-free profits come from shipboard activities like sales from the casinos, shore excursions, gift shops, AIDAperlaspecialty restaurants and the tremendous amount of booze sold during cruises. Several thousand  passengers each paying many thousands of dollars in cruise fares and many hundreds of dollars in onboard purchases is simply too much loot for greedy cruise executives to walk away from. 

We typically don't get involved in such disputes. But writing about such bait-and-switch tactics seems to be an insight in the nickel-and-dime mentalities of many cruise lines.   

I was recently contacted by a German couple who is cruising with their young child on the AIDAperla, which I understand to be the newest and most modern cruise ship of AIDA Cruises. AIDA did not bother to tell them that some of the pools were closed due to renovations/repairs taking place during the cruise. Passengers witnessed grinding and sanding which required workers to use masks or respirators (top left) during the project. Paint and chemicals were stored on the deck next to passengers sitting around the emplty pool (middle right).  Experiencing such inconveniences would seem to be the last thing that any guest should expect from a new ship (launched just last year).

But the Carnival-owned cruise line brushed off the couple's complaints, offering just an onboard credit of 30 euros for the adults and a 15 euro credit for the child - after the German couple paid over 1,200 euros for the cruise which left Hamburg.    

I suppose that this inconvenience is a far cry from the outrageous conduct of NCL in the Norwegian Sun fiasco, which eventually resulted in a "full cruise refund" after the passengers organized themselves and their complaints went viral.   But it all seems reflective of the we-take-our-guests for granted if not outright contemptuous attitude of many cruise managers and executives toward their passengers.

Have you encountered a similar inconvenience or aggravation during a cruise that you paid for your family? How did the cruise line respond?  Join the conversation on out Facebook page.  

Photo and video credit: Anonymous

Lawsuits Against Miami-Based Cruise Lines: Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean

Bloomberg Legal reports today that according to data which it collected over the last several years, 83 federal personal injury cases were filed against cruise lines in the first three months of 2018. Bloomberg concludes that this figure continues an upward trend over the last two years in which 188 negligence suits were filed against cruise lines in in 2017 and 164 in 2016. 

Bloomberg also states that "personal injury cases against the three biggest cruise lines - Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings - accounted for 78 to 87 percent of all federal litigation they faced over the last five years, according to the data which it collected. 

Bloomberg explains that the lawsuits "often involve slip-and-fall claims, but recent complaints also Miami Cruise Linesallege serious illnesses and injuries worsened by shipboard medical decisions."

The article does not explain that according to the terms and conditions in the passenger contracts, most cruise lines require that all legal claims be filed in the cruise line's home city, such as Miami for Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean. These terms have been held to be binding by the United States Supreme Court in Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute, 499 U.S. 585 (1991).

Cruise lines based outside of Miami typically require that lawsuit be filed in the location of the city or state where their headquarters are based. For example, Holland America Line requires Seattle, Washington and Princess Cruises requires California.  

Cruise lines now require that lawsuits be filed in federal court, which is typically more conservative than state court. 

Although the article suggests that litigation against cruise lines is on the rise compared to the last two years, the fact of the matter is that lawsuits filed against the cruise industry have dropped off substantially compared to 15 years ago.

For the five year period from 2001 to 2006, there was an average of 423 lawsuits filed a year against cruise lines, according to the Miami Herald article "Law on the High Seas," by Amy Martinez (article at bottom). In contrast, for the last two years (2016-2017), there was an average of only 176 according to the data collected by Bloomberg, which is just 40% of the 2001-2006 average (even though over 50% fewer people were cruising fifteen years ago).

The reason for this decline is that most cruise lines no longer permit crew members to file lawsuits in the  U.S., but instead require the filing of international arbitration where judges and juries are not permitted. 

The only lawsuits which are now permitted to be filed against the cruise industry involve passengers who are injured during cruises.

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Photo credit: Marc Averette - Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 wikipedia

Lawsuits Against Cruise Lines

Suspicious Death Reported on Carnival Vista?

Carnival Vista Several passenger who disembarked from the Carnival Vista today stated that there was a suspicious death on the cruise ship near the end of the eight day cruise leaving from and returning to Miami.

One of the passengers stated that yesterday (Saturday) there was an announcement over the ship's intercom where a passenger's name (which I will keep anonymous) was repeatedly paged to report to guest services. The ship was approximately 20 miles from Cuba at the time. 

"I just debarked from Carnival Vista. There was a death on the 6th floor and they kept someone inside their cabin with security not allowing them to leave the room . . . There was a man with a black jacket that said “Security” sitting outside of the door with a walkie talkie and a clip board with a pen."   

The passenger sent me a number of photos and videos which she took of the of the cabin door sealed with a sign which stated: "DO NOT ENTER This is a secured area and can only be entered with authorization by the Captain or Staff Captain"

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Photo credit: Passenger Carnival Vista passenger (anonymous) 

Overboard Passenger from Pacific Dawn Raises Questions Regarding P&O Cruises' Credibility

The disappearance of a 47 year-old woman last week from P&O Cruises' Pacific Dawn was one of 213 people overboard from cruise ships in the last decade and one of 7 disappearances in less than 4 months this year alone. The incident raises the fundamental issue whether it is, in fact, possible for someone to fall off a cruise ship. 

I have written about nearly 200 overboard incidents since I started this blog eight and a-half years ago.  The single most common comment which I hear is that it's impossible for someone to fall off of a cruise ship. When I reported on the recent overboard incident on the Pacific Dawn, the first comment was passengers don't just fall off of a cruise ship.

But based on some of the eye-witness accounts, that is exactly what might have happened on the Pacific Dawn. 

The 47-year-old passenger from Brisbane, Australia, was reportedly with her husband on an exterior Pacific Dawn Overboarddeck, about 15 feet away from where other passengers were playing table tennis inside the cruise ship. Several passengers said the woman "went outside to vomit as she was seasick," according to an Australian newspaper the Courier Mail.

One eye-witness told the Courier Mail that the woman began to vomit while leaning over a railing when she lost her footing and went overboard.

Another passenger, who expressed condolences to the family of the woman, posted a somber photograph (right) of an empty deck and the railing where the woman apparently went overboard. The low railings immediately caught my eye. 

A standard sized life-ring, which you can see mounted slightly above the deck, is only 28-30 inches in diameter, which suggests that the top of the top of railing is probably no more than a total of 40 to 42 inches in height. 

One of the eye-witnesses took a photograph of the railing (below right) which was published in several newspapers. The photo shows four crew members standing around the deck railing. Two of the crew members are leaning on the railing with one crew member is standing in the middle nearby the railing, which appears to barely come to the crew members' waists and the middle crew member's hips.

Several years ago, when I attended a series of Congressional hearings in Washington, D.C. on proposed legislation to require the cruise lines to raise the height of railing on their ships, the cruise lines refused to consider raising their ships' railings Pacific Dawn Overboardto more than 42 inches.

The cruise industry has known for years that passengers who have puked (due to being either sick or intoxicated) over the railings on cruise ships sometimes have fallen overboard in the process. Yet, the cruise lines consistently resisted agreeing to higher railings. They felt that a higher raising would have been too expensive to retrofit on their fleet of ships.

Eventually, when the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) was finally passed into law in 2010 in the U.S., the cruise industry successfully had lobbied for the lower (42 inch) provision.

Before the Pacific Dawn even finished its cruise following the woman's disappearance, news reports announced that P&O Cruises already intended to argue that the woman intentionally went overboard. MSN reported that although "early reports suggested the woman was suffering from sea sickness and had been vomiting over the side," a representative for P&O said "there was nothing to suggest anything of this kind" despite the fact that there were high waves and strong winds at the time. Another newspaper reported that: "9NEWS understands cruise liner P&O will claim its early investigation has concluded that 'it appears the missing person has jumped with the husband attempting to catch her unsuccessfully.'"  9News reported that a ship's security camera footage allegedly showed the passenger "deliberately launching herself over the side" of the ship, according to P&O.

By the time that the ship had returned to Brisbane, the cruise line had already revealed the woman's name to the press and implied that she may have committed suicide. 

It's troubling to see a cruise line dispute eye-witness accounts, state that it intends to prove the passenger intentionally went overboard even before law enforcement boards the ship, and then reveal the name of the victim to the media.

Police "investigators" have apparently now reviewed the surveillance film and agreed with P&O's pre-determined conclusions. But notably absent in the media statements, from either the police or the cruise line, is there any mention that the video shows the woman climbing up on the railings. 

Whatever occurred on the Pacific Dawn, this would not be the first time that a cruise line may have falsely reported that an overboard passenger committed suicide.

Have a comment? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

We suggest reading: "Suicide" - One of the Cruise Lines' Favorite Excuses When a Passenger Disappears at Sea.

Photograph credit: Top - Twitter via hashhag @vviivviieennnne and Fox News; bottom - Channel 10/Twitter via Courier Mail and Associated Newspapers Limited via MSN.com

Passenger Goes Overboard From Anthem of the Seas

Late yesterday afternoon, a young man was reported overboard from the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas which was heading back to its home port in Bayonne, New Jersey at the time of the incident.

The overboard occurred around 4 P.M. yesterday. The Anthem arrived in Bayonne early this (Saturday) morning. 

The cruise ship was returning from a trip to the Bahamas.

Anthem of the Seas OverboardA passenger on the Anthem stated that a "an overboard alarm sounded onboard the Anthem of the Seas . . . followed by (an) announcement saying they are searching 'for one of your fellow passengers,'and asking passengers to stay clear of the decks where they are operating life boats. They are asking passengers to keep a look out. The ship did a hard turn to return to the man overboard spot."

We reported the incident on our Facebook page

Royal Caribbean has released a statement stating that “we are sorry to report that a guest on board Anthem of the Seas was observed intentionally going overboard while the ship was en route to Cape Liberty, New Jersey.”

The passenger was reportedly a 24-year-old man from the United States. Passengers on the ship state that he apparently jumped from an upper deck near the stern of the ship. 

The Norwegian Gem participated in the search which was not successful in locating the passenger. The U.S. Coast Guard also sent search aircraft.

Please leave a message below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Passenger Reported Overboard From P&O's Pacific Dawn

ABC News in Australia reports that a woman has gone overboard from the P&O Pacific Dawn today. The cruise ship left Brisbane, Australia last weekend on a cruise of the Pacific Islands. 

The P&O ship is now conducting a search for the missing guest. 

P&O released a statement today stating that a crew member observed the unidentified woman going overboard from the ship around 4 P.M. today (April 12, 2018).  The incident reportedly occurred when Overboard Pacific Dawnthe Pacific Dawn was approximately 300 kilometers west of New Caledonia.

The crew member apparently notified the bridge and the ship turned to conduct a search. Other vessels in the vicinity assisted in the search. 

A spokesperson for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said that the ship faced three-to-four-meter swells and high winds (55 kph winds).

According to cruise expert Professor Ross Klein, at least 308 people have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000.

According to the Herald Sun, a passenger on the cruise ship posted a photograph of a life ring in the water about an hour after the ship began its search, stating that the passenger had not yet been located although it was getting dark at the time.

"Horrendous here on ship. Man over board an hour ago. Ship going round and round searching." pic.twitter.com/jpC0NGRomU — Jonathan Trevithick (@JonTrevithick) April 12, 2018

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April 12, 2018 P.M.Update: New details emerge regarding the passenger reported overboard from the Pacific Dawn earlier this morning - From news.com.au: "A cruise ship passenger who was lost at sea had gone onto the deck because she felt sick and was knocked overboard by a freak wave."

MSC Armonia Crashes Into Dock in Roatan

Roatan Pier MAC ArmoniaThe MSC Armonia crashed into the dock in Roatan, Honduras today, according to videos which were posted on Youtube. The MSC cruise ship is shown coming into the port at a higher than normal rate of speed. In addition to the vesel damage, there was significant damage to the pier. 

There are several videos of the incident.

Some of the videos show damage to the ship along the forward, port side of the ship.

I first saw the video on the popular gCaptain site

The incident is reminiscent of an incident in Alaska when the Celebrity Infinity struck a wharf in Ketchikan two years ago.   

Have a comment? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Video credit: Nessy Warren; photo - La Prensa  

 

"Missing" MSC Crew Member: A Victim of Exploitation?

Yusmaidys Ortiz Perez MSC OperaA MSC crew member who stayed in Grand Cayman last month, when her cruise ship left port, was sentenced to three months in prison for illegally remaining on the island. 

As we previously reported, 34 year old Yusmaidys Ortiz Perez, employed as a bartender on the MSC Opera, was reported by MSC to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service four days after the ship left Grand Caymen after she did not return to the cruise ship. The woman was eventually located safe on the island, although the cruise line never explained why it delayed four days before reporting that she did not return to the ship before it left the country.

At the hearing last Friday regarding Ms. Ortiz Perez's decision to  illegally remain in the Caymans, her defense lawyer reportedly told the court that Ms. Ortiz Perez “broke down” after leaving the ship because her a manager on the cruise ship was “exploiting” her, according to the Cayman Compass.  (He also reportedly stated that her partner in her home country of Cuba had allegedly "threatened to kill her"). 

Ms. Ortiz Perez reportedly told the court that “while on the ship, she was exploited by a manager and she was asked to perform certain duties and if she didn’t, she was told she would lose her job.”

The newspaper article in the Cayman stated that "Ms. Ortiz Perez did not welcome the attention from the manager. When invited to his room or other places on the ship, she would say no because she had been working 11 hours or because she did not want to." Ms. Ortiz Perez's partner back in Cuba allegedly stated that he was going to kill her over suggestions that she had begun a relationship with her supervisor. 

Ms. Ortiz Perez apparently received a message to the effect that "as soon as you come to the dock, somebody will be waiting and this is what is going to happen to you.”

The judge sentenced Ms. Ortiz Perez to three months in jail, although reportedly stating that “I accept you are in distress and find yourself in a difficult position.”

Question for crew members: Have you been a victim of sexual harassment on a cruise ship?

Photo credit: Crew Center

Cruise Passenger on P&O's Arcadia Jailed for Smuggling Cocaine

P&O Arcadia CocaineNewspapers in the U.K. are reporting that a cruise ship passenger, who used a cruise in the Caribbean last fall as a cover to smuggle cocaine, has been jailed.

The cruise in question occurred last October (of 2017) and apparently involved the P&O Arcadia.

BBC News reports that a 55 year old British citizen was arrested "as he disembarked a cruise liner at Southampton Docks." According to the the newspaper, approximately three kilos of cocaine was found in his suitcases (photo left). The cocaine reportedly was worth more than £200,000. 

The article does not mention the name of the cruise ship or cruise line but the only cruise ship which had returned from a cruise to the Caribbean (including Castries, St. Lucia) in port in Southampton at the end of October of 2017 was P&O's Arcadia.

St. Lucia Southampton Cocaine Smuggle CruiseThe passenger was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison, following a trial at Southampton Crown Court. The National Crime Agency (NCA) reportedly said that the passenger claimed "the cruise had been paid for following a win on the horses, and that he had innocently purchased the suitcases."

The NCA proved that the passenger collected the suitcases in Castries, St Lucia, and that he had been in contact with others suspected of involvement in the importation. A  NCA officer reportedly stated that "our investigation involved liaison with law enforcement partners in the Caribbean, and through that, we were able to prove that (his) story was made up . . . it became clear that he had contacts with others involved in drug trafficking on both sides of the Atlantic."

This is not the first time that a passenger aboard the Acadia was arrested for smuggling cocaine from St. Lucia into the U.K. Nine years ago four passengers aboard the Arcadia were arrested (and later convicted and sentenced to jail for 12 years each) for attempting to smuggle nearly 20 kilos of cocaine P&O Cruise Smuggling Cocaine Arcadiawith an estimated street value of £1.75 million into the port of Southampton, according to the BBC. The drugs had been picked up at the port in Castries. 

Each of the passengers reportedly had been caught smuggling the cocaine taped to their bodies (photo right).

Passengers on the P&O Aurora were busted with large quantities of cocaine in separate incidents in January and February of 2012. The passengers were caught smuggling over 40 kilos of cocaine.  

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: NCA via BBC.

Passenger Reported Overboard From Norwegian Spirit

A cruise passenger reportedly went overboard from the Norwegian Spirit last night around 2:00 A.M, according to the Express newspaper.

The NCL cruise ship was sailing in the Mediterranean Sea approximately 30 miles south of the port city of Cartagena, Spain. The ship was apparently sailing toward Alicante and now will sail on to Barcelona. 

The Spanish Coast Guard spokesman was reportedly notified around 2:15 A.M. A Coast Guard spokesperson said that “several vessels are taking part in an ongoing search along with two coastguard helicopters and a plane. . . The man who has gone overboard is a 34-year-old of Saudi origin. I do not have information about the circumstances of how he ended up in the water.”

AIS reports show the Norwegian Spirit conducting search patterns and then sailing northeast toward Alicante / Barcelona. 

According to cruise expert Professor Ross Klein, at least 307 people have gone overboard since 2000. 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

April 20, 2018 Update: A newspaper in Riyadh mentions that the disappearance involved Omar Salman Awadh Al-Matiri, a Saudi national who reportedly studied in the United States before joining Saudi Aramco to work as civil engineer and pilot (photo above right). Norwegian Spirit Overboard

MSC Crew Member Located in Grand Cayman - Why Did MSC Report Her Missing Four Days Late?

West Bay Cayman IslandsOn March 27, 2018, MSC Cruises reported to the police in the Cayman Islands that a crew member was missing after she failed to re-board the MSC Opera cruise ship before its departure from George Town. We mentioned the incident on March 28th, after the popular Crew Center reported the incident. 

According to the Cayman News Service, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service were told by the MSC cruise ship on March 27th about the missing woman. The crew member was identified as 34 year old Yusmaidys Ortiz Perez.

Today, the Caymans' newspaper reported that MSC Cruises reported Ms. Perez missing "four days after the MSC Opera departed from the Cayman Islands." The MSC Opera had arrived in Grand Cayman on Friday, March 23rd and departed the same day without the crew member.

The police in Grand Cayman state that Ms. Perez was found in good health in West Bay.

West Bay is a residential district located on the west side of Grand Cayman Island, located north of the island's popular Seven Mile Beach.

It's a good development that the woman has been located, although it is troubling that the cruise ship personnel delayed four days before reporting that she did not return to the ship before it left the country. 

Norwegian Sun: NCL's Panama Canal Fiasco Cruise

Norwegian SunSeveral readers of this blog alerted me to a Facebook page called Panama Canal Sun chronicling the ill-fated cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sun through the Panama Canal which left from Miami on March 16, 2018.

Construction related to a deck refinishing project reportedly began on board the NCL cruise ship almost immediately according to the website.

As you can see in the numerous photographs posted online, the cruise involved the sanding of the wooden decks and the application of noxious smelling chemicals and compounds throughout the open decks of the ship. Many of the ship employees/contractors involved in the work were wearing respirators due to the dust but the passengers obviously were not wearing personal protective equipment. There are dozens of comments on the Facebook page regarding dust generated by the work covering the public spaces.

The heavy construction caused NCL to shut down numerous bars, deck spaces and restaurants. The photos show paint particles and fibrous insulation covering the decks. Flammable chemicals were stored on open decks. Many passengers complained of burning, itching and runny eyes and difficulty breathing due to the strong fumes and/or particles. 

One passenger complained to guest services of what they believed to be toxic fumes which were entering her cabin from the work on the outer decks. Guest services sent a supervisor to the cabin who reportedly sprayed "Fabrese" into the vent and around the cabin.

The passengers were expecting a  dream vacation on a luxurious cruise ship but paid for a construction zone which woke them up in the early morning with noise and odors which they heard and smelled throughout the day and into the night.

This appears to be a project which obviously should have taken place in dry-dock, not during a cruise NCL's Norwegian Sunwith nearly two thousand people aboard trying to enjoy a relaxing vacation. The Facebook page members realized that this project was not due to the fault of the captain or crew but was the result of poor leadership from NCL's corporate offices here in Miami who essentially scheduled a floating dry-dock at sea with passengers on board in order to maximize profits. 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

April 2, 2018 UpdateSome of the passengers state that doors leading to muster stations on the ship were blocked (photo above right) - this seems dangerous, especially considering the flammable chemicals stored all over the decks . . . Muster assembly access to some of the lifeboats is also blocked, as shown in some of the photos below . . .   

April 3, 2018 Update: 

Global News (Canada) B.C. travellers say trip of a lifetime ruined by work on Norwegian Cruise Line ship. Norwegian Cruise Line said: “While we do our utmost to minimize any impact on the guest experience when these enhancements are taking place, we recognize that in this situation our guests have experienced some inconvenience.” (The company offered passengers 25 per cent off another cruise until March 2019).

CBC Passengers angry and frustrated as cruise ship renovations ruin vacation (Canadian newspaper interviewed me regarding NCL's outrageous dry-dock-at-sea shenanigans).

April 5, 2018 Update (A.M.): The U.S. media is finally reporting on the NCL madness: 

Newsweek: NIGHTMARE NORWEGIAN CRUISE WAS LIKE A FLOATING CONSTRUCTION SITE.

Travel Pulse: Unhappy Norwegian Sun Passengers Making Voices Heard.  

Photo credit: Panama Canal Sun Facebook page. 

April 5, 2018 Update (P.M.): NCL finally offers a 100% future credit.

 

Norwegian Sun

 Norwegian Sun

Chinese Passengers Stage Strange Protest after Fog Cancels Cruise

China Cruise ProtestThe South China Morning Post reports that Chinese cruise passengers aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Joy staged a protest aboard the NCL ship after fog resulted in the cancellation of the cruise from Shanghai.    

The newspaper reports that the shipboard incident is the latest in a series of strange cases where Chinese tourists have resorted to shows of “patriotism” when they have been inconvenienced. "Passengers angrily jostled crew members while singing the country’s national anthem, The March of the Volunteers," according to the newspaper in Shanghai.

The demonstration is similar to an prior incident three years ago when around 400 Chinese passengers refused to disembark a cruise ship which was delayed by fog. Later, around Chinese 300 passengers refused to disembark the Quantum of the Seas and had to be forcibly removed following a dispute over a change of the ship's itinerary.

I asked the question in an earlier blog and will pose it again here -  how will the cruise lines deal with a boatload of angry Chinese passengers sick with a massive norovirus outbreak?

Video Credit: 新中国频道

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Missing Carnival Crew Member Identified

Deepak GadA newspaper in India has identified the crew member who disappeared from the Carnival Glory on March 18. 2018 as Deepak Gad.

The Herald newspaper in Goa stated that Mr. Gad (photo left) was a young seamen from Velim, India who went missing from the Carnival cruise ship last Sunday as the ship was heading to Amber Cove, in the Dominican Republic. 

We reported on the cruise employee's disappearance after passengers informed us that the ship made constant announcements for a galley worker to report to work after the Carnival Glory arrived in the Dominican Republic.

The crew member apparently was depressed and wanted to leave the ship. But Carnival reportedly told him that if he wanted to return home he had to buy his own ticket to travel, which the crew member could not afford after working for only three months on the ship.

The ship has not officially stated that the crew member went overboard, and Carnival refuses to respond to our request for information which we made several days ago. 

According to the Herald

"Deepak had called a night before he went missing and complained of a back pain and was on treatment on board. It is also learnt that he wanted to come home but his company told him that he has to buy his own airline ticket which he could not afford as he was only three months in his first contract. He was very depressed and disturbed according to his brother who the GSAI (Goa Seamen Association of India) met on Wednesday. The Indian consulate in New York is also monitoring the situation as well as the NRI Department Government of Goa.

This is second incident in less than a year from the same cruise line wherein Mr. Symron Almeida from Cuncolim went missing last year and the body has still not been found. "It is a matter of concern as many seafarers are going missing lately due to work load and harassment on board. Our Government needs to be more serious in handling such cases as most of the time the families cannot get justice," says Dixon Vaz, spokesperson for GSAI."

Four months ago, another Indian crew members working on a Carnival ship disappeared at sea. The crew member was later identified as Symron Santana Almeida, age 33, a resident of Cuncolim, India. He was employed as a wiper in the engine room of the Carnival Inspiration

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: Vijay Prabhu.  

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