Pod Problems: Carnival Legend Limps Back to Tampa

WTSP in Tampa reports on the plight of the Carnival Legend cruise ship which left last Sunday from the Port of Tampa under full power but will return limping home tomorrow.

There's a problem with one of the cruise ship's two propulsion pods that is substantially reducing the Legend's speed.

Carnival canceled the ship's port stop at Grand Cayman.

Ironically, the Legend came to the aid of the fire-stricken Carnival Triumph last month. 

 

 

Eleven Months after Costa Concordia, Cruise Lines Still Struggling to Sell Cruises

The major cruise lines have reduced prices for this winter and early 2013 sailings by around 3.5 percent since late September, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.  

Cruise line operators started this year hoping that they could start charging passengers higher prices after offering discounts following the 2007-2009 recession. But then two weeks into the year, disaster struck when the  Costa Concordia capsized and images of panicked cruise passengers dominated the news. 32 people died. The Concordia still lies in the little Italian port of Giglio like a dead whale.

Costa Concordia - Cruise ShipNot surprisingly, cruise bookings slumped even as the cruise lines lowered prices.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean said that they were optimistic about increased demand and higher prices when they reported third-quarter results in the fall. But some analysts consider the price reductions as a sign that the cruise industry is still struggling and will have to wait until the second half of next year to see real improvements. 

Peak cruise season starts next February and that will be key to see whether the cruise lines can get back on the financial track. But before that, the cruise industry has to endure the one-year anniversary of Costa Concordia in mid January. That will be a difficult time for the cruise lines. As the giant beached whale Concordia remains half submerged on her side in Giglio, the cruise line will have to convince you that cruising is a safe vacation for your family. 

 

Image credit: Giglio News Web Cam

Is Carnival the Pretty Girl & Mobile the Nerd?

A year ago, Carnival Cruise Line unexpectedly abandoned Mobile, Alabama as a cruise port. 

Carnival cited rising fuel costs and an inability to raise prices for its cruises out of the cruise terminal in Alabama.  The unexpected news shocked local officials in Mobile which had worked for a decade to lure the cruise line to the Alabama port.

Mobile over-extended itself financially to create the cruise terminal. With Carnival pulling its cruise ship, the city was faced with no cruise line customer and no revenue to pay the millions in debt remaining on the seven-year-old terminal.

But like a desperate suitor with no one left to court, Mobile is not giving up.  A local news station reports that rumors are that Mobile continues to talk with the cruise lines trying to lure a cruise ship back to town.

The news station compares cruise lines like Carnival to the popular, pretty girl in high school who can pick and choose her dates, while Mobile is "the nerd."  The problem seems to be that there are plenty of empty cruise terminals and not enough cruise ships to go around. Plus, Mobile has a lot of competition with other ports on the Gulf of Mexico like Houston, Galveston, New Orleans and Tampa, but its crossing its fingers for some good luck in 2014.

 

 

Royal Caribbean & NCL Base Cruise Ships in New Orleans

Cruise Ships - New OrleansLast month, two cruise ships from Miami-based cruise lines arrived in New Orleans. NCL's Norwegian Star, with capacity for around 2,300 passengers, transitioned to the "Big Easy" and relieved the Norwegian Spirit which had been home-ported there.  

Royal Caribbean moved the Navigator of the Seas, a larger ship with a capacity of around 3,100 passengers, into the port of New Orleans where its Voyager of the Seas had been based.  

The cruise ships are based at the renovated Julia Street Terminal.  Both ships will be positioned in New Orleans for six months. 

The Port of New Orleans set a port record for cruise ship passengers for a two day period on November 17th to 18th when a total of almost 25,000 passengers arrived or departed on cruise ships. According to the Port of New Orleans, in 2011 736,908 passengers passed through the port. New Orleans is considered to be a "top 10" U.S. cruise port with 1,000,000 passengers expected by the end of this year. 

I lived in New Orleans from 1980 to 1987 before coming to Miami. I have warm memories of my time there at law school at Tulane and as a young lawyer.  During those years, the cruise industry was much smaller and there were no cruise ships based in New Orleans.  Now there are ships operated by NCL, Royal Caribbean and Carnival.  

One of the benefits of cruising out of New Orleans is the pre-cruise and post-cruise overnight stays in downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter. You can't beat the great food, the bars and late night cafe' au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde.

I think it's time for Cruise Law to open up a maritime law office back in New Orleans!    

 

Photo Credit; AP / Andy Newman

Cruise Law News Round Up: February 19, 2012

A rather ordinary couple of weeks in the world of cruising: 1,000 passengers or so sick with diarrhea and vomiting caused by gastrointestinal outbreaks on five cruise ships, 16 brawling passengers kicked off a cruise, a crewmember (a child activities supervisor no less) arrested on charges of molesting a child, a cruise passenger acquitted of rape due to jurisdictional loopholes, two passengers sentenced to 6 years in prison for smuggling pot, 3 passengers arrested for smuggling 13 kilos of coke, 1 dead and 9 sickened with flu on a cruise in Brazil, and another dead cruise passenger found face down in the water in the Cayman Islands.

All of this is in addition to the continued bad press caused by the Costa Concordia disaster.  The latest bad news out of the Concordia mess is that cocaine was found on a hair sample of Captain Schettino. The news is confusing because the captain's drug tests were reportedly negative.  The cocaine was allegedly found on the hair rather than in the hair - meaning that Schettino apparently did not ingest the drug.  These fine points will undoubtedly be lost on the public who now will associate the word "cocaine," along with "coward" and "womanizer," with the infamous captain.

Last week also saw the filing of an amended lawsuit against Costa and its parent company Carnival in the Miami-Dade courthouse in Miami.  You will recall that non-maritime lawyers from New York announced that they would be filing a "class action" lawsuit, which turned out to be be a dud. They finally filed suit on behalf of just 6 passengers, 2 from New York, Florida and Italy each.  The amended complaint adds an additional 33 passengers for a total of 39 plaintiffs.  The lawyers said that the media mis-characterized the lawsuit as a class action, even though their website advertised the case as a class action.

The lawyers filed suit in Miami, even though the passenger ticket requires the lawsuit to be filed in Genoa, Italy, because Carnival and its deep pockets are located here.  

The lawsuit now seeks $528,000,000, for just the 39 passengers.   

Good luck with that. 

Costa Concordia Cruise Ship  - Lawsuit 

Photo credit:  Reddit

January 2012 - Spotlight on Cruise Ship Dangers - Do You Trust Cruise Lines and Travel Agents?

Last month was an ugly, ugly month for the cruise industry.

January 2012 will long be remembered as the month that brought us the death and destruction surrounding the the Costa Concordia cruise ship, resulting in the media asking us- is it safe to cruise?

Lots of other really bad things have been happening in the world of cruising this new year before the Concordia disaster, seemingly non-stop, since January 1st.

The month started ominously when multiple rapes were reported on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas which returned to Fort Lauderdale on January 2nd.  Sexual crimes against women and Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Rapechildren are the cruise industry's nasty secret.  Cruise lines say that such crimes are "rare."  But that's just PR spin.  Click on the categories "Rape," "Sexual Assault," and "Sexual Assault of Children" (to the left of my blog).  There are more stories than you can stand to read; you will never read them all.  And my blog is less than two and one-half years old.

On January 12th we reported on a Royal Caribbean crewmember raping a fourteen year old girl on the Adventure of the Seas cruise ship.  Yes shocking.  But not really if you have your pulse on the dark side of cruise industry.  There are numerous cases like this on Royal Caribbean and Carnival each year, that the cruise lines don't want you to know about.     

In-house attorneys at the cruise lines joked about all of this being "job security." 

On January 21st we reported on the blockbuster story out of the U.K. about a Cunard crewmember who is suspected of sexually abusing children during cruises.  Cunard refuses to identify the job position of the the former crew member, "but he is known to have been a low-ranking employee who had regular, close contact with passengers on board" according to the press in England.   

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Rape Was the Cunard employee a youth counselor or a stateroom attendant, the two most likely job positions for crewmembers who prey on innocent children?  We have been contacted by former passengers who are frightened by the prospect that a child predator was working for Cunard while they vacationed with their children aboard the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth cruise ships.  But Cunard will provide no details regarding when and where the alleged predator worked.

Sexual molestation of kids on cruises is well known to the cruise insiders.  Some cruise lines hide the problem and stay out of the press better than others.   

But who is thinking of children and infants being sexually abused by cruise line perverts when the  world is preoccupied by the Costa Concordia disaster?

The cruise lines were quick to claim that such incidents, like rapes, overboard disappearances and anything else that may embarrass them, are "rare."  But in truth, cruise ship catastrophes are not rare at all; just over four years ago the Sea Diamond sank in Greek waters, with loss of life, after the cruise ship's captain ran the ship into a charted reef.  Yes, a reef that had been there for like several hundred million years.

You can read about lots of other disasters, collisions, allisions, near-misses and fires, which the cruise lines don't want you to know about, here.   

Admittedly, disasters with such soap-opera-drama like the Costa Concordia debacle are not a dCaptain Schettino Girlfriendaily occurrence.  Can you believe that at the time of the crash the captain was eating dinner and drinking wine with a 25 year old woman, formerly employed on the ship, who I have called the cruise "blonde bimbo?" 

Just today, this young woman, whose photographs in a bikini are plastered all over the internet, announced her "love" for the married captain to Italian prosecutors.  She also admitted that if women's clothing were found in the captain's quarters, they were probably hers.  Why do I think that when Captain Schettino goes to prison the blonde-in-the-bikini will have his baby?  

Sordid details, no doubt.  17 people are confirmed dead and over two dozen missing, probably trapped in the bowels of the capsized ship, and we have to listen to National Enquirer details of this nutcake captain and his bizarro lover? 

The point being that any notion that the public had left of mature, safety-minded professional mariners at the helm of cruise ships should have been thoroughly destroyed, assuming it was not already by the disgusting circumstances surrounding Captain Schettino's abandonment of the ship as captured by the high spirited dialogue between the cowardly captain and Italian Coast Guard Commander Gregorio de Falco.

And what do you think subordinate women crewmembers face when they are sexually abused and harassed on cruise ships with the likes of cowardly Captain Schettino setting the moral compass?  

And speaking of cowards, Carnival CEO Micky Arison hides under the covers in his 200 foot luxury yacht.  He re-emerges only during a Miami Heat game while his cruise guests float and bloat in the sarcophagus of the sunken cruise ship.    

Captain Schettino - Coward of the Seas The hard core cruise fanatics and travel agents, who are flipped out by losing ticket sales posed by the ugly spectacle unfolding around them, are frantically trying to convince the public that cruising is the "safest method of mass transportation."  The talking points babbled by the cruise shills include the big lie that there have been only 16 dead in the last 100 million passengers on a cruise ship. 

Nonsense.

We have witnessed 33 dead or missing just the last month on the Concordia alone.  Our blog has reported on hundreds of dead passengers and crew (they are people too, right?) due to gross medical negligence, foul play, suicide, lifeboat accidents, slip and fall accidents, out-of-control drinking, violence, murder, excursion mishaps, fires,drownings, and so forth.    

Add to the numerous dead Costa passengers and crew this month, the dead Carnival passenger who fell from one deck to the atrium lobby below, and the dead Royal Caribbean passenger who slipped and fell on steps out side of a disco late at night and somehow died after an hour in the ship infirmary.  Don't forget the over-board from the MSC Poesia

Apologists for the cruise lines will suggest that these incidents may have involved some or a lot of alcohol consumed by the dead.  It's a matter of personal responsibility.  It's their fault, they say.

ABC News' 20/20 recent show contained lots of YouTube videos of wasted passengers on Costa Concordia Cruise Shipcruises.  Oh how the cruise fans were incensed by the 20/20 cruise ship special.  Say what you want, whether the ABC show was over-the-top or right-on-point, excessive alcohol consumption by many passengers is common and encouraged by the cruise lines.  There's a direct correlation between lots of cruise booze and sexual crimes, overboards and death. 

After all, it was Captain Schettino, who was into the vino with his blonde former-crewmember-squeeze, enjoying dinner with dreams of the evening ahead when all hell broke loose.  Yes, it's a matter of responsibility.  It's the captain's fault and his cruise line employer cronies who were running the floating cruise fraternity house, I say.   

Is cruising safe?   It depends who you ask.  Call one of the 16,000 CLIA travel agents. They will happily tell you (while they make their percentage on the sale) that cruising is perfectly safe!  Come aboard.  Leave your kids in the kid's center.  Trust us.  Have fun!

Does anyone believe the cruise lines and travel agents anymore after last month?

Cruise Law: Miami Cruise Ship Law Update

This weekend the cruise port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida broke a new record with the most cruise passengers entering or leaving the port.  The Sun Sentinel reports that around 106,000 passengers will transit through Port Everglades on 24 cruise ships.  Each day from Friday through Sunday will see 8 cruise ships return and then leave the port full of passengers.   

The newspaper suggested an interesting visual perspective: If lined up bow to stern, the cruise ships sailing through Port Everglades this weekend are as tall as 22 Eiffel Towers, or as long as Port Everglades Cruise Port - Cruise Law72 football fields . . .

The heavy port activity is the result of New Year / Holiday cruise ships returning to South Florida.  

Unfortunately not all of the cruises turned out to be safe experiences. 

Multiple sexual assaults occurred on the world's largest cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas, during a cruise over the New Year.  We discussed the alleged crimes in an article last Wednesday.  The alleged rapists were passengers from Brazil.  It is interesting to note that they were not arrested by the FBI but by the Broward Sheriff's Office.  Florida is the only state where the local police or sheriff officers can arrest and the state can prosecute crimes on the high seas.  In all other states, only the federal government can assert such jurisdiction.   

The alleged crime was finally reported by the Miami Herald yesterday and the newspaper mentioned our previous article.  It is good to see the the Miami Herald reporting on cruise ship crimes.  The Herald historically ignores stories like this and does not seem to want to anger the local cruise lines here in Miami who are major advertisers with the newspaper.  The Herald also included coverage on its Spanish edition, el Neuvo Herald - "Arrestado Hombre Acusado de Violación En Un Crucero."

Our firm was also mentioned in an interesting article about cruise ship norovirus and whether cruise line are taking adequate steps to sanitize their ships.  E Turbo News (Global Travel Industry News) published an article "When Bugs Swim: Cruise Ships Provide Perfect Environment for Spread of Disease."  I talked about my experience interviewing cruise ship cleaners who believe that the EcoLab spray disinfectants cause injury to their lungs.  They admitted pouring the anti-bacterial solutions down the drain and replacing the solutions with water.  So when they wipe the wet rags over the cruise ship surfaces, they are probably just spreading the nasty viruses George Smith - Jennifer Hagel - Cruise Crimeeverywhere.  No wonder the cruise lines seem to have a problem with norovirus outbreaks.

The big news this weekend was the media hype surrounding DateLine NBC's update on the disappearance of cruise passenger George Smith who went overboard in July 2005.  Unfortunately, there was nothing new presented in the hour long show.  You can read our last article about Mr. Smith's situation here.  I have always thought the case involved foul play and the four men last seen with George Smith know more than they have admitted.  At least the DateLine program returned the public's attention to this unsolved case.   

With the renewed interest in Mr. Smith's case the popular Cruise Radio program aired a prior interview with me which you can listen to here

This blog started the new year out with our own record.  According to Google analytics, over 20,000 visitors read over 67,000 pages for the first 8 days of 2012.  

If you have a question about cruise ship law or want our perspective on a cruise related story, please contact me directly at jwalker@cruiselaw.com    

Cruise Law News: A Look Back at 2011

As this year comes to a close, it's time to look back at some of events of 2011.

Jewel of the Seas Crew Member InjuryLast year started out with a bang.  Our firm represented a seriously injured crewmember in a case against Royal Caribbean.  Our client sustained a debilitating back injury, underwent an unsuccessful surgery, and needed a second surgery which the cruise line refused to provide.  In January, a three member arbitration panel found that Royal Caribbean's refusal to provide the surgery "lacked any reasonable defense" and awarded the crewmember $1,250,000.  You can read  the decision here.

The award was featured in Miami's Daily Business Review, which you can read here.  It is the highest reported arbitration award for an injured crewmember to date.     

In ten days, we will begin a trial against Royal Caribbean on behalf of another crewmember who suffered a severe back injury, underwent an unsuccessful surgery and needs a second operation which the cruise line refuses to authorize.  Sound familiar?   Check back in a couple of weeks for the results of our first trial in 2012.   

Shortly after the Royal Caribbean award, we received bad news when a federal judge in Miami summarily ended one of our cases against Royal Caribbean where a young woman was severely injured while receiving private lessons on a FlowRider and underwent four surgeries.  The cruise line Royal Caribbean FlowRidertried to end the case based on a "liability waiver" which passengers are required to sign before participating in FlowRider activities as well as rock climbing, skating and other activities.  Liability waivers are illegal in maritime cases.  To our surprise the court granted the cruise line's motion, notwithstanding a federal statute clearly stating that liability waivers on the high seas are unenforceable.

The decision sent a shock wave through the Miami maritime legal community because liability waivers in maritime matters have been unenforceable for decades.  The defense lawyers for the cruise lines were giddy.  They spoke openly of requiring cruise passengers to sign liability waivers for everything from playing shuffleboard to exercising in the gym to swimming in the cruise ship's pool.  We appealed.  The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal overturned the lower court's ruling and held that cruise line liability waivers are illegal and unenforceable, even if they involve ultra-hazardous or inherently dangerous activities.  The decision is a great result that will protect cruise passengers for years to come.

The past year included the usual number of stories of cruise ship drug smuggling, sexual assaults, shipboard malpractice, serious injuries and passengers and crew disappearing under suspicious circumstances - everything the cruise lines don't want you to know about.

Jonathan Aronson - Lisa O'Neill - Jim Walker2011 was the first full year where our co-counsel Jonathan Aronson worked with us on cases.  Mr. Aronson was one of the best maritime attorneys in Florida who used to defend cases for Royal Caribbean until he switched sides to representing passengers and crewmembers.  The cruise line spent a small fortune trying to disqualify him and our firm from representing clients against it.  It lost.  We won. And most importantly, our clients benefited from having an excellent and highly experienced maritime attorney join our team.     

Our blog, Cruise Law News (CLN), enjoyed another popular year, ending up the number 11 most popular law blog per the Avvo/Alexa rankings.  This month over 53,000 people read over 156,000 pages of CLN. Here are some of the cruise highlights and lowlifes CLN covered:  

Mickey Mouse games by Disney Cruise Lines:  The Disappearance of Youth Counselor Rebecca Coriam  Things are not as they seem in the Magical Kingdom's fleet of cruise ships. 

The most reckless cruise passenger "rescue" I have ever seen:  Cruise Passenger Dropped into Freezing Waters During Botched Rescue  The crew should have been arrested.  And speaking of being arrested:  

Best articles in the spirit of "Occupy Wallstreet:"  Royal Caribbean Executives Get Richer While Crew Members Get Poorer and Royal Caribbean Stock Fraud Lawsuits - What Did the Cruise Line Executives Know and When Did They Know It? 

Royal Caribbean Executives - Richard Fain - Adam GoldsteinThe saddest article and the most facebook "likes" for a single article:  Tragedy on HAL's Half Moon Cay: A Mother's Perspective (366 likes)

The most likes for drugs on the world's largest gay cruise:  Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas (299 likes)

Weirdest story:  Woman Alleges False Imprisonment on Scientology Cruise Ship "Freewinds"

Second weirdest story:  Life In Jail For Cruise Passenger Who Threw Wife Overboard

Third weirdest story:  Accused Royal Caribbean Cruises Rapist Sues Bahamas for Spending Four Nights in Jail After Acquittal

Best April Fools story:  Breaking News: Carnival Cruise Lines Incorporates in the U.S. and Subjects Itself to U.S. Labor, Wage, Safety and Environmental Regulations  

Cruise Ship DisasterMost negative reaction to an article:  Gun Fight in Cabo San Lucas: Is it Safe to Cruise to Mexico?

Best series of articles:  Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later

Best article written by a guest blogger:  Top 10 Shocking Clauses In Your Cruise Contract

Best videos:  Top Five Worst Cruise Ship Disaster Videos

My favorite personal articles:  Are Cruise Ships Ruining Venice Or Just Memories From My Youth? and A View From A Fifth Grader - Gaddafi Finally Falls 42 Years Later 

Thanks to our readers, friends, and supporters for making CLN a success.  Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and our Cruise Law News facebook page.

Do you have a question about cruise law?   Don't hesitate to email me - jwalker@cruiselaw.com.

Jim Walker

Cruise Law News Roundup - November 27, 2011

Its been another exciting week in the world of cruising.

Over 50,000 cruise passengers arrived or departed aboard eight ships at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale yesterday, setting a new world record for most people entering/leaving a port according to the Sun Sentinel.  The newspaper reports that the Oasis of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Carnival Miracle, Grand Princess, Crown Princess, Eurodam and MSC Poesia were in port.

The Oasis of the Seas also made the news with a report that 54 passengers and 10 employees reported being sick with an undisclosed illness.   The cruise line said that the cruise ship will undergo a "thorough cleaning" as a precaution before it's next sailing, whatever that means.

Speaking of undisclosed cruise ship illnesses, one passenger is dead and 80 sick on the HAL Veendam when it reached Brazil.  HAL immediately said the death has nothing to do with the shipboard illnesses.  HAL' s PR department must be some kind of experts in epidemiology Fort Lauderdale Cruise Ships - Port Canaveraland forensic medicine to make such a finding without even conducting an autopsy.

The LA Times reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 77 year old passenger showing signs of a stroke.  She was evacuated from the Carnival Spirit cruise ship by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter dispatched from San Diego 230 miles southwest of San Diego on Saturday.  You can watch the amazing video of the rescue here.

Celebrity got hit with a $1,000,000 jury verdict after trying to save money by sending a 31 year old chef to the Dominican Republic where doctors improperly inserted a pacemaker which the young man did not need in the first place.  

A cruise passenger on a "banana boat" ride was seriously injured when struck in St. Kitts by another cruise passenger on a jet ski.  This comes just two weeks after a Celebrity cruise passenger was killed and her daughter was seriously injured during a parasail mishap in St. Thomas.  

The usual number of cruise passengers were foolish enough to buy pot in the Caribbean where one island will sell you reefer and the next island will fine you several thousands of dollars which the U.S. tourists are happy to pay to avoid a year or two in jail.  You can read about the fun and games here and here.

Cruise fans are still debating whether its safe to travel to Mexico, but no one in the U.S. except Cruise Law News is reporting on stories like this where 6 armed rob a jewelry store in Puerto Vallarta across from the cruise terminal when HAL cruise passengers are walking around in the shopping square.  This comes  couple weeks after a shoot-out in Cabo San Lucas, another story the cruise lines and travel agents won't mention. 

Shhh, don't alarm the cruise tourists, its bad for business.  

Bermuda Flag of Convenience - Cunard Queen Elizabeth Cruise ShipTurning overseas to the U.K., many British citizens are still fuming that Cunard decided to end its relationship with Britain and elected to register its cruise ships in Bermuda.  Mail Online published an interesting photo today of the Queen Elizabeth no longer bearing the port of "Southampton" on its stern and about to be painted with "Hamilton," the capital of Bermuda. 

Cunard claims that it did this in order for its ship captains to marry passengers at sea.  Most people believe that Cunard choose a flag of convenience in order to avoid British and European wage and labor laws. 

The Seattle Post reports that starting December 1st cruise ships will be prohibited from discharging wastewater into a protected marine sanctuary off the outer coast of Washington state's Olympic Peninsula.  The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary covers 2,408 square nautical miles and provides a habitat to many species of fish, seabirds and marine mammals.  Our family spent time kayaking up there last summer.  Its great news that an environmental group is keeping the cruise ship pee and poop out of the sanctuary. 

November has been a record month for Cruise Law News ("CLN").  Over 70,000 people read over 200,000 pages.  Outside the U.S., the most readers of CLN are from (in order) Canada, the U.K., Australia, Mexico and India.

 

Photo credits:

Top:  Jim Walker

Bottom:  Mail Online

November 20, 2011 Cruise Law RoundUp

This past month has seen a number of incredible stories about the cruise industry.

TOXIC CRUISE WATER?  The Sunday Times in London published a blockbuster article about a British paint inspector, Brian Bradford, who was kicked off a NCL cruise ship after complaining about health risks which may be posed to cruise passengers and crew by a Hempel paint coating which was applied to potable water tanks on NCL and Royal Caribbean cruise ships.  Whistle blower Bradford was hit with a "super injunction" to gag him from talking about the by the paint or Tocix Cruise Water?discussing anything about his inspection of the cruise ships in question. 

Its really amazing how corporations can endanger the public and then use their lawyers to cover the danger up.   

The only ones to report on the story have been cruise expert Ross Klein in Canada and the British press.  We are the only one talking about it here in the U.S.  Most U.S. newspapers (the LA Times and NY Times being the exceptions) are in the hip pocket of the cruise lines.  They accept cruise advertising revenue and publish colorful travel sections in their newspapers about the joys of cruising, but they look the other way when the cruise lines screw up.  Our local newspaper, the Miami Herald, is absolutely the pits.  But this story is far from over.  It is only a matter of time before someone in the U.S. other than our small blog pays attention to it.   

DISNEY COVER-UP?  The other blockbuster article was by another British newspaper, the Guardian, which published a story about missing Disney Cruise youth counselor Rebecca Coriam.  The article was featured in the newspaper's weekend edition with a photo of the Wonder cruise ship (below) on the cover.  The article was written by U.K. journalist, documentary filmmaker, and best selling author Jon Ronson who sailed on the Wonder for a week to gather information.  Disney Cruise Cover Up? For a cruise line that supposedly caters to children and families, its disturbing to think that Disney is more concerned with its Magical Kingdom illusion than the distraught Coriam family.

ANOTHER CRUISE LINE HIDES BEHIND DOHSA:  The most read article this month was from a guest blogger, a mother who wrote about the death of her three year old daughter in HAL's Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.  Most cruise passengers do not understand that there is no recovery for pain, suffering, grief and bereavement when a cruise line's negligence kills a child.     

CRUISE FIRES, CRIME, DEATH AND ANOTHER OVERBOARD:  This month we have seen the usual type of calamities which you will never read on a cruise line or travel agents web site: a fire in the Red Sea which forced the evacuation of 1,200, another cruise fire which destroyed a Russian river cruise boat, an overboard passenger from a NCL cruise ship in Falmouth, Jamaica, the sentencing of a "serial rapist" to 10 years in jail after the rape of a 13 year old girl on a Carnival ship, life imprisonment for murder for a passenger who threw his wife overboard, and the death last week of a 60 year old woman and serious injury to her daughter on a Celebrity sponsored parasailing accident in St. Thomas.

JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL CRUISE VICTIMS ("ICV"):  If these type of stories concern you, consider International Cruise Victims - Cruise Crime - Cruise Disappearancesjoining the ICV which is a grass roots victims' organization consisting of families of passengers and crewmembers who have been injured or lost at sea during cruises.  You can read about the ICV here.

GOOD NEWS FOR CRUISE LAW NEWS ("CLN"):  Our readership continues to grow.  So far this month, over 44,000 unique readers clicked on our blog and read over 127,000 pages.  If statistics mean anything, CLN ranks as the 12th most popular law blog according to AVVO/Alexa.  I'm convinced that people flock to our blog because there simply is no place else to read stories about cruising that the cruise lines don't want you know about. 

If you have a story you want us to cover, let us hear from you.    

Cruise Law News RoundUp - September 17, 2011

Cruise ship issues in Europe dominated the world of cruise news this week.

An explosion in the engine room of the Nordlys cruise ship, operated by Hurtigruten, resulted in a fire and the evacuation of the ship off of Norway.  Half of the 200 or so passengers were evacuated in lifeboats and the other half got off the cruise ship when the vessel was towed to port.  All passengers were safe but unfortunately two 2 crewmembers died and many were injured.      

Whenever a cruise ship explodes or catches on fire, there is always a cruise / travel columnist who feels compelled to publish an article insisting that such cruise calamities are rare.  This time it was Jane Pearl of Scandinavia - Cruise Ship FireArcher, a cruise fan and columnist who writes for the Telegraph Travel. Her puff piece article Hurtigruten Fire: How Safe is Your Cruise? claims that "incidents like this are few and far between."

The problem with this claim is that just last year an engine room fire caused the evacuation of over 600 passengers and crew in Norwegian waters.

That incident involved the German cruise ship Deutschland.  And just last November a cruise ferry, the Pearl of Scandinavia, erupted in fire off of Norway while filled with cars and passengers (photo left).

Ms. Archer somehow overlooked these two recent cruise ship fires in Norwegian waters.  Cruise ship fires are not as uncommon as cruise columnists may want you to think.  Take a moment and read Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires - Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?

The other big development in Europe involved the parents of missing Disney Cruises youth counselor Rebecca Coriam meeting with the U.K. Shipping Minister to discuss enacting legislation to permit the U.K. to become involved in the investigation when British citizens disappear on foreign flagged cruise ship around the world.  Mike and Ann Coriam of Chester England are understandably upset with the lack of information from the cruise line and the single policeman from the Bahamas who is charged with investigating the disappearance.    

While the Coriam family was working to make cruising safer for the U.K. public, another cruise passenger disappeared from the Fred Olsen Balmoral cruise ship. Last year, the Balmoral was dubbed the "Cursed Cruise Ship of the High Seas" following a series of norovirus bouts which sickened hundred of passengers and crew.  We reported on the unexplained disappearance of another passenger  from the Balmoral last year.  The Balmoral also narrowly averted disaster when it was attacked by pirates last year.  

On a lighter personal note, the season finally started for my younger son's JV football team.  Gulliver was trounced by rival Belen Jesuit, but my son got to play running back, split end and corner back.  He ran across the field and got a big hit on Belen's running back at the one yard line to save the touchdown.  Watch the play to the end!

  

Photo credits:

Pearl of Scandinavia - AFP

Video -  richardsalinas29 youtube   

Cruise News RoundUp - August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene has been the big story this week as the cruise lines juggled itineraries to keep their cruise ships out of Irene's path.

The Right Way, and Wrong Way, to Abandon Families in a Foreign Port as a Monster Storm Approaches

Carnival and Royal Caribbean received a lot of press for leaving hundreds of passengers in San Juan, Puerto Rico as the hurricane approached.  The local port officials informed the cruise lines that due to the storm's approach, the port was limiting harbor traffic.  Carnival’s Victory cruise ship left Hurricane Irene - Cruise Lines Abandon PassengersSan Juan four hours early and Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas left six hours ahead of schedule.

As a result, 300 Carnival passengers and 145 Royal Caribbean passengers found themselves in San Juan as their cruise ships sailed away.

Carnival handled the crisis effectively.  The cruise line provided all of their guests with hotel rooms  for two nights and offered to fly them to the next scheduled port in Barbados.

Royal Caribbean provided hotel rooms only to the 15 passengers who purchased their tickets directly from the cruise line.  The remaining 130 were left to find their own hotels as the storm approached.  And anyone who wanted to meet up with the ship at the next port in Aruba, had to pay for their own transportation.  This from the company whose mantra is "Deliver the Wow" to its guests?

Unlike Carnival, Royal Caribbean made no effort to communicate the earlier departure time via their customers' emergency contact information and left families in the lurch in a time of emergency.  Even super cruise fan Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of Cruise Critic, expressed outrage in her blog "Bad Weather Blunder: A Lesson in Cruise Crisis Control?"

"This takes my breath away.  And it’s not about the fact that it didn’t offer to pay for hotels and flights . . . .  It’s about dropping the ball in a risky situation.  Clearly, I’m not the only one who is shocked at Royal Caribbean’s lack of responsibility to its customers.  On Cruise Critic’s forums, its blog, and its Facebook page, travelers are incredulous."

Wow is right.  When you can shock Cruise Critic, you have really screwed up.

Another Shocker (But No One is Shocked) - Royal Caribbean's Unlimited Booze Packages

Travel Agent Central reported this week that Royal Caribbean "has taken a lead" in offering prepaid unlimited alcoholic packages to its passengers.  RCCL's CEO Richard Fain is quoted as saying that unlimited booze packaging has been "hugely successful."

The article states that on Celebrity cruise, passengers can pay for an unlimited drinks premium liquor plan for as much as $378 per person for a week cruise.  "Your savings depends on how much you drink," the article reads.   Yikes.  The drunkest passenger gets the best value? 

This cruise line has struggled with alcohol related overboards and sexual assaults over the years.  Take a moment and read Latest Royal Caribbean Rape Allegation Reveals Problem of Underage Royal Caribbean Cruise StockDrinking on Cruises.   Its unlimited-booze-packages is a new low.

I wonder if the cruise line kept all of the pre-paid unlimited alcohol money spent by the guests who missed the Serenade of the Seas in San Juan due to the hurricane? 

Are Cruise Stocks About to Tank Again?

Investor Place has an interesting article about the tenuous nature of cruise lines stocks at this moment - "3 Reasons Cruise Line Stocks Might Be Starting to Sink." 

I have always tracked cruise stocks because crew member benefits are the first to get slashed when money gets tight for the cruise lines.  Three years ago, Royal Caribbean's stock fell from the $40's to under $6 a share.  The cruise line responded with harsh cost saving measures in ship employee benefits.  The company's stock rebounded back to the $40's but has been in a nose dive this year back to the low $20's.  As the cruise executives push alcohol sales to try and boost profits, what new measures will they introduce to screw the crewmembers?  

Cruise Law News RoundUp - July 18, 2011

The big news this week is the sad story of the sinking of the Bulgaria cruise ship on the Volga river.  The 1955 era ship was considered a rust bucket.  On the day in question, it sailed with a malfunctioning engine, listing to one side, and overloaded with passengers.  When a storm turned the ship sideways, the captain could not right the vessel and it rolled and sank.  Over 100 people Bulgaria Cruise Ship Disasterperished, mostly women and children.  The international press is calling the tragedy the Russian Titanic.

Last week marked the six year anniversary of the suspicious death of George Smith.  We ran a series of articles Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later.

Royal Caribbean is placing pressure on the city of Key West to dredge and fill a path through the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in order to widen the shipping lane into the harbor to accommodate its Genesis class of cruise ships, according to the Key Noter newspaper.   If the channel is not widened, the cruise line threatens to bypass Key West and head straight to Mexico.  However, dredging will destroy coral and sea fan resources.  Currently, some 800,000 cruise passengers unload into Key West every year.  Some residents expressed concern that adding even more cruise tourists from mega ships like the Allure and the Oasis will degrade the overall experience of visiting Key West and turn it into an "amusement park like atmosphere," transforming Duval Street into "redneck Disney World meets Myrtle Beach."

Robert McGill - Murder - Carnival ElationCarnival cruise passenger Robert McGill, aged 57, admitted killing his wife of five years, Shirley McGill, after an argument during a five-night cruise aboard the Elation to Cabo San Lucas in July 2009.  I blogged about this bizarre case last year -Prosecutors May Seek Death Penalty In Carnival Cruise Murder Case.

Regarding firm news, Cruise Radio interviewed me regarding a legal case.  Cruise Law News is the number 15th most popular law blog per the Alexa / Avvo rankings.  AOL Travel / Gadling published an article - "Death by Cruise Ship? It Can Come in Several Ways" which mentioned our firm.   The article cited our series on the disappearance of George Smith and featured a video of me on the Scarborough show.  Wow, did I lose a lot of hair in the past six years.

Princess Cruises showed how not to handle customer complaints by abandoning a honeymoon couple in St. Thomas (the crime capital in the Caribbean) and then dumping a passenger who Captain Stubing - Love Boatneeded a blood transfusion in Montego Bay, allegedly causing her to suffer brain injuries.  

Where is Captain Stubing and the Love Boat Doc when you need them? 

I ended the week with an article on the long hours and low pay which cruise ship cleaners receive: Long Hours, Repetitive Injuries & Bad Medical Care Plague Royal Caribbean Crewmembers.   Imagine working 330 hours a month for around $550. Turns out to be $1.67 hour or so. 

But don't worry.  When you sustain a serious repetitive hand injury, the cruise lines will send you back to Jamaica for surgery. 

Oh, I forgot, there are no hand surgeons in Jamaica.

Cruise Law News RoundUp - July 6, 2011

Things are suppose to slow down in the summer, but there are no signs of that yet.

Royal Caribbean recenty tried to muzzle a Miami lawyer who issued a press release about a cruise line case scheduled for trial in November.  Gagging lawyers from talking to the pubic requires introducing substantial evidence establishing that the parties will not receive a fair trial.  The risk of trying to quiet a critic runs the risk of looking like a bully.  Not a smart move.  The attack on the lawyer and his disabled client just focused the public's attention on the cruise line's strong arm tactics.   

Whenever I see Royal Caribbean try and muzzle the press, I think back to 2005 and 2006 when this Richard Fain - Royal Caribbean CEO  cruise line embarked on a media campaign following the disappearance of George Smith during his honeymoon cruise.   We represented Mr. Smith's wife, Jennifer Hagel.  Royal Caribbean sent its CEO Richard Fain (photo left) and high profile media lawyer Lanny Davis (photo below right) onto the cable news shows to influence public opinion.   

Why should any local Miami lawyer be muzzled when this cruise line sends its CEO and high profile lawyers from Washington D.C. onto TV programs to discuss legal controversies?   

Speaking of RCCL, the Oasis of the Seas intercepted 7 Cuban rafters, who are back in Cuba after the cruise line turned them over to the U.S. Coast Guard.  Very strange that a company incorporated in Liberia which flies the flag of the Bahamas is acting like a branch of the U.S. Coast Guard responsible for sending rafters back to Cuba. This is the fourth time a Royal Caribbean cruise ship "rescued" Cubans fleeing to the U.S. in the last 6 months.

You can read about the cases here, here, here and here.   

Princess Cruises' Sea Princess has been in the news, too.  There have been reports of norovirus on the cruise ship during the last four cruises. The cruise line has again blamed the passengers for bringing the virus aboard and then spreading it around.  The Centers for Disease control state that the most likely cause of norovirus in most cases is contaminated food or water, but cruise lines like Princess always blame the passengers.  Those dirty passengers, if they would only wash their hands.  Since when did cruise PR representatives rather than epidemiologists determine the cause of viral outbreaks?     

Speaking of dirty, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 failed a surprise sanitation inspection conducted by the Centers for Disease Control.  The CDC found the luxury liner to have "extremely dirty" water and tile in a pool, human hair in an ice machine, and chemicals stored near napkins, paper cups and utensils.  The CDC report used the word "filthy" five times.  Oh, that filthy Mary!

The Carnival Glory, meanwhile today scored her second perfect sanitation score  -  a 100.  This Cruise Line PR - Lanny Davis time it was issued by Canadian authorities; the week before it was by the CDC.  

Cruise ships are getting bad press in Venice.  An Italian preservation society has announced that Venice faces an “irreversible environmental catastrophe" unless visitor numbers are capped and cruise ships are restricted.  The Telegraph newspaper in London published a provocative article entitled "Venice Risks Losing its Soul Due to Mass Tourism.'   In May, we discussed the effect of the cruise industry on Venice in our article Are Cruise Ships Ruining Venice Or Just Memories From My Youth?

Our blog Cruise Law News is number 16 in the top law blogs per the AVVO / Alexa ranking system.  Not bad, but a disappointment to slip out of the top ten. 

Today the Gleaner newspaper in Jamaica, where we advertise, interviewed us about the services we provide for crewmembers who are injured on cruise ships.  Cruise Law News was cited in an interesting article in the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper yesterday entitled "Thawing Arctic Opens Up New Shipping Routes on the Roof of the World."   The article discussed our coverage of the Clipper Adventurer striking an uncharted "underwater cliff" off the waters of Nunavut in northern Canada.

Do you have a cruise line issue you are interested in discussing?  Leave us a comment or contact us at jim@cruiselaw.com.  

Cruise RoundUp - June 25, 2011

Its never dull in the world of cruising.  This week was no exception.

Our firm remained busy with cases against the cruise lines.  At any given time, we and our co-counsel represent a little under 100 cruise passengers and crewmembers.  New clients retained us this week after being injured on Carnival, Celebrity, Disney and Royal Caribbean cruise ships.  Our advertising efforts in the Caribbean are paying off.  Three crewmembers from Royal Caribbean retained us and our co-Jamaica - Cruise Ship Crew counsel Jonathan Aronson.  The majority of our crewmember clients are former employee of Royal Caribbean who received poor medical care after being injured at work.

This week saw a passenger go overboard from the NCL Spirit cruise ship.  The cruise ship was sailing on the Mississippi River south of New Orleans when he ended up in the water.  How and why did this happen?  There is no information available in the media so far.  Its not easy to fall of a cruise ship (unless alcohol is involved), so he probably jumped or perhaps was pushed, I'm not sure.  Its anyone's guess at this point.  The good news is that he is alive and well, which is not the usual situation in cases like this.  Count your blessings my friend.  

A 51 year old passenger was medevaced by the Coast Guard off of the coast of California from the Carnival Paradise.  The passenger reportedly experienced convulsions ans was showing signs of a stroke, and was taken to a hospital in San Diego.  Medevacs like this happen literally on a weekly basis.  Its a "free" service of the U.S. Coast Guard.  If you are going to have a medical emergency on a cruise ship, make sure it is within the reach of a Coast Guard cutter or helicopter which can take you to a U.S. hospital.     

A passenger was assaulted in Bermuda but the police shrugged it off.  This was one of the stranger stories we have blogged about.  A Cruise Critic forum contained a post about a passenger from the NCL Dawn allegedly being jumped and beaten by a would be robber near the Maritime Museum.  But there was no report of the crime on the official website of the Bermudian police department.  The police then said that it was not an assault or robbery, it was just an injury due to a drug deal gone astray.  Huh?  

The incident occurred a week after two NCL crewmembers from the Dawn were assaulted early in Monarch of the Seas - Dumping - Pollutionthe morning in Snorkel Park.  A local newspaper published an article about the crewmember fracas entitled Warning of Tourism Fallout after Fight.    Is Bermuda's approach to public relations now to dismiss a report of a violent crime as a "drug deal gone bad?"

The Queen Mary 2 failed a CDC inspection.  The U.K. Daily Mail reports that sanitation inspectors branded the Queen Mary 2 "filthy" five times in a report.

The week started with my blog article about former Royal Caribbean Staff Captain Bjørn Eidissen's court case where a Miami judge permitted his lawyer to amend the lawsuit to seek punitive damages against the cruise line.  The case arises out of the September 2005 leak of hydrogen sulfide on the Monarch of the Seas which killed three crewmembers and injured nineteen others.  While researching the story, I ran across a report by the staff captain in which he alleges that four months later the Monarch of the Seas dumped tons of sediment and chemicals into the waters off of the shores of San Francisco as the ship was heading to a dry dock.   

Staff Captain Eidissen claims that the incident was reported to the top executives at Royal Caribbean, but no one did anything.  I cannot find any indication that the Coast Guard investigated the incident.  If this is true, this seems like a heck of a blockbuster story.  But there appeared to be little interest in the article.  Perhaps the public is tired of stories about cruise ships polluting the oceans.  

In an unrelated story, for the first three months of this year CLIA - the trade organization for the cruise industry - spent over $490,000 lobbying U.S. agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Cruise Law News RoundUp - Monday June 13, 2011

This past week has been a busy time for our firm with many international news stories being published about the cruise industry.

Jim Walker - Jamaica - Cruise Ship LawyerOur firm is off and running with our advertising in Jamaica.  We spent Sunday fielding questions from prospective clients in response to our ads in local Sunday newspapers.   We are in discussions with advertisers in other Caribbean countries where injured and disabled crewmembers are abandoned by Miami-based cruise lines.

Our firm received a fair amount of press in the last week.  We were quoted in the Los Angles Times (discussed below) regarding a major cruise story.  The South Florida Business Journal and the U.K.'s Telegraph mentioned Cruise Law News' article about the bizarre 7 hour interrogation of British passengers by the U.S. Customs and Border police. 

it seems like some over-zealous Federal agents in Los Angeles mistook the geriatric British passengers on the luxury cruise ship as al-Qaida terrorists and subjected them to a nightmarish situation where the 2,000 elderly passengers underwent detailed passport checks, extensive background interviews, and biometric checks, including fingerprints of both hands and Interrogation Cruise Ship Passengersretina scans after standing in the heat for 7 hours.  You can read about the misguided way our Federal government treats tourists in my blog U.S. Customs Officials Take Revenge Against Elderly British Cruise Passengers?

Turning to more serious legal news, last Friday a Federal Court Judge in Miami rejected an attempt by Oceania Cruises to limit its potential liability at no more than $65,000 for alleged damages suffered by a 13 year old child raped on the Regatta cruise ship.   

Can you imagine having your child raped during a vacation cruise and then have the cruise line try to limit its liability for damages to only $65,000?  Only a cruise line could handle its PR like this.  You can read about the case here.    

The major event this weekend involved the Los Angeles Times' article about the sad tale and continuing mystery of missing youth counselor Rebecca Coriam from the Disney Wonder cruise ship.  Written by Corina Knoll, the LA Times article is entitled "Bereft Parents' Loss is as Deep as the Ocean."  It contains an iconic photograph (bottom) of Rebecca's parents, Mike and Ann Coriam, standing at the dock in San Pedro as the Wonder cruise ship sailed off for another cruise to the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship - Disappearance Rebecca CoriamMexican Riviera.  The Coriam family returned to Chester England with no answers regarding what happened to their daughter.  You can read our article here about the many questions which remain unanswered by this disturbing case.  

It amazes me that parents on the next cruise would drop off their kids to the care of youth counselors on the Disney cruise ship, after one of the counselors "vanished" during the last cruise.  How can a young woman completely "disappear" from the Magical Kingdom's cruise ship with no CCTV cameras capturing the events.  Are there "blind spots" in the CCTV cameras coverage of the ship?  Not a good idea on a cruise ship catering to family vacations with kids.  Does Disney have a serious problem with its security cameras?   Or do the cameras work just fine, but Disney is hiding information?     

The LA Times' article referred to our firm, as well as Congresswoman Doris Matsui who was instrumental in Congress' passage of the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act

A disturbing  issue with this latest cruise disappearance is that Disney Cruise Line is incorporated in the U.K. and Ms. Coriam is from England as well, but a single policeman from the Bahamas is involved in the "investigation" because the Disney Wonder flies a flag of convenience from that third Rebecca Coriam - Disappearance - Disney Cruise Lineworld country.  There is something wrong when a British citizen hired by a British corporation to work on a U.S. based cruise ship disappears, and no U.S. or U.K. agencies are allowed to board the cruise ship to investigate. 

This suits Disney Cruise Lines just fine.  They can work behind the scenes, as the policeman in the Bahamas sits in the police station in Nassau pretending to investigate what happened on a cruise ship sailing between LA and Mexico. Meanwhile, the Coriam family remains in England with no answers. 

I suppose that our U.S. Federal agents in Los Angeles could do a better job investigating the case of missing British citizen Rebecca Coriam.  But then again, they probably are busy harassing elderly British cruise tourists. 

Cruise Law Update from Miami - the Cruise Capital of the World

This past week has been an exciting period of time for the lawyers at Cruise Law.

Jamaica:

Jonathan Aronson and I returned from visiting clients in Jamaica.  There are a number of injured crew members who the cruise lines have dumped back in their home country after they were injured working the long hours demanded of cruise line employees.  Under an ancient maritime doctrine called "maintenance and cure," maritime employers are required to provide all necessary medical treatment and pay the living expenses for the ill or injured crewmembers.  All too often, the Jamaica - Cruise Ship - Crewmember - Maritime Lawyercruise lines refuse to do so, and abandon their employees back in their home countries hoping that they will not obtain legal representation.   

Billboards, Newspapers and Radio:

During our trip to Jamaica, we met with representatives from billboard, newspaper and radio companies to begin advertising our legal services in Jamaica.   Unlike the U.S., Jamaica has a culture where litigation is not encouraged.  Plus there are virtually no Jamaican lawyers who advertise. Injured crewmembers are often from countries like Jamaica where few people file lawsuits, there is no legal advertising, and it is difficult to obtain basic information about your legal rights.  (The billboard above is near the port of Falmouth, by the Mayor of Trelawny Parish). 

That's about to change.

Over the next few months, Jamaicans will see our firm's name and photos on billboards, in newspapers, and on the radio throughout the country.  We know first hand that there are many Jamaican men and women who dedicated their careers to cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, only to be sent a one way ticket home and forgotten when they are seriously injured and can no longer work at sea.  We are educating these crewmembers regarding their right to obtain compensation here in Miami when they are disabled from cruise ship employment.

Wrongful Death Suit Filed Over Death of 14 Year Old Girl in St. Thomas:

USA Today, the Miami New Times and the Virgin Islands Daily News have reported on the case of 14 year old Liz Marie Peréz Chaparro, who was killed during a stopover in St. Thomas while on a Carnival cruise.   Cruise lines have a legal duty to warn their passengers of dangers in the ports of call which they select.  For our article about this terrible crime, read: More Caribbean Crime - Carnival Passenger Killed In St. Thomas

A copy of the lawsuit is available on line here (via courthousenews.com).  

More Publicity Over $1,250,000 Arbitration Award Against Royal Caribbean:

The media continues to cover the arbitration award which our firm obtained against Royal Caribbean for an injured crew member from Serbia.  The South Florida Business Journal first Jim Walker - Lisa O'Neill - Walker and O'Neill - Maritime Lawyers - Cruise Lawreported on the award in an article "Royal Caribbean to pay Injured Worker $1.25M" and referred to our blog article about the case. Miami's Daily Business Review and Law.com then ran articles about the case.

Royal Caribbean's defense lawyer Curtis Mase was quoted in a follow up article by the South Florida Business Review "Royal Caribbean Case Highlights Arbitration" that the outcome of the case "flies in the face of 200 years of maritime law."  Mr. Mase was referring to his argument that the cruise line should not be liable for the bad medical care provided to the injured crewmember after the cruise line abandoned her, an argument which the arbitration panel rejected. 

Maritime employers have been legally responsible for the medical care and treatment of injured crewmembers actually dating back beyond 200 years to the Medieval Sea Codes.  The arbitration panel not only found this cruise line's failure to provide appropriate medical treatment to be unreasonable, but it found Royal Caribbean to have acted negligently and to be 100% at fault in causing the crew member's accident.

The last crew member case which went to a final hearing or trial against Royal Caribbean and Mr. Mase resulted in an even larger award for a crew member who received bad medical care - Miami Jury Hits Royal Caribbean With $2,900,000 Verdict.

Epilogue to Losing Disqualification Motion

This arbitration award was the first crew member outcome from the team of Walker & O'Neill and former Royal Caribbean defense lawyer Jonathan Aronson.  Mr. Aronson "switched sides" two years ago.  In response, Royal Caribbean and Mr. Mase unsuccessfully tried to disqualify Mr. Aronson and our firm from suing the cruise line, which we reported on in articles Royal Caribbean Forces Defense Lawyer to Switch Sides and Its Not Personal . . . Its Strictly Business.  After losing its first two disqualification motions, the cruise line gave up.  It now has one of its best defense lawyers successfully suing it.

A Near Miss - Independence of the Seas Hauls Ass Out of Gibraltar   

An explosion from a large fuel tank near Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas resulted in Independence of the Seas - Explosion - Gibraltar - Oil Tank - North Molewhat the cruise line describes as "minor" injuries to a dozen passengers.  Seems like many guests on the top deck may have suffered flash burns when the tank exploded.  A potential disaster was averted when the captain and his officers made a quick assessment of the situation and sailed the cruise ship away from the burning tank and out to safety in the harbor.  You can see dramatic video and photos in our articles here and here.   

Although the story ended happily, the issue arises whether cruise ships are attractive targets for terrorists particularly when they are positioned for Mediterranean and Middle East itineraries.  Parking a cruise ship next to three large fuel tanks (especially during welding operations), needs to be re-thought.    

A Guest Blog Goes Viral   

The summer is here again and our firm's legal intern, law student Caitlin Burke has returned to help us with our cases.  She quickly volunteered for another "guest blog" which is one of the most popular articles this year.   Take a moment and read "Top 10 Shocking Clauses In Your Cruise Contract" and learn how cruise lines have stacked the deck against its cruise passengers.  A hell of a way to treat your customers!

If you are a cruise critic or a cruise fan and think you are up to writing a guest blog here on Cruise Law News, contact us and we will be pleased to discuss this with you.

Safe cruising .  .  .     

 

Photo credits:

Top:  Trelawny Billboard - Jim walker

Middle:  Port of Miami, Majesty of the Seas, Jonathan Aronson, Lisa O'Neill, Jim Walker - Jim Walker

Bottom:  Panorama newspaper in Gibraltar (Douglas Cumming)

Passenger Medevac & Crew Suicide Mar Celebrity Eclipse Cruise

Yesterday, we discussed the latest overboard from a Celebrity cruise ship, this time involving a 31 year old Filipino on the Eclipse who by all accounts committed suicide by climbing a rail and jumping into the English Channel.

While some people may be inclined to say oh,a suicide end of the story, my thought is that an investigation is warranted to study the significant number of crewmembers who decide to end their life in this manner.  Is there a correlation between the long hours and difficult working conditions of "ship life" and crew suicides?   

There are a number of interesting comments posted on line about this sad incident, which apparently occurred shortly after an ill passenger was medevaced from the Eclipse.  A medevac of an ill passenger and a crew suicide is not how you want to remember a family cruise holiday.   

One post links to Ship Finder which charted the cruise ship altering course and returning to the location where the crewmember went overboard.  It looks like the Eclipse may have originally  altered course to sail closer to France to meet the helicopter involved in the passenger medical evacuation.  

Eclipse Cruise Ship Medical Evacuation

  

Image credit:   Lee Armstrong via Pinkfroot

A Lost Cruise Trial, More Cruise Crime, More Cruise Drugs and Who Wants to Cruise to Mexico Anyway?

A super busy week took me away from the computer for the last week.  What a fun week at Cruise Law and in the strange world of cruising:    

Lose Some / Win Some:  A trial involving our client, an injured passenger, ended poorly for us and well for Royal Caribbean which obtained a defense verdict after a three day trial (and two years of litigation).  The case was defended by the law firm of Horr, Novak & Skipp.  Although he got popped last year with a verdict over $9,000,000 in a cruise line case, Mr. Horr is, in my opinion, the David Horr - Cruise Line Lawyerbest defense lawyer for the cruise lines in Miami.  Supported by the usual small army of cruise lawyers and support staff, he did his usual great job.  This is only the second case Cruise Law has lost in the past ten years.  We are consoled by the fact that the cruise line probably spent over $150,000 defending the case.  A $15,000,000,000 cruise line corporation which pays no U.S. taxes has money to burn.  It's a nice feeling to see good lawyers like Horr get paid lots of money, especially by the scoundrels at Royal Caribbean.       

Another Sexual Assault on the Love Boat?:  According to the LA Weekly Blogs, another alleged sexual assault aboard a Princess cruise ship has ended up in court.  California resident Marisa Foppoli claims in her lawsuit that a crew member aboard the Island Princess sexually assaulted her while cruising from Acapulco to Florida.  The passenger alleged that the crew member had a "prior, similar incident of misconduct" while employed aboard one of Princess' ships.

We have reported on sex crimes on cruise ships operated by Princess before:  Unsafe on the "Love Boat?" - Sexual Assaults on Princess Cruise Ships.  A Princess crew member tried last year for a sexual assault was acquitted last year - Love Boat Waiter Acquitted of Sexually Assaulting Passenger.

More Drugs on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship  Two weeks ago, we blogged about three Royal Caribbean crew members (cooks) who smuggled heroin and cocaine from the Dominican Republic during a stop of the Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas and were arrested after the cruise ship reached Baltimore.  Well here we go again.  CBS News reports that $100,000 worth of cocaine and heroin were found in a crew only area on the same cruise ship which has been sailing from Baltimore to the Caribbean islands.      

Is it any surprise that Royal Caribbean galley workers earning less than $600 a month are enticed to supplement their income smuggling some smack and blow?   

Cruise, Crime, and Beheaded Mexicans is Hard to Sell:  Speaking of drugs, last week Carnival said Thursday that it is pulling the last of its cruise ships (the Carnival Spirit) out of southern California to Australia next year.

Mexico - Drug Violence - Cruise ShipsTomorrow Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas is making its final voyage from the Port of Los Angeles and will re-position to its new home base of Galveston, Texas. Norwegian Cruise Line's Star cruise ship will leave Los Angeles in a couple of months to reposition to Tampa.

The Los Angeles Times has reported that drug-related violence has meant fading interest in cruises to Mexico, the chief destination of California-based ships.  The AP reports that although the port officials and cruise industry have tried to emphasize that most violence in Mexico takes place away from cruise destinations, the message has a hard time "competing with images of beheaded bodies on the news."  Ugh.

But this is not new news.  Last summer we reported that Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines Pull Ships From L.A. Due To Crime In Mexico.

Sexual assaults on the Love Boat?  Drugs on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship?  And cruise lines unable to sell cruises to Mexico?    Nothing new here . . .

 

Photo credits: 

David Horr - Horr, Novak & Skipp

Mexican violence -   http://www.nocaptionneeded.com/

Miami Jury Awards Carnival $24 Million For Pod Failures, Finds Rolls Royce Committed Fraud

The following is a press release from Hess Marketing on behalf of the Fowler Rodriguez law firm:

Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli, an internationally recognized maritime law firm obtained a $24 million dollar verdict for Carnival Cruise Lines against Rolls-Royce.  Rolls Royce was found guilty of fraud by a unanimous jury.  Rolls Royce marketed its Mermaid pod propulsion system to Carnival for operation on their largest and most prestigious ship, the Queen Mary II.  The jury found that at the time Rolls Royce presented its pod to Carnival, Rolls-Royce knew that the pod was defective and not fully developed.

Lead counsel for Carnival, George Fowler, argued that Rolls-Royce rushed into the market to defeat their competitors and sold an untested product that failed throughout the cruise industry.  Furthermore, Fowler argued that Rolls Royce made money not only on the sales of the pods, but each time the bearings on the pods had to be replaced.  He argued that Rolls Royce refused to pay for any of the replacement costs and made money off the repairs, which forced Carnival
to file suit.

Carnival - Rols Royce - Pod FailureIn his opening statement, Fowler expressed surprise as to why Rolls Royce would allow this matter to go to trial.  When the case was over, the judge and jury echoed Fowler’s initial concerns.  The judge said the jurors asked her why the case ever went to trial.  “The first question they had was why didn’t these people settle when they have to work together,” she said.  U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz said she saw the trial possibly as a “bellweather for lawsuits” filed by other cruise lines that found fault with Rolls-Royce’s pod system.

At trial, Rolls-Royce argued problems with Carnival’s propulsion system were isolated incidents and that the Mermaid pods were not faulty.  However, Carnival demonstrated that four sets of bearings were replaced on four pods from 2003 to 2008.  A Carnival witness testified that the pod was so poorly engineered that the bearings could be made out of kryptonite and still be rendered useless.  Rolls Royce also argued that Carnival knew they were purchasing a risky, developmental
product when they purchased the Mermaid pods.

Micky Arison, the Chairman of Carnival Corporation, testified at trial that the notion that he would take a risk on one of his company’s most prestigious ships was ludicrous.  He had trusted and relied on Roll-Royce’s assertions that the pods were going to function properly; he said he took people at their word and did his business deals “on a handshake.”  When asked by Rolls Royce counsel, the well-known criminal lawyer, Roy Black, whether he considered himself a “shrewd” businessman, Arison made the courtroom chuckle.  He responded that he preferred to be considered a good scout of basketball talent, alluding to the fact that he successfully recruited Lebron James to his winning Miami Heat basketball team.

Arnaldo Perez, Carnival Corporation’s General Counsel, explained that Carnival had trusted in the Rolls-Royce brand and its claim that the Mermaid pod was a “proven, well-tested product.”  It was a highy contentious case that took nearly three weeks to try. Fowler and Black each took two hours for their closing arguments.

Similar problems on other ships in the Cruise industry:

In 2003, Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli filed suit on behalf of Royal Caribbean Cruises and Alstom Power Conversion after the Mermaid pods forced four Celebrity ships out of service on multiple occasions.  The case never went to trial. Almost a year ago exactly, on January 11, 2010, Royal Caribbean and Rolls Royce reached a confidential settlement on the courthouse steps. At a celebratory dinner following the settlement, Richard Fain, the Chairman and CEO Royal Caribbean, presented Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli with a beautiful model ship as a token of their appreciation.

Last month, Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli filed suit on behalf of Crystal Cruises alleging similar Mermaid problems on the Crystal Serenity.

Co-counsel for Carnival, Antonio Rodriguez, said, “We are very pleased with the jury and their decision.  This was an important case for Carnival and it was made possible by the international firm’s personnel functioning as one team.”  Mary Hoelle, Frank Quesada, & Michael Rosen, from the firm’s Miami office, acted as trial attorneys in support of the firm’s lead counsel from New Orleans, Messrs. Fowler and Rodriguez.  The support team also included attorneys A.T. Chenault, Michael Harowski, Cristi Fowler Chauvin, Luis Llamas, Sara Weber, & Thomas Oppenheimer.

Photo credit:    Hess Marketing /  Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli

 

Related information:  We previously reported on the setlement between Royal Caribbean Cruises and Rolls Royce in our article -  Royal Caribbean - Rolls Royce Settlement - For $65 Million I'll Say I Love You

A Mysterious Passenger Death, Another Royal Caribbean Crew Death, Country Music in Mexico, and a Cruise Ship Named After an Ogress

The month of November ends with the mystery of a dead Carnival passenger, another dead Royal Caribbean crew member, a drunk HAL passenger, and the usual weird cruise news. 

Murder Cover Up on the Carnival Liberty?  According to Carnival's PR spokesperson Vance Gulliksen, the death of a passenger on the Carnival Liberty had nothing to so with a crime or FBI - Carnival Liberty Cruise Ship - Passenger Deathviolence, it was just "medical related."  But passengers who were aboard the cruise ship commented on our blog articles Passenger Death On Carnival Liberty Cruise Ship and Death on a Fun Ship: What Really Happened on the Carnival Liberty? that the 36 years old female passenger met a violent if not gruesome death.  We posted a video (left) from one of the passengers showing the FBI leaving the cruise ship with what appears to be bags of evidence.  Is Carnival trying to hide the truth?  It would not be the first time.  We have made a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request and will stay on top of the story.   

Why Did a 33 Year Old RCCL Cook from Jamaica Die on the Oasis of the Seas?  Following the death of a young Jamaican cook on the mega ship Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean took a different PR approach than Carnival and simply said that it is standard protocol to call the FBI following a crew member death.  Actually, there is no protocol to notify the FBI every time a crew employee or passenger dies during a cruise.  The FBI suggests that they be notified when there are suspicious circumstances surrounding a shipboard death.  Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival do a notoriously terrible job handling crime cases and are about the least transparent corporations in revealing information when things go wrong at seas.      

How Could A Single Drunk Passenger Almost "Destroy, Disable, or Wreck" a HAL Cruise Tatlor Swift - Kanye West - Allure of the SeasShip?  An intoxicated passenger dropped an anchor early one morning while cruising on the Holland America Line Ryndam cruise ship.  The FBI arrested the drunk passenger with great fanfare.  The media followed up with the usual throw-the-stupid-drunk overboard stories.  But if there really is a criminal case to be made against the passenger for attempting to “damage, destroy, disable, or wreck a vessel” (a felony pursuant to the United States Code), then what does that say about this cruise line's security protocols?  If a stupid, drunk can single handedly wreck a cruise ship, what do you think a group of smart determined terrorists can do? 

Lesson learned?  There is way too much alcohol and far too few experienced security personnel on these foreign flagged cruise ships.    

Aqua Concert in Cozumel:  On the bright side, country artist Taylor Swift will be singing her hits to a captive audience aboard Royal Caribbean's newest monster cruise ship, Allure of the Seas.  On January 21, 2011, as the cruise ship docks in Cozumel, Mexico, Ms. Swift will perform in the cruise Princess Fiona - Royal Caribbean - Godmother - Allure of the Seas - Fain - Goldsteinship’s AquaTheater, providing an open-air / ocean view concert.  Let's hope that a brandy-sipping Kanye West (above right) doesn't show up on stage and take her microphone away, babbling that Beyoncé should be singing instead.  OK.  I'll admit it.  I prefer Beyoncé rather than the skinny country chick.  But that's not the point. 

Ogress Fiona and the Nation of Why Not?  Royal Caribbean announced that the Godmother of its monstrous Allure of the Seas cruise ship is no other than Shrek's Princess Fiona.  I'm not sure of the thought process behind naming a cruise ship after a cursed by-day princess who becomes an ogress at sunset.  But anything goes at the Nation of Why Not.  Sounds like the results of a deal with DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to market his movie creatures, and RCCL is pleased to cram the movie marketing down their passengers' throats.  Ogress Fiona, President Goldstein,CEO Fain and the Allure's Captain certainly make for a handsome PR photo.  Yikes. 

Cruise Law RoundUp - Cruise Fire Fallout, Business as Usual in St. Kitts, Spy Cruise Spooks, and Oprah Loses Her Allure

Another strange week in the world of cruising, with multiple stories about the cruise industry appearing in the main stream newspapers and on the major television networks.

Cruise Fire Fallout:  The Splendor cruise ship will be out of service until January 2011, meaning Carnival will lose revenue from over 20,000 passengers.  A Time Magazine blog blasted a harsh headline about the predicament with "Worst Cruise Ship Ever: Disabled Splendor To Ruin 20,000 More Vacations."  By my calculations, Carnival is facing around $50 million dollars in lost revenue over the next two months.  But stockholders don't worry.  The cruise line will eventually get every penny back from the Splendor Cruise Ship Fire - Cruise from Hell?manufacturers and designers of the Splendor's engine system.

Cruise Was No Nightmare:  Even though hundreds of local television stations and newspapers covered the "cruise from hell" angle of the Splendor fire, some optimistic passengers (with a sense of humor and a keen perspective) still had a decent time. Colorado residents Maggie and Ken Wildenstein commented "I think Carnival treated us very well" in a nice story in their local newspaper, The Fort Morgan Times, entitled "Cruise  Was No Nightmare."     

Cruise Ship Design Flaw?:  The Splendor was towed to a facility near 10th Avenue in San Diego for repairs to the engine room (article by KUSI News-San Diego).  The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be participating in the investigation into the fire, which is being conducted by the Panama Maritime Authority because, like all of Carnival's ships, the Splendor is registered in Panama to avoid U.S. regulations and taxes.  The local news station in San Diego questions how a single generator failure could cause a catastrophe with the vessel losing all of its power. Does the vessel have a design flaw?  The cruise ship's entire electrical systems should not have been damaged to such a degree.

Business as Usual in St. Kitts:  Two days ago, the tourism board in St. Kitts announced that the "cruise industry" would be sending "security consultants" to the island to investigate whether it was safe for cruise passengers to tour St. Kitts.  Today, a local newspaper announced that the cruise line Oprah Give Away - Free Cruise - Allure of the Seasexecutives pledged to return to the island - "No More Cruise Ship Cancellation to St. Kitts."  Well, that was a fast investigation by the cruise lines.  Although the local newspapers initially chose not to publish the name of the cruise ship involved in the robbery, they were quick to broadcast the names of the five banditos who allegedly robbed the passengers: Elroy "Stanny" Williams (age 29), Devon "‘X Man" Hodge (28), Grenville "Rogie" Rogers (20), Junior "Q" Sabratie (24), and Admenston Lewis (27) all local residents of Sandy Point in St. Kitts.  It's amazing how fast the local police can arrest suspects when an entire country's economy is based on the cruise industry.    

Oprah Loses Her Allure:  The week ended strangely with another Oprah give away, this time a "7-day cruise on the new largest ship in the world," Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.  OK.  I admit it.  I am not a fan of Oprah, who seems rather duplicitous to me.  And Royal Caribbean has a well documented history of exploiting its crew members and the Caribbean islands for decades.  So they team up to give some free cruises for PR purposes to promote Royal Caribbean's newest Monstrosity of the Seas.  Sustainability anyone?   Two thumbs down.       

Spy Cruise Spooks (Kooks?):  Talking about strange, last month, I commented on a rather bizarre event scheduled for this week called the Spy Cruise where certain passengers on the Holland America Spy Cruise - Michael Hayden - Peter GossLine's Eurodam cruise ship can attend lectures and talks on espionage, spies, intelligence, and counterterrorism by speakers who are "intelligence experts, leaders, officers, operatives, analysts, authors and historians, many of whom served in the US Intelligence Community."  Well, a "National Security Reporter" for the Toronto Star, Michelle Shephard, sailed on the cruise this week. 

Ms. Shephard interviewed some of the top former spooks, like Michael Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA and CIA (photo left - is he showing how you waterboard a terrorist suspect?), and former CIA director Porter Goss (photo middle) about some serious subjects like "terrorism, tourism and torture."   By the way, nice cufflinks gentlemen!

Hayden, a supporter of waterboarding, dismissed criticism of the interrogation technique, saying "I don’t care . . .  This is a war . . . It’s about defense. It’s not about going through a judicial process.”  The Canadian reporter, Ms. Shephard, points out the incongruity of discussing ". . . waterboarding when seniors graze on buffets and younger, scantily clad passengers gyrate to a Cher tune nearby." 

Weird. 

 

Credits:

Wildenstein photo:   The Fort Morgan Times, Dan Barker, Times Staff Writer

Oprah and the biggest cruise cruise ship in the world:   Huffington Post

Spy Cruise photo:    Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star 

Cruise Law RoundUp - Cruise Fire, Ambulance Chasers, and More Caribbean Crime

This has been an exciting week in the crazy world of cruising. 

The Allure of the Seas Arrives in South Florida, But No One Noticed:  Last Thursday Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, the world's biggest cruise ship, arrived in its home port of Port Everglades after sailing across the Atlantic from the shipyard.  The Allure joins its sister ship in the Genesis class, the Oasis of the Seas, in Fort Lauderdale. Unlike the great fanfare surrounding the Oasis' arrival last December, the Allure's debut in South Florida was largely a non-event.  The little publicity Allure of the Seassurrounding the mega cruise ship's arrival was overshadowed by the spectacle taking place on the west coast of the U.S., as tugs towed the disabled Splendor to San Diego following an engine room fire which left the Carnival cruise ship dead in the water off of the coast of Mexico.  

Bigger But Not Better:  The arrival of the Allure juxtaposed with the wounded Splendor re-ignited the debate whether this new breed of big ships, which many call floating malls - and which the cruise lines market as supposedly incorporating the cruise industry's newest technologies - is really a big step backwards.  The LA Times interviewed me and members of the International Cruise Victims in "Stranded Cruise Ship Offers Lesson in Huge Vessels' Vulnerabilities."

How could a super sized new ship like the Splendor be rendered a powerless tub by a single fire to only one of its six diesel engines?   What about the redundant safety systems which have existed in cruise ships for fifty years?   And aren't these beasts of a cruise ship the embodiment of everything non-sustainable about the cruise industry?   The Huffington Post addressed the surreal nature of the cruise industry and its huge ships in an "age of dwindling energy reserves and burgeoning population" in an excellent article "Cruising for a Bruising."   

Carnival Splendor Cruise FireTo Sue or Not to Sue?  The issue of cruise disasters and ambulance chasing lawyers reached an regional, national and international audience following the fire aboard the Splendorr.  On Monday, I wrote an article criticizing lawyers who are trolling for passengers to sue Carnival for the ship fire.  I pointed out three reasons why a lawsuit against the cruise line is ill advised.  

My article reached a regional audience when Kevin Gale at the South Florida Business Journal touched on the subject in an article "Carnival Splendor: To Sue or Not to Sue."  Gene Sloan of USA Today's Cruise Log took the issue to U.S.readers when he wrote "Sue Carnival over Splendor Incident? Don't Bother, Says Top Cruise Lawyer," Ashby Jones of the Wall Street Journal Law Blog chimed in with "Plaintiffs’ Lawyer to Splendor Passengers: Don’t Bother Suing," and Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal covered the issue with "Cruise Ship Lawyer: Smelly Toilets and Cold Showers Won’t Support a Lawsuit."   John Honeywell (@CaptainGreyBeard) of the U.K.'s Mirror took the story overseas with "Splendor Passengers Back Carnival." 

Carnival v. Wartsila?  Although I expect few passengers to file suit against Carnival, there is no question that Carnival will make a claim against the diesel engine manufacturer, Wartsila.  The Splendor is only 2 years old.  Diesel engines are not suppose to crack a crankshaft, burn the engine room, and shut down a $700 million cruise ship like this.  The Splendor is expected to be out of service for two months.  By my calculations, that means Carnival will lose the fare and onboard purchases of 3,000 passengers for 8 weeks or so.  That sounds like a loss of tens of millions of dollars which Carnival will be expecting Wartsila to pay.

Celebrity Passengers Robbed in St. Kitts:  Four banditos robbed 17 cruise passengers from the Mercury cruise ship on a bus during a cruise excursion in St. Kitts.   As usual the local tourism board St. Kitts - Crimeproclaimed that such crime is rare.  But the truth is that robbery and murder of cruise passengers are regular occurrences in the Caribbean.  Its unheard of sailing from Vancouver to Alaska, but its business as usual in the Caribbean islands.  Its a function of poverty and drugs.  A couple of cruise lines are now skipping St. Kitts.  One line is now calling on Antigua where a young woman sailing on a Star Clippers cruise ship was murdered ashore in January.  You can't find a Caribbean island where cruise passengers have not been a victim of a violent crime.  Beautiful, but dangerous.  

Cruise Law News (CLN) Moves Up:  The popularity contest and my unabashed self promotion of CLN continue.  CLN is the no. 12 most popular law blog per the Avvo-Alexa rankings.  Expect a top 10 announcement by Thanksgiving.  Many thanks to our readers and those of you who support our blog by leaving comments.  We appreciate your comments, pro or con.    

 

Credits:  Bottom photo: "Destination360 St. Kitts and Nevis"