According to the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), more cruise passengers have sailed in Florida and around the world than ever before.
Last year, the number of passengers taking cruises on North American cruise lines increased approximately nearly 4 percent to 17,600,000.
6,150,000 passengers sailed from Florida, an increase of 1.3 percent to 6.15 million from the prior year. Miami saw more than 2 million cruise passengers boarding ships, and Fort Lauderdale saw more than 1,800,000 passengers.
Florida also remains the lawsuit capital of the world against cruise lines.
Most cruise lines insist that lawsuits involving injuries to cruise passengers must be filed in Florida. Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Silversea Cruises require in their "forum selection clauses" that passengers file suit in this state of they are injured or a victim of a crime during the cruise.
It doesn't matter where the cruise departed from (a different state or even country), the passenger tickets of these cruise lines state that their guests must pursue their cases here in Florida.
Several years ago, the Miami Herald published an article "Lawyers Turn Cruise Lawsuits Into Industry." The article stated that between 2001 and 2006, over 2,100 lawsuits were filed against the Miami based cruise lines - Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.
The article begins:
"How many lawyers does it take to sue a cruise line?
Only one, or one too many if you're the cruise line.
The $25 billion-a-year cruising industry has faced more lawsuits than it cares to count over the past few decades -- some 2,100 in South Florida alone since 2001.
Many are filed by a small group of lawyers -- about 15 locally -- who specialize in representing injured cruise passengers and crew members and make up a thriving cottage industry in South Florida."
The article mentioned that I was one of the "big three" leading adversaries of cruise lines.
I have not seen an analysis of lawsuits recently, but we know that the number of people cruising since 2006 has increased substantially.
The cruise ships have gotten bigger and bigger and the fleets have grown substantially.
There has also been an unprecedented number of cruise ship disasters which have plagued the cruise industry as of late.
Every single day we receive a telephone call, or an email, or a Facebook inquiry, or a comment to this blog about a serious cruise ship injury.
In the last few days, we filed:
- a lawsuit when a child from Mexico was seriously injured on the Flow Rider;
- an arbitration claim on behalf of an Indian crew member (waiter) with a serious back injury who was denied appropriate medical care;
- a lawsuit by a Canadian passenger whose finger was amputated by a cabin door which slammed shut due to a wind current from an open balcony door; and
- an arbitration claim filed on behalf of a crew member who was denied medical treatment from the cruise line for advanced Hodgkin's Disease.
Yes, most people have a fun time on a cruise vacation. But many passenger and crew members become seriously injured or denied appropriate medical treatment during cruises, particularly crew members from around the world.
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Photo Credits: Jim Walker