Miami-Dade Cruise Medevac at Port of Miami Caught on Video

CBS Miami Channel 4 reports tonight that a cruise passenger aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ship was medevaced over the weekend after he choked on a piece of meat. At one point, emergency dispatchers reported that he was not breathing.

The water was too rough to make a vessel-to-vessel transfer. A Miami-Dade helicopter hoisted the young man and flew him to Jackson Memorial Hospital. 

 

 

Andy Stuart - No Wonder He's Smiling

The Securities & Exchange Commission reports that Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Executive Vice President Andrew Stuart sold 67,701 shares of NCL stock in a transaction last week at an average price of $40.35, for a total value of $2,731,735.35.

You can read more information about the stock sale at Ticker Report.

Mr. Stuart reportedly now owns 180,099 shares of the cruise line stock, valued at approximately $7,266,995.

So, including just his NCL cruise stock and cash from his recent NCL stock sale, Mr. Stuart is worth at least NCL's Andrew Stuart$10,000,000.

Cruise executives make fantastic money. We all know that Carnival executive Micky Arison is worth somewhere between $5,000,000,000 and $6,000,000,000 (billion). Royal Caribbean executives Richard Fain and Adam Goldstein have raked in over $100,000,000 between them. And even a vice president, like Mr. Stuart, can make $10,000,000.          

At the same time, the tax-free cruise industry is incredibly cheap when it come to paying crew members a decent salary. Cleaners routinely work well over 300 hours a month for as little as $550. Crew members receive virtually no benefits.

Mr. Stuart's company, in particular, routinely refuses to permit cruise passengers who have just lost a family member, or children diagnosed with cancer, to reschedule their vacations.  

All those nickels & dimes NCL is saving off of its hard-working crew members and unfortunate customers are lining the pockets of the cruise executives. 

 

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

Photo Credit: Twitter

Measles On Alaska-Bound Cruise Ship

According to Alaska Business Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Anchorage Quarantine Station notified the Alaska Section of Epidemiology on September 11, 2014 of a "suspected measles (rubeola) case associated with the cruise industry."

The press release stated that "an adult crew member had recent contact with a confirmed measles case abroad, and subsequently developed classic clinical symptoms of measles on September 9 while onboard a ship in Alaska waters."

The patient apparently flew on international and domestic flights as well as cruise travel while infectious. The release says that "all cruise passengers will be informed of possible exposure directly Cruise Ship Measleswhile on board the ship."

The release downplays the chances of the crew member infecting someone who might have disembarked in Alaska. But there remains the possibility that the infected crew member may have infected passengers or other crew members (to the extent that they were not vaccinated) who could get off the ship either in Vancouver or Seattle, assuming this was a cruise which originated in these cities.   

The governmental agencies did not mention the name of the cruise ship, but claims that all cruise passenger who possibly could have been infected "will be" notified.

The report raises troubling issues.

Why would the governmental agencies keep the name of the cruise ship secret, except to avoid embarrassment to the cruise line? 

Have the cruise passengers (and crew) in fact been informed? 

If not, when will the passengers (and crew) be notified?

I'm asking the readers of Cruise Law News the following questions:

Has anyone been notified of the risk of being infected during a cruise to Alaska?

Does anyone know what cruise ships were in Alaskan waters on September 9th?

Measles outbreaks on a cruise are very serious. We reported on such an outbreak earlier this year - Measles Outbreak On Costa Pacifica Cruise Ship.

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

September 16 2014 Update:  We received the following comments on our Facebook page:

"I just returned from a cruise to Alaska I was on the cruise ship the Pearl we were notified on Saturday that we may have been exposed to the measles.

"We were notified - the crew member was removed from the ship while we were at sea." 

NCL Cruise Measles

Graphic (top): www.gmanetwork.com

NCL's No-Cruise-for-the-Cancer-Child Public Relations Disaster Continues: "Shocking What Norwegian Did"

NCL Norwegian Cruise Line Cancellation Policy The case of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) callously refusing to permit the family of a five year old boy with a cancerous tumor, "the size of a soda can," to reschedule their cruise is back in the news today.

A Long Island, New York news station PIX11 aired an interview with the mom and her son discussing the sad case. NCL refused to cooperate in rescheduling the cruise when the family discovered that their son had cancer.

You can read about our prior article here.

Sitting on the interview couch with the mom and her son was a formidable ally for the cancer-stricken child - Pauline Frommer.

Ms. Frommer is the daughter of the legendary travel expert Arthur Frommer. Ms. Frommer, an accomplished and highly respected travel expert in her own right, explained that NCL has the "most draconian" attitude toward cancellations in the cruise industry.  

She added that "most of the other lines would have shown more compassion."

Ms. Frommer concluded "I think it's pretty shocking what Norwegian did." 

Interested in this topic? Read Rigid Policies Can Sink Cruise Lines' Image.

 

Norwegian Cruise Line Wins Worst Cruise Line in the World Award

Nicolas-1It's been a while since I awarded my "Worst Cruise Line in the World" award. Quite frankly, I became tired of giving it to Carnival and Royal Caribbean every month.  But a reader of Cruise Law News just sent me a story of little Nicolas Colucci, age 5, who underwent emergency surgery after doctors found a "a large cancerous tumor growing inside his liver." He is now undergoing chemotherapy. 

The Lil' Mama website explains that the Colucci family bought a family cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) that was scheduled for June 1, 2014. The family asked NCL to reschedule their cruise to another date. NCL refused.  NCL wouldn't bend their corporate policies regarding medical emergencies - not even for a child battling cancer. You can read about the dreadful story here.

This is not the first time that NCL has acted in such a heartless manner. 

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a man from Key Largo who purchased a NCL cruise on the Norwegian Sky leaving from Miami. But his brother died, and the funeral was in Georgia on the day the cruise ship sailed. So he notified NCL, asking for a credit on a future cruise. NCL said no. He asked for his cruise to be donated to charity (Make-A-Wish). NCL said no.

Now comes the sick part. NCL then re-sold the cabin to someone else. Yep. NCL got a double profit due to the death of a guest's brother. Really sick. 

NCL is active on Twitter @CruiseNorwegian, so I tweeted a reference to the article.

No response.

NCL's "Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Passenger Services," Andy Stuart, is also active on Twitter @nclandy. So I tweeted him "Double cruise profit for death? Say it aint so Andy!"

No response.

Nicolas-2NCL should have permitted a child with cancer and parents go on a once-in-a-lifetime cruise. Or make a small donation in memory of their customer's brother. But to double sell the cabin under these circumstances?  It's cruel, greedy and outrageous.

Last year, I wrote again about NCL. A grandmother who drives disabled kids to school booked a cruise aboard the Norwegian Jewel for her family and grandkids at the cost of over $4,000. Then Superstorm Sandy struck, submerging her home under four feet of water. The storm ravaged her home, leaving her with nothing. She asked NCL to reschedule or refund her cruise. NCL said no way.

She appealed to NCL CEO Kevin Sheehan but the cruise line and its CEO wouldn't make an exception. Absolutely no refund or rescheduling. Heartless.

Yesterday, I attended a hearing before Senator Jay Rockefeller entitled "Improving Consumer Protections for Cruise Passengers." Cruise passengers testified regarding all types of harsh conduct by cruise lines who hide behind the unreadable fine print in their one-sided, passenger tickets. At one point during the hearing, Senator Rockefeller exclaimed that he was "fed up" with the cruise lines and their "callousness."

NCL is all smiles when it sells a family a "cruise of a lifetime." But when death, disaster or a medical emergency strikes, it shows its true colors.

NCL may have a great marketing image, but it can be your worse enemy in a time of true need.

Have a thought? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on our Facebook page. And let NCL know what you think by contacting them below:

Kevin Sheehan NCLNCL Corporation Ltd.
7665 Corporate Center Drive
Miami, Florida 33126

Corporate: (305) 436-4000

Andrew Stuart
Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Passenger Services
astuart@ncl.com
(305) 436-4000 

Andrew Stuart's twitter account: @nclandy

Kevin Sheehan (photo right)
Chief Executive Officer
ksheehan@ncl.com
(305) 436-4000

NCL Twitter: @CruiseNorwegian

July 26 2014 Update: According to a FOX NEWS station today, a "CEO of a popular cruise line reached out to the Colucci family to offer them a free cruise. The CEO asked that his cruise line not be named because he said he was genuinely touched by their story and didn't want any publicity for his gesture."

So who was the CEO?  Which cruise line did the right thing?

Here's a clue:

Last year, NCL abandoned a grandmother (and her grandchildren) after she bought a NCL cruise when her home was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.  NCL CEO refused to reschedule his customer's cruise. But Royal Caribbean stepped up to the plate and gave the family a free cruise. Read the story: Norwegian Cruise Lines Abandons Sandy Victims, While Royal Caribbean Steps Up to the Plate!  

July 27 2014 Update: The story goes viral. First a  national Fox News station covers the story and then the U.K.'s Daily Mail (the largest online newspaper in the world) covers it. Bad Karma for NCL.

July 29 2014 Update:  The public relations fall-out continues.  Opposing Views ran a story. TravelPulse also covered the story.  Gawker wasn't too subtle with its headline Cruise Line Screws Over Family of 5-Year-Old With Cancer. PRNews wrote Norwegian Cruise Line Drowning in Bad PR. Huff Post Parents Parents Outraged Cruise Line Won't Reschedule Their Trip In Light Of Son's Cancer Diagnosis. Anti-Jared wrote a letter to the NCL CEO.  

All of this reminds me of one of my favorite sayings - "Karma is a bitch only when you are."

 l to the NCL CEO.

Harvest Caye: Are NCL and the Belize Department of Environment Con Artists and Lackeys?

Earlier this month, we talked about the efforts of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) to slow down or block the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) "mega cruise development" on Harvest Caye in Southern Belize. 

You can read our article here.

It seems that Belize's Department of Environment (DOE),under pressure from Miami-based NCL, rushed the massive and environmentally unsound project and avoided consulting with the public in Harvest Caye NCLBelize.

We have seen other cruise lines destroy ancient coral reef and mangroves during dredging and land-clearing projects to build one-sided projects designed to suck the money and resources out of Caribbean countries.  

Today I ran across a "letter to the editor" from the Chairman of the Placencia Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association.

Characterizing the NCL executives who pitched the project as "con men" and those Belizeans who are hastily moving the project ahead without public participation in the environmental impact analysis as "lackeys," the tourism president asked some compelling questions about the Harvest Caye project.  

You can read the article here

NCL will carve up the mangroves and tear out the reefs to build their fantasy resort and wedge their massive ships in.  

Once projects like this are plotted and hatched here in Miami, the wishes of the local people are irrelevant. Its only a matter of time before the bulldozers rip out the mangroves and the indigenous flora and fauna are replaced by the fill of crushed reefs. 

 

Image credit:  ambergristoday.com

Belize Tourism Industry Association Sues NCL to Block Mega Cruise "Harvest Caye" Development in Belize

Belize 7 News reports in an article "BTIA Gets Their First Day In Court Against NCL" that the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) is trying to block the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) "mega cruise development" on Harvest Caye in Southern Belize.

BTIA argues that under pressure from Miami-based NCL, Belize's Department of Environment (DOE) rushed the massive and environmentally unsound project and avoided consulting with the public in Belize.

The news source quotes the lawyer for the BTIA saying that the DOE refused to provide the public with notice of the project and an opportunity to object to the Miami-motivated project:  " . . . they were Harvest Caye NCL Projectrushing the thing and doing it in breach of the law which is set up there to make sure that the public has full opportunity to participate."

In April, the San Pedro Sun reported that there was resistance to the project with local residents objecting to the flawed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the procedural impropriety of the DOE for failing to follow statutory procedures.

The newspaper indicated that NCL and local supporters of the project hosted a wine and filet mignon party on the Norwegian Jewel to convince the local media to support the Harvest Caye project.

Read NCL Wines & Dines the Media While Frosting the Harvest Caye Cake.

This area has beautiful, ancient coral reefs (see video) which will be destroyed by the dredging to accommodate NCL's large cruise ships.   

Consider what Royal Caribbean did to the coral reefs when it expanded the port in Falmouth, Jamaica

More Trouble for Cruise Tourism in Roatan

The Telegraph reports that Cruising Excursions, a company which operates tours exploring Roatan's "fishing villages, mangroves, iguana farms and beaches," announced that it is canceling its tours on the island.

An excursion company representative said that “a string of reports of robberies, violence against visitors and now this horrific murder have forced us to suspend our cruise excursion programme on this beautiful island. "

The newspaper further quoting the spokesperson saying that it is “very sad for the majority of law Roatan Hondurad Cruise Crimeabiding island residents, especially those who make a living from tourism but we cannot recommend cruisers go ashore until we are reassured that measures are in place to protect visitors."

The excursion company also said that all bookings have been canceled with full refunds.

Roatan is in crisis mode trying to respond to the murder of a Filipino crew member from the Norwegian Pearl a week ago. We previously reported on the horrific crime

The excursion company's withdrawal from Roatan is significant because it was based not only on the recent homicide but on what it describes as a string of violent robberies this year. 

We reported on prior armed robberies in January and March

Roatan attended the Cruise Shipping Miami convention in Miami Beach last month to promote its port. I stopped and took a photo of the booth. I thought that it was just a matter of time before something like this happened.

 

Photo Credit:  Jim Walker

Honduran Police Arrest Bay Islands Resident in Murder of NCL Crew Member

A number of news sources are reporting that the national police and special forces in Honduras arrested a suspect last night for the murder of the Norwegian Cruise Line crew member in Roatan.

The Honduran newspaper Tiempo reports that an arrest of Guzman Ramirez has been made in the murder of NCL assistant cook "Jacob."

The suspect was hidden in the home of relatives, located in Coxen Hole, just 400 meters from the murder scene.

Guzman Ramirez Roatan MurderWhile capturing the suspect, the police seized a .38 caliber revolver, allegedly involved in the murder. (The newspaper states that the crew member had two gunshot wounds, one in the left arm and another in the chest).

The newspaper states that the suspect was detained for drug possession in January but was quickly released by the police. 

The Honduran police originally arrested two other suspects but released them.

The newspaper also states that the suspect is originally from the Bay Islands and is not from the mainland of Honduras as many people thought. Many people in Roatan have informed us that the Bay Islands are peaceful and their crime problems mostly stem from the mainland.  

You can see other photographs of the suspect and the arrest here - CAPTURADO HOMICIDA DE FILIPINO.

We were the first in the U.S. to report on this terrible crime. You can read the initial accounts here.

NCL quickly announced that it is pulling its cruise ships from Coxen Hole for at least a week. 

Royal Caribbean is continuing to sail to Roatan although passengers from that cruise line have been robbed at gunpoint.  

Carnival is still sailing to its facility at Mahogany Bay in Roatan despite cruise passengers been robbed at gunpoint

Honduras is one of only two countries (the Bahamas is the other) subject to a critical crime warning from the U.S. state department.  You can read the warning here. Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world and has had such a record since 2010.

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Norwegian Gem

NCL Medevac Cruise Ship The Coast Guard issued a statement today that it rescued a man in medical distress from the Norwegian Gem cruise ship. 

The Coast Guard stated that the NCL cruise ship called for assistance when the ship was sailing around 80 miles off the coast of Nags Head, North Carolina. The Coast Guard received the distress signal at approximately 2:30 PM.  It sent a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. 

As you can see in the video, it looks like the crew had a little difficulty getting the passenger into the helicopter.

The helicopter crew hoisted the man onto the helicopter round 5 PM and flew him back to land where he was transported by ambulance to Albemarle Hospital in Elizabeth City. 

Photo Credit: WCTI 12

March 28 2014 UpdateNorwegian Gem Medevac Involved Honeymoon Couple (VIDEO)

 

And The Cruise Industry Wonders Why It Has An Image Problem: NCL Screws Another Customer in Distress

David Lazarus of the LA Times writes about how Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) refused to either refund or credit the cruise fare to 66 year old David Warlick and his wife after she was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent emergency surgery.

In his article "Cruise Line Unmoved By Customer's Cancer Emergency," Lazarus points out that although cruise corporations are considered to be a person under the U.S. Constitution, "when called upon to demonstrate a little human decency, they almost unfailingly respond with profound corporate indifference."

NCL defended itself by saying that it has a strict cancellation policy. Moreover, NCL pointed out the Norwegian Cruise Line - Kevin Sheehancouple should have purchased insurance. But NCL had no legal obligation to screw its cancer stricken guest. From a moral perspective, it could and should have done the right thing and let the couple reschedule their cruise until a later date.

This is not the first time NCL has acted like a bad corporate citizen.

NCL refused to refund the cruise fare of a passenger whose brother died and the funeral was on the same day as the cruise. The guest notified NCL, asking for a credit on a future cruise. NCL said no. He asked for their cruise to be donated to charity (Make-A-Wish) so a child with cancer could enjoy a once in a lifetime cruise. NCL said no. Then NCL re-sold the cabin to another couple.

NCL got a double profit due to the death of a guest. Ugh.

NCL also demonstrated a lack of humanity when a grandmother, whose home was destroyed last year after being submerged by Superstorm Sandy, tried to reschedule a $4,000 cruise aboard the Norwegian Jewel for her family and grand kids. She appealed to NCL for help.

She even wrote the CEO Kevin Sheehan (above right) asking to refund the cruise or reschedule it, but the cruise line and its CEO wouldn't make an exception. NCL said absolutely no refund or rescheduling, even though the grandmother works driving special needs kids to school. This trip was going to be her first vacation ever, in 70 years.

But NCL refused to help the family and took their money. A news station says that when it approached NCL about the terrible situation, the cruise line erected a "stone wall of silence."

 

Photo Credit: prhub.com

NCL Stewards Required to Make 70 Beds & Clean 35 Cabins in 4 Hours, But Appellate Court Rejects Penalty Wage Claims

"Freestyle cruising." Carefree and fun? Maybe for the NCL cruise passengers. But hardly for the crew.

After reading this decision, I'll never think of "Freestyle cruising" as anything less than an abusive work system for the stewards on NCL cruise ships.  

The case I am referring to is the opinion released yesterday by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal: Wallace et al. v. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd., Docket No. 1:09-CV-21814-FAM.

The case involves senior cabin stewards who worked aboard NCL cruise ships. They filed suit under the Seaman's Wage Act, 46 U.S.C. 10313, alleging that NCL did not pay them their full wages because their compensation did not take into account the money they were required to pay their helpers to NCL Freestyle Cruisingcomplete their work on embarkation days.

The federal district court found that additional wages were owed, but refused to award "penalty wages" under the Act. "Penalty wages" are owed in the amount of 2 days’ wages for each day payment is delayed. Once the delay or non-payment is proved by the seafarer, then the burden shifts to the cruise line to prove that the delay or non-payment was justified. On appeal, the federal appellate court affirmed the decision and concluded that there was no evidence of willful or arbitrary misconduct by NCL.

The appellate court's opinion, which is here, is worth reading.

In a nutshell, the appellate court affirmed the district court's conclusion that NCL didn't realize that a single senior cabin steward would be unable to clean 30 to 35 cabin and change and make 70 to 75 cabins in a few hours. It's hard to understand how a court could be so naive. Of course, cabin attendants need assistance in doing all of this work in just around 4 hours.  Although the courts rejected the penalty wage claims, it's still interesting to read the opinion to consider the difficulty and pressure of the work by stewards on NCL ships:     

"A passenger’s time spent on a cruise ship is typically very relaxing, at least until it is time to disembark. In this case, the defendant-appellee NCL (Bahamas) Ltd., (“NCL”) decided to make that last day of the voyage less stressful for its customers. To accomplish this goal, NCL implemented a new policy, called “Freestyle” cruising, which permits passengers to stay aboard for a longer time after the ship has docked on the last day of their voyage. Passengers, who would normally disembark very early, are allowed to stay on board until as late as 10:30 a.m. That is the good news.

The bad news, at least for the NCL employees who worked as senior stateroom stewards aboard the cruise ships, is that on that same day, while one group of passengers is leisurely disembarking, another group of passengers is eager to board and begin their cruise ship experience. Due to the arrival of these new passengers, NCL required the senior stateroom stewards to have all of the cabins cleaned by 2:00 p.m. This made it much more difficult for the senior stewards to timely complete their work. That is, although they began their work shifts at 7:00 a.m., for the most part, they were unable to begin cleaning the cabins until as late as 10:30 a.m. because the departing group of passengers was still enjoying their Freestyle cruise. This in turn allowed scant time to complete the assigned cleaning work by 2:00 p.m. In light of the substantial workload and the shortened time frame within which to complete it, most of the senior stewards adopted the practice of hiring helpers (out of their own pocket) to assist them in completing their work on embarkation day.

                                                       *                       *                     *

On embarkation day (the day a cruise ends, passengers disembark, and new passengers board), senior stewards had to clean between 30 and 35 cabins (although there was some dispute over how many beds 30 to 35 cabins contained, senior stewards had to strip and make at least 70 beds) before new passengers arrived. On these days, their responsibilities included: (1) stripping the beds of linens and sheets; (2) separating the linens and sheets; (3) making the beds; (4) dusting the cabins; (5) sanitizing the cabin’s handrails, door handles, closet doors, frequently touched areas, and telephones; (6) cleaning any used coffee pots and ice buckets; (7) separating the garbage into bottles, cans, paper, and plastic; (8) taking garbage to the incinerator; and (9) vacuuming the cabin and hallways. NCL had rigorous standards that required “immaculate” cabins and a quality control system to randomly check for cleanliness.

In 2000, NCL implemented its Freestyle cruising policy, which permitted passengers to stay on board later on embarkation day. This policy was designed to maximize relaxation for passengers. Prior to this time, NCL required passengers to disembark by 8:00 or 8:30 a.m. With Freestyle cruising, passengers could stay as long (or almost as long) as they wished. The senior stewards technically started their work at 7:00 a.m. on embarkation day, but under the Freestyle cruise system, passengers would leave their cabins much later. Indeed, few passengers would leave before 8:30 a.m., and most passengers did not disembark until 9:30 or 10:30 a.m. Because new passengers would venture to their rooms soon after boarding, NCL required that all cabins be cleaned by 2:00 p.m. This caused problems for NCL senior stewards on embarkation day. One NCL supervisor noted that with the Freestyle “concept we also advertise relax[ing] debark[ation] which puts another stress” on embarkation day.

Although junior stewards worked alongside the senior stewards, they offered little or no help, and in fact had their own separate work responsibilities. The senior stewards therefore had to complete a substantial workload in a shortened timeframe. And, if they failed to finish their assignments or rushed their work, they faced a quality control process that could lead to verbal and written reprimands. Thus, the senior stewards had to hire helpers to complete their duties on embarkation day."

NCL Breakaway Breaks Apart During Rough Weather

NCL Breakaway Cruise ShipMultiple news sources are reporting that just weeks after its debut, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) newest ship, Breakaway, sustained damage from rough weather conditions.

The Cruise Critic website reports that the NCL Breakaway was returning to New York from Bermuda when it encountered winds exceeding 50 knots. Balcony dividers became dislodged. 

A Cruise Critic member, joeski27, complained that the balcony came apart with loose bolts and broken welds. "There were panels, metal segments, bolts and debris everywhere, and I can only imagine the similar damage elsewhere on the decks." 

Comments to the Cruise Critic site complained of poor design of the exterior of the ship.

If you have comments or photos of the cruise ship damage, please leave a comment below.

Photo Image: Wikimedia / Dickelbers

Norwegian Cruise Lines Abandons Sandy Victims, While Royal Caribbean Steps Up to the Plate!

WABC New York TV reports on a story tonight which may explain why many cruise lines have a major problem with their reputation. 

The story involves a grandmother, whose home was destroyed last year after being submerged under four feet of the surging Superstorm Sandy, who had booked a cruise aboard the Norwegian Jewel for her family and grand kids at the cost of over $4,000.

Joanne Keating was set to sail on November 4th, just days after the storm. She was left with nothing NCL - Norwegian Cruise Line after the storm ravaged her home. Her home and life savings were all gone.  

Ms. Keating appealed to Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) for help. She even wrote the CEO Kevin Sheehan (right) asking to refund the cruise or reschedule it, but the cruise line and its CEO wouldn't make an exception. Absolutely no refund or rescheduling. 

The pitiful thing is that Ms. Keating and her daughter make a living driving special needs kids to school. This trip was going to be her first vacation ever, in 70 years! But NCL could care less. It refused to help the family and took their money.

The news station says that NCL acted cruelly and when approached about the terrible situation, erected a "stone wall of silence." 

Its not the first time that NCL has acted so selfishly.

Read And The Cruise Industry Wonders Why It Has An Image Problem if you want to know about some really bad customer abuse by the people at NCL.

The local news station in New York was resourceful and asked another cruise line to help the stricken family out.  Royal Caribbean, of all cruise lines, offered the family a free cruise. Watch the video below.     

 

Photo Credit:  prhub.com

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

23 Reports of Sexual Assault on NCL Cruise Ships in 15 Months

A court case pending in Miami contains an insight into the number of sexual assaults which occur during cruises.

The case is Jane Doe v. NCL and involves an incident where a cruise passenger alleges that she was raped in the toilet stall of a public bathroom while participating in a "Pub Crawl" on the Norwegian Sun.  A "Pub Crawl" is what I would describe as a drinking game where NCL employees take passengers to bars throughout the cruise ship where they are served booze. I mentioned the case last year.  

The federal district court judge just entered a number of orders in the case which are of interest.

Norwegian Sun Cruise Ship - Sexual AssaultNCL filed a motion arguing that it owed no obligation to warn its guests of the risk of being raped on the high seas. The court rejected the cruise line's argument.

The court pointed to the fact that there were 23 allegations of sexual assault on NCL cruise ships for the 15 month period before the incident (January 2010 to April 2011). The history of prior sexual crimes on NCL's fleet of cruise ships raised the issue whether the rape on the Norwegian Sun was foreseeable which, the court held, is an issue for the jury at trial.

NCL also argued that it had no duty not to over-serve passengers alcohol during cruises.  The federal court also rejected this argument. The court adopted the holding of a state court case, Hall v. Royal Caribbean, where a state appellate court ruled that cruise lines face liability when they serve passengers alcohol beyond the point of intoxication.

The security report on this case concluded that the passenger was "extremely intoxicated." 

Last week, I mentioned that NCL just adopted a "all you can drink" alcohol policy for $49 a day.  In our experiences there is a direct correlation between too much cruise booze and sexual assaults. 

The passenger in the NCL case is being represented by Miami maritime lawyer Keith Brais who posted copies of the court orders on line here and here.

NCL is being defended by Miami lawyer Curtis Mase.  Mr. Mase was involved in a highly publicized case in 1999 where a trial court ordered Carnival to reveal the number of sexual assaults against cruise ship passengers. This was the first time a cruise line had to reveal the extent of shipboard crimes.

Carnival disclosed that there were 62 incidents on its cruise ships for a five year period.  Two weeks later, the New York Times reported that Carnival located another 46 incidents and raised the tally to 108 incidents of sexual misconduct over the preceding 5 years. 

NCL Adopts "All You Can Drink" Policy

ABC News reports that Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has adopted an all-inclusive drink package on three of its cruise ships (Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Gem & Norwegian Jade) at $49 per person per day plus tips.

NCL is following Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean which all offer all-you-can-drink plans on their cruise ships. 

ABC states that the cruise lines "stand to make big bucks from the drink packages."  ABC explains that Drunk Cruise Passengermany cruise passengers tend to drink more during the first few days of the cruise than they do later during the cruise. But the drink packages often have to be purchased for the entire voyage, which motivates the passengers to drink more so not to lose the value of all-you-can-drink deal. 

As we have argued in prior articles, we have found that there is a direct correlation between excess booze and passengers going overboardsexual assault, and brawls between passengers, plus drunken passengers doing insanely dangerous and stupid stunts.  

Watch what happens on a Royal Caribbean cruise when passengers drink too much.

We are going to have to hire more lawyers if all of the cruise lines adopt such an irresponsible drinking policy. 

 

Photo credit: NIN Forum

NCL Assistant Cruise Director Sentenced to Nine Years for Child Pornography

Today, a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) former assistant cruise director was sentenced to nine years in jail for possessing child pornography.

Senad Djedovic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, was arrested earlier this year after he boasted about engaging in sexual relations with a 16 year old girl who sailed on the NCL Star cruise ship with her parents. 

After the cruise ended, Djedovic exchanged emails with the underage girl and received a number of sexually explicit photographs.

Other crew members on the NCL cruise ship observed the photos and learned the girl's age and reported Djedovic to NCL which contacted the FBI. A search of Djedovic's computers revealed child Senad Djedovic - NCL - Child Pornpornography. 

NCL employed Djedovic from 2005 to March 2012 aboard a number of different cruise ships. 

We wrote a series of articles this year about this case which you can review here, including videos of him singing on YouTube. 

After Djedovic was arrested, a number of crew members and friends came to his defense arguing that he should be acquitted because sex with a 16 year old is not a big deal and this kind of conduct is not illegal in most countries. We received bizarre comments to this blog to this effect.

Parents who consider cruising with their teenage daughters should take into consideration that this is the mentality of some crew members toward your underage children.

Former NCL Assistant Cruise Director Pleads Guilty to Child Porn

The Tampa Bay Times reports that yesterday a former Norwegian Cruise Lines crew member formally pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.  Earlier this month, the crew member agreed to make this plea. 

The case involves former NCL Assistant Cruise Director Senad Djedovic, age 29, from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Djedovic engaged in sexual relations with a 16 year old girl during a cruise last January. Later, Djedovic solicited naked images from the minor and reportedly received more than 20 pornographic images. 

Senad Djedovic - NCL Pervert - Child PornThe article points out that Djedovic used a NCL company computer to correspond with the teen and receive the images. 

Cruise Law News reported on the case back in February in our article "FBI Arrests NCL Assistant Cruise Director for Engaging in Sex With 16 Year Old Passenger & Child Pornography."

We mentioned that under a sub-folder entitled "scandals" there were several videos depicting sexual acts with 12 to 15 year old girls, which were downloaded from the internet. The Department of Justice charged Djedovic with sexual abuse of a minor and possessing materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

Djedovic worked for Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) for six years for a number of different NCL cruise ships.

"Love for Sail" - NCL's Marketing Coup

Love for Sail - NCL Norwegian Cruise Lines has pulled off a major marketing coup with several of its cruise ships being featured in a new reality show called "Love for Sail."  

Think of the new show being a mix of "The Bachelor / Bachelorette" meets "The Love Boat."  Men and women will set sail on a NCL ship looking for love.  TV Cruise Director Julie McCoy from the Love Boat has been replaced by two cruise directors "Bocko" and Carmen who will act as matchmakers for the beautiful people during the cruises.

Fox News describes the activities as including activities on and off of the cruise ships:  

"The passengers go on dates, parties and shore excursions, stopping in ports of call that include Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Nassau, Bahamas.  The series will be shot on the Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Star with scenes filmed in the Mandara Spa, the Bliss Ultra Lounge and La Cucina Italian restaurant . . . "

The show premieres on the Lifetime channel and will debut tomorrow night (April 10th) at 10:00 PM EST. 

With as much bad news coming out of the cruise industry this year, "Love for Sail" has the potential to bring a sense of romance and escapism back to the cruise industry - unless one of the NCL cruise ships catches on fire, collides or sinks during one of the shows .  .  .    

 

Photo credit: Lifetime / NCL

Passenger Goes Overboard From NCL's Norwegian Sun in Falmouth Jamaica

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein reports that a NCL passenger went overboard from Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sun shortly after the cruise ship pulled out of the Falmouth shipping pier in Jamaica late Wednesday. 

Professor Klein has the most complete list of passenger overboards over the course of the last ten years.

Professor Klein's website refers to an article in the Jamaica Observer which reports that the Trelawny police responded to an incident late on Wednesday involving a passenger who died after going overboard from the top deck of the cruise ship Norwegian Sun.

The newspaper quotes the head of the Falmouth Police Division, Superintendent Andrew Lewis, stating that he was informed that the cruise passenger was taken from the water by crew members of the vessel, which had turned around after an alarm was raised that the passenger had jumped.

Famouth Jamaica Passenger OverboardThe police reported that the incident occurred 25 minutes after the vessel left the Falmouth cruise shipping pier about 6:00 pm.

The article is confusing, claiming that the passenger allegedly "jumped" while  Superintendent Lewis referred to "the man falling in the water."

Yesterday, the Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett issued a bizarre statement, expressing regret over the incident but said he stating that "the circumstances has nothing to do the destination."

NCL, which is based here in Miami, has not issued a statement about the incident.  The only reports I have seen about the passenger overboard are from Professor Klein who is in Canada, and the newspaper in Jamaica.  

The Miami-based cruise lines do a remarkable job keeping these type of incidents under the radar.

Like many overboards, it is less than clear whether the passenger jumped or fell, and if so whether alcohol was involved.

If you were on the cruise or have information, photographs or video regarding the incident, please leave a comment below. 

November 4, 2011 Update:Norwegian Sun Passenger Overboard

Tonight NCL issued the following statement:

"At approximately 7 pm ET on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, a guest traveling on Norwegian Sun was observed jumping overboard from a public area on Deck 12.  The ship immediately turned around, launched rescue boats and conducted a search.  At approximately 8 pm ET, the guest was located in the water, returned to the vessel and pronounced deceased by the ship’s doctor.

All appropriate authorities have been notified.  Out of respect for the family, the company will not be releasing any further details.  Norwegian Cruise Line extends its deepest sympathies to the guest’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Norwegian Sun departed Port Canaveral, Florida on October 29, 2011.  The ship is sailing a Western Caribbean itinerary and had visited Falmouth, Jamaica on Wednesday."

November 7, 2011 Update:

Several passengers have left comments below.  One passenger, Kate, sent us a photograph of one the rescue boats.  (The exposure of the photo was adjusted substantially because it was very dark).

Two Passenger Deaths on NCL Cruise Ship

Multiple news sources are reporting that two passengers died aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship which returned to port in Boston this morning.  The passengers died separately on the ship on Thursday.

One of the passengers, a 67-year-old woman, has been removed from the vessel.  State Police said that her death was not suspicious.

The second death, involving a 23-year-old man, is being investigated.  His cabin is being scrutinized by crime scene investigators because of his young age and the unknown cause of his death.

Massachusetts State Police and Suffolk County detectives are investigating the deaths.  

NCL has yet to commented on either death. 

The last time a young passenger died on a NCL was August of last year.  A 21 year old passenger died aboard the Epic after a severe allergic reaction to peanuts.   

Were you on the cruise or have information about these deaths?  Please leave a comment below.

October 28, 2011 Update:  The NCL cruise ship is the Norwegian Dawn.  The local District Attorney states that neither incident involved foul play.  

NCL Abandons Elderly Woman with Sick Husband in Columbia, Proclaims Its Their Fault

NCL Cruise Horror StoryA local news station in Tampa, WTSP 20 News, has a story about an elderly couple's cruise horror story. 

Betty and Ronald Coleman from Port Ritchie Florida were sailing on a Panama Canal cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl when Mr. Coleman contracted what is described as norovirus.  NCL put the Colemans ashore in Cartegena Columbia without contacting the couple's son Mark, even though they listed him as the emergency contact on paperwork the cruise line required them to fill out. 

Ms. Coleman, who was obviously overwhelmed by trying to take care of her sick husband, complains: "My son is on the paper you sign, for next of kin to be called in case of an emergency. I would have thought they would have notified him if they are leaving me in a foreign country."  

The couple's son first learned of his parent's plight after receiving a frantic call from his mother.  She did not know where she was.  NCL subsequently told him that that she was still on the cruise ship.  Finally, Mark had to contact the State Department to find his parents.

NCL claims that it provided the couple with an opportunity to call home, but the Colemans allegedly "chose not to."   How and why this allegedly occurred is not explained.  But a cruise line should never disembark an elderly couple like this in a foreign country without first making sure that it contacted the emergency contact.  It's far fetched to believe that the couple instructed NCL not to call the emergency contact.  It's inexcusable for NCL not to have done so.  Ms. Coleman seemed stressed out and Mr. Coleman, described in the video as " . . . so sick that he could not sit up to even sign a paper," was obviously so ill NCL didn't want him on its cruise ship.  

NCL issued a completely unrepentant press release.  NCL side stepped the norovirus issue, denied responsibility for not telling the family of the emergency, and claimed that the Colemans were, in fact, "appreciative" of the cruise line agent's assistance ashore in Columbia.

  

 

The guest relations team on a cruise ship should always contact the emergency contact number whenever it forces a family off of a cruise ship in a medical emergency.

Blaming the sick elderly guest in a case like this reflects poorly on the cruise lines' manners.

For other similar stories, read:

And The Cruise Industry Wonders Why It Has An Image Problem . . . (continued)

Passenger from the NCL Spirit Rescued from the Mississippi River

Multiple news sources are reporting that a passenger from a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship went overboard in the Mississippi River last night. 

The Norwegian Spirit had sailed for approximately three hours from New Orleans when the passenger went into the river around 8:00 p.m.

NCL Spirit Overboard - Norwegian Cruise LinesA rescue boat was deployed from the NCL cruise ship.  The passenger was rescued and returned  back to the cruise ship.

The passenger was injured and received medical treatment aboard the cruise ship which made arrangements to disembark the passenger ashore further treatment.

There are no reports explaining how and why the passenger went overboard.  The good news is that the passenger was rescued safely, which is not the usual outcome of cases like this.

A photograph was taken of the rescue by a passenger aboard the cruise ship and posted via Twitter, @sheets.

Does anyone have information about this latest overboard?  Please leave a comment below.

 

Photo credit:   @sheets

Passenger Death On Norwegian Cruises Lines' Epic Forces Cruise Ship's Return To Miami

The Miami Herald and CBS-4 are reporting that the NCL Epic cruise ship returned to port in Miami late last night shortly after leaving on a Caribbean cruise due to a medical emergency involving a passenger. 

The Miami Herald's article "Emergency Forces Cruise Ship's Return to Miami - Passenger May Have Died" stops short of stating that the passenger died.  But numerous on line sources are indicating that the emergency involved a passenger death. 

NCL Epic - Norwegian Cruise Line Epic - Cruise DeathThe newspaper's story is based on comments posted on what is described as a "popular cruising website" (probably  CruiseCritic.com).  The comments apparently suggest that a 21 year old passenger may have died due to an allergic reaction to something he ate.  A number of police officers boarded the cruise ship when it returned to port in Miami, and there is alot of speculation about what happened.   

There has been no information released by NCL, which adds to the speculation.  This cruise line public relations contacts are Susan Robison, vice president, corporate communications & media promotions (305) 436-4762 srobison@ncl.com, and AnneMarie Mathews, director, public relations (305) 436-4799 amathews@ncl.com.  

And its vice president of sales and passenger services, Andy Stuart, is a regular on Twitter @nclandy and tweeted non stop when the Epic made its inaugural voyage a few months ago. 

Cruise lines like NCL lose alot of credibility when the only time you hear from them is when they are selling cruises and they disappear when trouble strikes.  

Update:

A travel agent and blogger's website Chris Cruises has the following statement from NCL:

“After setting sail on a seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise yesterday at approximately 4 pm, Norwegian Epic returned to the Port of Miami at approximately 12:45 am for a medical disembarkation. While the ship was approximately 40 nautical miles from Miami, a guest on board suffered a heart attack and passed away. All local authorities were notified and some met the ship upon arrival. The ship departed at approximately 2:45 am. Norwegian Cruise Line extends its sincerest thoughts and prayers to the guest’s family during this difficult time.”

Although the official NCL statement references a "heart attack," the FBI stated that the passenger had an allergic reaction to food.

A passenger on the cruise left a comment below that the passengers ate peanuts in a cookie.

The comments regarding the incident at Cruise Critic are here.   

The passenger has been identified as Kevin Edouard of Spring Valley, New York.

August 20 2010 Update:

A news station in Tampa reports that NCL confirmed that Mr. Edouard suffered a severe allergic reaction to peanuts: "Epic Passenger's Allergy Believed to be Peanut." 

August 23, 2010 update:

Passengers on the cruise are commenting that another passenger died and a brawl broke out during the cruise.    

Please leave a comment below if you are on the cruise or have information about what happened.

 

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines Pull Ships From L.A. Due To Crime In Mexico

The Los Angeles Business Journal reports today that Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas and NCL's Norwegian Star are pulling out of Los Angeles because of the increasing violence in Mexico. 

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, which had been sailing on 7 day cruises to Mexico, will leave L.A. in January 2011, and will eventually home port in Galveston, Texas.

Cruise Ship Crime MexicoThe newspaper reports that the drug war in Mexico has caused nearly 30,000 deaths since 2007. Passengers on cruises to the "Mexican Riviera" have dwindled by 21 percent.

Norwegian Cruise Line also stated that it will no longer offer cruises to Mexico from Los Angeles after May 2011.  The Norwegian Star is relocating to Tampa, Florida.

The article quotes Cruise Industry News: “People are obviously concerned about the violence and justifiably so . . . they don’t want to get caught in the crossfire.”

Royal Caribbean is quoted saying that the decision to eave L.A. was part due to violence in Mexico and part an economic one: “We’re looking to maximize our profits . . . both Europe and the Caribbean are hotter tickets than the Mexican Riviera, and there’s a stable market out of Galveston.”

The economic factor the article discusses is that the cruise lines earn a lot of money income from shore excursions.  Some passengers fear getting off the ship.

I'm not sure how this is much different from the crime in many of the Caribbean ports of call.

 

Credits:

Photograph     Time

 

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Thanks!  Jim Walker   

Norwegian Cruise Line Drops St. Lucia

St. Lucia News On Line reports that Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) dropped St. Lucia from its 2010-2012 schedule.

The article states that NCL abandoned St. Lucia because of attacks on cruise passengers which occurred on three occasions while the cruise passengers were sight-seeing on the island.

St. Lucia - Crime - Cruise ShipsIt's about time.

Last December, we reported on out-of-control crime in St. Lucia, and the cruise line's failure to warn passengers:

14 Cruise Passengers Robbed at Anse-La-Raye Waterfall in St. Lucia

Crime in Caribbean Ports of Call Against Cruise Passengers

Most U.S. passengers do not understand the high rate of crimes against Americans in Caribbean countries like St. Lucia, Jamaica, Antigua and the Bahamas. 

Cruise lines face legal liability when they take passengers into dangerous locations and fail to warn them of crime, particularly during cruise sponsored excursions.