This week, a number of passengers contacted our office after returning from the harrowing end of their ill fated cruise aboard NCL’s Norwegian Breakaway.
News accounts indicate that on January 2, 2018, the Breakaway stopped at its private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Videos available online show the weather, initially calm and pleasant, turning rough as the passengers used tenders to return to the cruise ship. This was a foreshadowing of things to come.
By this date, and as early as December 31, 2017, weather forecasters were unanimously predicting that a huge storm would form off the U.S.’s southeast coast and head north later in the week.
But Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) stuck with its itinerary and subjected the passengers to several days of extreme winds and waves as the hurricane-strength storm pounded the cruise ship on January 3rd and 4th. Water leaked into the ship as passengers complained on social media of panic and seasickness with several dozens of frightended passengers sleeping in the ship’s atrium. CBS quoted one passenger as saying that “there were people crying, everyone was throwing up. It was a nightmare. It was so tilted I was shaking.”
Many passengers complained about a lack of communication from the captain.
NCL downplayed the incident which infuriated many of the traumatized passengers.
In one of several statements released by NCL after the Breakaway returned to port in New York, NCL claimed that the cruise ship “encountered stronger than forecasted weather conditions.”
The cruise line’s conduct and lack of transparency are similar to the conduct of Royal Caribbean after the Anthem of the Seas cruised into a major storm which, like the Grayson “bomb cyclone,” was well forecast in advance. The captain of the Anthem claimed that the storm was not accurately forecast, which led Al Roker, the popular television weatherman on the Today Show, to state “Royal Caribbean’s claim that this was not predicted is bullfeathers.”
Cruise lines ordinarily have a duty of only “reasonable care” under the circumstances. But in instances of rough weather, cruise lines have a much higher duty of care to the passengers. Some characterize this duty as the “highest duty of care” of the passengers when the ship is expected to encounter rough weather.
Our firm previously represented traumatized passengers on the Anthem of the Seas which Royal Caribbean recklessly sailed through a violent storm in 2016. You can see a video of my interview with a New Jersey television station here.
Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Faceboook page.
January 10, 2018 Update: Passengers Consider Lawsuit After Norwegian Cruise Line Sails Through Winter Storm Grayson (Video).
Image credit: CBS News