Yesterday, water reportedly flooded down the central stairwell on the new MSC Seaview while the ship was cruising in the Mediterranean. The spectacle was filmed by a number of cruise passengers with one such video being posted on the home page of MSC Seaview Fans on Facebook.

Some people commented that there must have been a broken pipe, although exactly what caused the water to pour from the stairwell ceiling is not clear. Other commented that there was a thunderstorm in Barcelona yesterday, although that does not really explain why the water poured into the ship.  Other comments were to the effect that this is a new ship just out of the shipyard, which had its inaugural cruise in June of this year.

You can see the video here (after we posted this article the video was removed):

The incident is reminiscent of  a water break on the Carnival Dream last May, which flooded around fifty guest cabins on the Carnival cruise ship.

“Ship happens” as they say, especially at sea. It looks like a lot of mopping and clean-up by the hard working MSC crew members.

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Video credit: Screenshot from video by Corrado Brignolo via MSC Seaview Fans Facebook page.

On Tuesday, a Finnish cruise passenger, who had been placed in a holding cell for his unruly / intoxicated behavior, “tried to light his underwear on fire,” according to a newspaper in Finland.

It appears that the drunken guest was successful in starting the fire because a “smoke detector was activated by the burning undergarment” and crew members reportedly “put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.”

How the cruise passenger was able to access a match in the holding facility remains a mystery. Nonetheless,  the cruise line’s manager of safety was quoted in the newspaper as saying that “on the whole, though, we won’t have to take too many measures beyond our regular  procedures.”

The incident reportedly took place on Viking Line’s Cinderella cruise ship.

The brief fire (pun intended) sent three crew members who inhaled smoke to a shore-side hospital. The crew members subsequently returned to the ship unharmed.

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Photo credit: Peterkz – CC by 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

Today I awoke to the weird news that Carnival Cruise Line will re-name the nineteen-year old Carnival Triumph the Carnival Sunrise, after spending around $200 million on “new amenities including bars, restaurants, water slides, bigger suites, a comedy club and other attractions,” according to the Miami Herald.

The Herald explains that the Carnival Sunrise will join the Carnival “Sunshine Class” as a sister to the Carnival Sunshine, which was formerly the Carnival Destiny, which underwent a renovation in 2013 costing around $155 million.

The renovation of the Triumph into the Sunrise reportedly will begin on March 1st in Cadiz, Spain and take two months.

The amazing thing about the Miami Herald’s article was that it never mentioned the infamous “Poop Cruise,” a nickname which the media placed on the Tiumph  after its engine room caught fire, the cruise ship lost power in the Gulf of Mexico, and the ship had to be towed back to the United States.

Litigation against Carnival revealed that the cruise line grossly neglected the maintenance of the cruise ship. The lawsuits were predictably unsuccessful, however the damage to Carnival’s reputation was already done.

The Wikipedia article on the Carnival Triumph contains little other than a description of the fire, the disgusting conditions which the Carnival guests faced, and the highly publicized slow tow back from Mexican waters whch played out daily on cable news.

Carnival may rename the Triumph the Sunrise after it spends $200 million for renovations, but it will always be known as the “poop cruise” ship by those with a memory.

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Photo credit: Getty Images via the Daily Mail

FTI Berlin Lifeboat Non Conformity This weekend I was notified by a passenger, on a German cruise ship named the Berlin, that the ship has been stuck in Dublin, Ireland for the past several days.

I was not familiar with the cruise ship or the German cruise line, FTI, which operates it. I have learned that the Berlin is considered to be a small cruise ship, carrying a little over 400 passengers. It was built in 1980 and is flagged in Malta.

The Berlin arrived at its scheduled port of call early in the morning of June 14, 2018 in Dublin, where it has remained for the past three days. The delay has already caused the passengers to miss the remaining port of call. It appears that the passengers will be disembarked today in Dublin and flown back to Bremerhaven. Embarkation for new passengers will reportedly occur tomorrow in Dublin.

“We arrived on 14 June suppose to sail same date 17.00.  Suppose to sail yesterday then said today finally this morning captain said to guest waiting for information from the home office and port authorities.  Guests were given 250 euro on their cards and refunded their excursion fares.”

The cause of the delay seems to be a problem with one of its 6 lifeboats which, reportedly, is “out of order.”  The exact problem with lifeboat no. 6 has not been disclosed to the guests or crew but it was discovered by port authorities during an inspection on June 14th.

Maritime regulations including Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) require a minimum number of operational lifecrafts (a combination of lifeboats and liferafts).

Photo credit: Anonymous

Interested in this issue? Read Floating Drydocks at Sea – A Growing Problem? It seems that passengers on cruise lines operated by German companies are subject to  the same problems on U.S. based cruise lines.

FTI Berlin Lifeboat Non Conformity

A number of newspapers are reporting that a resident of New York is suing Celebrity Cruises after he scalded his feet on a hot deck on one of its cruise ships several years ago.

The 66 year-old passenger, who apparently suffered from pre-existing neuropathy of his feet, was sailing aboard the Celebrity Silhouette when the incident occurred. The cruise ship had docked in Greece and, after briefly leaving the ship, he returned to the Silhouette after deciding that it was too hot and he would rather spend time in the cruise ship pool.

The New York Post explains that he reportedly parked his scooter cart near a swimming pool on deck 12 (not sure exactly which one), took off his shoes (and apparently his socks) and walked bare-footed the rest of the distance, around 10-12 feet, to the pool. Because of the nerve damage to his feet, he did not realize the scalding heat of the pool deck surface or the burns to his feet. But when his spouse and another traveling companion joined him in the pool, they noticed that his feet were severely burned and “from toe to heel, the skin was just hanging off,” according to the new accounts. He reportedly declined an offer by the cruise line to fly home for medical treatment. His feet later became infected and he ended up having one of the toes amputated.

He located a lawyer who filed suit against the cruise line in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, seeking $5,000,000 in damages for his injuries and $1,000,000 for his wife’s loss of consortium claim. The lawsuit alleged that Celebrity should have warned passengers about the “extremely hot” deck. The newspaper quoted him saying: “. . . I took off a pair of shoes and left them in the cart to go to the pool. If they had just given a hint that it was that hot…”

The popular cruise blog, Cruise Radio, asked the questions every cruiser wants to know: “Do you believe the cruise line had a responsibility to post warnings about the hot deck? . . . Or should someone with his condition have been more cautious given he returned to the ship due to the heat?”

Of course, the answer to both questions should be “yes.” Any time that a simple warning can avoid serious injury, including the amputation of a portion of a guest’s body, it should be provided. Only the most cynical person would not want to see such mental and physical suffering to be avoided. But at the same time, anyone suffering from peripheral neuropathy affecting his feet should obviously take special precautions to avoid this type of injury. There is no mention in the articles whether the passenger thought to simply touch the surface with his hand and then wear his shoes, or sandals, or flip-flops across the hot deck to the pool.

The news accounts of the lawsuit has generated considerable press, with most readers calling the injured cruise ship guest “stupid” and his lawsuit “frivolous.”

But there is no question that a pool deck can create second degree burns to a passenger on a hot summer day; the cruise lines are aware of this danger and can avoid injury to their guests with an Silhouette Hot Deck Lawsuiteffective warning. There have been a number of lawsuits filed against the Miami based cruise lines for burns due to hot decks.

The case of Gibbs v. Carnival Cruise Line involved an injury to a child, back in 1998, who suffered second degree burns on the soles of his feet when he stepped onto the hot surface of the deck of the Carnival Destiny. The child was under the care of Carnival employees in the cruise ship’s Camp Carnival child care program. His parents had to interrupt the family vacation and return home to New Jersey with their child to care for the boy’s injuries.

In 2012, an Orlando resident sustained severe burns on his feet caused by a hot surface of the Lido pool deck on a Carnival cruise ship. He sued Carnival for his physical injuries, as well as for pain, suffering and mental anguish related to the hot deck. He also alleged that his feet became severely infected due to the poor shipboard medical treatment. The Miami New Times commented on the lawsuit, stating that the “roasting deck surface led to nasty burns, as well as ‘serious and permanent scarring, disfigurement, and embarrassment.'” The New Times article gave the painful ordeal a comical spin in an article titled Lawsuit Claims Hairy Man Contest On Cruise Led To Burned Feet For Florida Man when it was learned that the guest was injured while participating in a “hairy chest” competition on a hot deck.

At least one hot Lido deck – burned feet case, very similar to the current Celebrity case, went to trial against Carnival last year. I heard that it also involved a guest with a pre-existing peripheral neuropathy involving his feet due to diabetes. The case ended with a jury returning a defense verdict against the passenger.

Carnival is not the only cruise line sued for super-hot pool decks. In 2016, a Norwegian Cruise Line passenger sustained second-degree burns on the bottom of his feet. He claimed that NCL failed to warn him that the deck near the pool area was hot enough to cause such an injury. The guest had gone swimming in the ship pool after taking off his flip-flops; but when it was time to get out of the pool, someone had removed his flip-flops, requiring him to step on the hot deck with his bare feet. He suffered from diabetic neuropathy and did not feel the severity of the heat as it burned his feet. His case settled at a mediation conference.

The curious thing about the recent Celebrity lawsuit is that is was filed in federal court in Brooklyn and that it was brought nearly four years after the incident in July 2014. The terms and conditions of all cruise passengers tickets require that lawsuits against Celebrity (as well as NCL, Carnival and Royal Caribbean) must be filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida (a condition which has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court (see Carnival Cruise Lines v. Shute).

Also, absent an agreement to extend the filing deadline, lawsuits against a cruise line must be filed within one year of the accident/injury. The docket sheet for the Celebrity lawsuit shows that the case was filed on May 10, 2018 (almost 3 years too late). The time for Celebrity’s response is not due until June 1, 2018.

Expect for the cruise line to move to dismiss the case for being filed too late and in the wrong courthouse.

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Photo credit: Top – Fred Hsu on en.wikipedia – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

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

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

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

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

Video Credit: 新中国频道

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https://youtube.com/watch?v=0UH4ER94nHo%3Frel%3D0

A reader of Cruise Law News informs us that the Carnival Glory became stuck near the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico this afternoon after the cruise ship dropped several hundred feet of anchor chain and an anchor. The Carnival ship had just left Old San Juan (El Morro). A Carnival crew member states that the cruise ship’s starboard anchor became stuck after the ship left port. 

There are several on line videos of the Carnival Glory stranded outside of the port.  

A crew member states that the anchor chain was cut and the anchor left in the water, and the ship finally was able to sail away, headeding toward the next stops on its itinerary, the Turks and Caicos.

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The last time that I heard about an anchor being dropped at sea while the ship was underway was when an intoxicated passenger aboard Holland America Line’s Ryndam snuck into a restricted area on the ship and released the vessel’s anchor as the cruise ship was returning to Tampa from Costa Maya, Mexico over seven years ago. The FBI arrested the passenger on felony charges of attempting to “damage, destroy, disable, or wreck a vessel."

Video: Seguridad Noticiasd

 

Two cruise ship officers are accused of robbing guests who reportedly won over a million dollars from the ship’s casino. The incident reportedly occurred several weeks ago on an unnamed cruise ship while it was docked in Piraeus, Greece.

Cruise CasinoA newspaper in Greece reports that over the course of two nights, two Bulgarian passengers gambled in the ship’s casino and won over $1,000,000 dollars. After their big night of winning, the guests cashed in their winnings ($1,030,000) and returned to their staterooms. The newspaper explains that an hour later, one of the guests alleges that he was attacked and robbed by two ship officers (reportedly a Canadian and an Israeli officer), who stole $430,000 in cash from the guest’s cabin safe. The guest reported the incident to the ship and the port authority. 

Local police boarded the ship and arrested the two officers who reportedly had $430,000 in cash with them. However, the officers claim that the guests, who were not arrested, were cheating and the officers were simply obtaining the illegal proceeds back from the guests. 

Hat tip to the popular Crew Center for first reporting the bizarre story to the cruise community. 

The newspaper in Greece did not disclose the name of the cruise line or cruise ship where the incident occurred.

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Spain has quitely chartered a cruise ship to be positioned at the Port of Barcelona as housing for thousands of riot police and security officers in order to try and suppress rebel Catalans who are seeking an independence referendum.

You can read about the dispute in Spain in a New York Times article As Catalonia Referendum Nears, Tensions Rise in Spain

According to Bloomberg Politics, Spain hired the the Rhapsody to house a portion of the 16,000 security forces in advance of the October 1st referendum passed by the Catalan Parliament but declared illegal by Rhapsody Spain’s highest court. The riot police are intended to try and control the pro-independence campaigners. 

Bloomberg writes that Spain is putting "more boots on the ground" near Barcelona in order to arrest local officials and raids regional-government offices prior to the referendum.

In addition to the Rhapsody which has a capacity of 2,448 people and can accomodate 700 vehicles, Spain is chartering two additional unnaned ferries to house the riot police. Not to be confused with the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas, the Rhapsody is a RoRo ("roll on – roll off) cruise-ferry operated by the Italian shipping company Grandi Navi Veloci SpA. 

Chartering cruise ships to provide housing is not particularly uncommon, at least where extra housing is needed following hurricanes or for special events such as the Olympics. But it seems highly unusual for cruise ship or ferry operators to agree to lease their ships as housing for riot police to be used in such a hotly disputed political and probably violent dispute.

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Photo credit: Grandi Navi Veloci 

September 22, 2017 Update: A photograph of the Rhapsody (bottom) at the port of Barcelona was posted today on Twitter, via @15MBcn_int.

September 26, 2017 UpdateBarcelona stevedores vote not to supply Spanish "police ships."

Rhapsody at the port of Barcelona

Rebel CruiseYesterday, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) canceled a cruise organized by a Canadian media group, Rebel Media, in response to pressure from an anti-racist organization.

The "Rebel Cruise" was touted by Canadian media personality and far-right provocateur Gavin McInnes who advertised the cruise aboard NCL’s Getaway as "a week at sea with like-minded folks . . . talking about making Canada great again."

In the past, Rebel Media has sponsored cruises with Miami-based cruise lines. 

McInnes has made outrageous statements about Jews, women, and blacks, according to news reports. Rebel Media has been accused of promoting far right, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, white-supremacist fringe groups, according to numerous newspapers including the Independent.

An U.K.-based group, Hope Not Hate, campaigned against the "Rebel Cruise." Hope Not Hate described the cruise as a "hate-filled holiday." It asked its supporters to sign a petition calling for NCL to ban the group. The advocacy group say that Mr. McInnes had ties to Jason Kessler, the white supremist activist who organized the neo-Nazi / KKK/ alt-right "Unite the Right" protest which erupted in violence in Charlottesville this last weekend. Both McInnes and Kessler are reportedly members of Proud Boys, a far-right male-only organization, according to the Miami Herald.

Rebel Media demanded that NCL reinstate the cruise, claimimg that NCL should "announce that they will not discriminate against conservatives on their cruise line." A representative of Rebel Media argued in an email to the Miami Herald that NCL "wasn’t fair, and they smeared our reputations too."

The Canadian newspaper, the National Post, meanwhile, reports that Rebel Media seems to be falling apart. Mr. McInnes announced that he is leaving Rebel Media and the media group just fired a prominent Rebel Media reporter, Faith Goldy, who had covered the "Unite the Right" protest in Charlottesville and provided a perspective which was sympathetic to the neo-Nazis. She recently appeared in a podcast from Charlottesville on the "dailystormer" website, operated by neo-Nazis and white supremecist groups (before they lost their web hosting by several internet providers). 

Ms. Goldy and Mr. McInnes were listed as "featured speakers" on the now cancelled "Rebel Cruise."

Kudos to NCL for not not giving cover to this group of bigots. 

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