Contributors

Charles R. Lipcon
Charles R. Lipcon is the firm's founding attorney and has been handling injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims for over 40 years. Read More »
Jason R. Margulies
Jason R. Margulies is an experienced maritime lawyer and an active trial attorney handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims. Read More »
Ricardo V. Alsina
Ricardo V. Alsina is an active trial attorney, handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims. Read More »
Michael A. Winkleman
Mr. Winkleman is an active trial and appellate attorney handling all personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims, as well as complex business disputes. Read More »

Carnival Cruise Line Expands Itineraries, But Will It Ever Improve Shipboard Safety?

Posted by

Accidents on the high seas take place on everyday basis, but unfortunately, not everyone can survive the dangers that can be found in open waters. There are times in which maritime accidents involving cruise ships, cargo vessels or even personal watercrafts can lead to serious – if not fatal injuries.

The recent Carnival Triumph cruise ship fire accident is just one of the many in a long line of cruise line mishaps. Although no one was seriously physically injured or killed, passengers and crewmembers had to sustain five excruciating days at sea amongst waste that was overflowing from non-working toilets and the bare minimum in food provision.

Yet, in the wake of the Carnival Triumph fire, it would only be logical to think that the “Fun Ship” fleet would make a serious effort to improve safety features onboard their ships. Unfortunately, it seems as though Carnival has a different idea of where the funds should be allocated.

Yesterday, Carnival Cruise Lines announced that is expanding its cruise offerings from Port Canaveral, FL on its largest locally-based vessel. According to the company, one of the newer ships in the fleet, the Carnival Dream, will now be offering eight-day Caribbean itineraries, two new five-day itineraries, and a new seven-day eastern Caribbean itinerary that will feature four port visits. The new itineraries will commence in May, but it’s ironic that somehow, after the Triumph fire accident, previous Costa Concordia capsizing and several others, Carnival has the funds to propose new travel itineraries, but doesn’t have enough to work on improving maritime safety regulations on their vessels.

Carnival Dream’s two new eight-day schedules include a three-port Caribbean itinerary with extended stays at Aruba, Curacao and Grand Turk, and an eastern Caribbean itinerary.

The five-day cruises will be the first for the Dream, who has only offered long itineraries in the past. One of the itineraries features stops at Key West, Nassau and Freeport while the other offers visits to Nassau and Grand Turk.

As far as the seven-day cruise itineraries, Carnival has added a new four-port, seven-day eastern Caribbean itinerary that includes stops at Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Nassau.

Although under other circumstances, news of new itineraries for cruise ships would be exciting. Unfortunately, all of these changes and add-ons to the Dream don’t happen for free. It takes a lot of money to change an itinerary or add a new one to a ship’s schedule, especially one as large as the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream.

So if Carnival somehow has enough money to promote itself and add new port visits and extended itineraries, it begs the question: Why doesn’t it spend more money on passenger safety?

The same amount of money spent by Carnival on these cruise expansions could have been used to provide training programs for crewmembers, inspect vessels more thoroughly before leaving port, or tighten security onboard vessels to prevent accidents or crimes from taking place.

The simple and obvious answer is that promotion and expansion is more likely to lead to increased revenue than improving passenger safety. Studies and experience has shown that although cruise disasters occur – and may occur to one brand or parent more than others – it does not seem to dampen the spirit of the market of people looking for inexpensive vacations. In short, it seems that people are often more likely to put a priority on economic value over safety.

Nevertheless, when corners are cut on safety, that “value” dream cruise may turn into a very expensive nightmare, complete with medical bills, lost wages, and a lifetime of pain and suffering.

It’s hard to believe that Carnival would even think to promote itself at a time like this. With over 4,000 passengers and crewmembers having had quite possibly the worst cruise ship experience imaginable – aside from death – it would be impressive for Carnival if it can round up some new guests following the debacle onboard the Triumph after the fire knocked out all power on the ship.

The investigation into the Triumph fire remains open, with the Bahamian government leading the case. Unfortunately, because the Triumph flies a Bahamian flag, it is the Bahamian maritime authority that is in charge of executing the investigation, and not only do they not have the same amount of resources we have in the U.S., but they may not even reveal the results of the investigation.

It is important for all passengers who were onboard the Triumph on the Feb. 7 itinerary to understand they should not have to just put up with what happened. According to maritime law, which cruise lines have to abide by, cruise ships have to provide for the safety of those onboard, and this includes making sure passengers are not exposed to the squalid conditions Triumph guests were subjected to.

If you or someone you love was onboard the Carnival Triumph “cruise from hell,” contact our cruise ship accident lawyers today to discuss your options in filing a Carnival Triumph lawsuit.

Photo Credits:

Top Right: Carnival Dream – cruiseshipforum.com
Bottom Left: Carnival Dream Collage – waterwaysnews.com