Contributors
Charles R. Lipcon

Charles R. Lipcon is the firm's founding attorney and has been handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims for over 40 years.Read More »

Jason R. Marguiles

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 »

Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Law

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Alcohol on cruise shipsLast week, our maritime lawyers here at LMAW talked about Norwegian Cruise Line’s new all-inclusive alcohol sailings, where the ship will include alcohol in the ticket price for select three- and four-day itineraries on the Norwegian Sky. We discussed how alcohol has often played a role in cruise passenger accidents and injuries – sometimes even leading to fatal alcohol poisoning. Yet, instead of regulating alcohol sales on board ships, cruise lines continue to encourage a drinking environment. While many cruise passengers avoid purchasing alcohol during their sailing, Norwegian’s new all-you-can drink option can lead to a greater number of people becoming intoxicated and, consequently, a greater number of accidents.

From our perspective, there are a ton of cons associated with the all-inclusive alcohol sailings. But from a passenger standpoint, we can see how not having to worry about purchasing individual drinks or an expensive beverage package might be appealing. But is the option really that much of a benefit for cruisers or is it just another way for the cruise line to make a profit? Let’s take a look at what the real cost of these sailings looks like.

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Norwegian Criuse Line, Norwegian Sky, all-inclusive alcohol, unlimited alcohol, cruise ship accident lawyersThe cruise ship accident lawyers at our firm have often discussed how dangerous it can be for cruise passengers to become intoxicated while on a ship. Unfortunately, cruise lines tend to promote a drinking culture, as a huge portion of their profits stem from alcohol sales. Though there’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks while on vacation, the problem is that not every cruise ship bartender cuts passengers off when they’ve had one too many, leading many passengers to become overly intoxicated, which then leads to accidents, injuries, sexual assault, and even alcohol poisoning deaths. Many times, the victims of alcohol-related incidents are underage, such as the 14-year-old who died from alcohol poisoning aboard the Carnival Miracle in 2013.

But while alcohol has been the cause of several tragic accidents and fatalities on ships, it doesn’t appear as though the cruise industry is going to make any changes to better regulate onboard alcohol sales and consumption. In fact, things might actually get worse pretty soon, following a recent announcement by Norwegian Cruise Line.

Norwegian announced this week that it will be offering an all-inclusive drink package for guests on select Norwegian Sky sailings. This means that passengers are going to be able to drink all the alcoholic beverages they want for the entire duration of their cruise without having to pay a penny. No individual drink charges. No beverage package. No limits. This is a recipe for disaster if we ever saw one.

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cruising, expenses, cut costs, cruise lawyers, cruise expensesCruising can be a lot of fun. From the food to the entertainment, there are a lot of benefits a cruise vacation can offer over a land-based escape. But it while cruising does have its perks, our cruise attorneys here at LMAW know that costs can quickly add up on the high seas. Below are three tips that can help curb the extra expenses that can be incurred while sailing aboard a ship.

Bring a Care Package

Our cruise lawyers have often blogged about how expensive it can be to obtain medical care while on board a ship. Even something as minor as aspirin can cost you well over what you would expect to pay at a land-based pharmacy or drug store. But it doesn’t stop there. Regular every day essentials like bottled water and toothpaste can cost you an arm and a leg if you’re purchasing them on board. If you’re going on a cruise, make sure to pack a first aid kit with supplies like bandages, alcohol pads, and headache medicine so you can avoid incurring extra fees. Also, remember to pack basic toiletries, including hygienic products, cologne, and other commodities to avoid extra charges. Continue reading

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Cruise shipsWith spring and summer approaching, individuals are likely to be making summer vacation plans. But while a cruise vacation may initially look like a good value, there are definitely some things consumers should consider before they take the plunge and book their cruise vacation. Our cruise lawyers here at LMAW offer some insight into what the real cost of cruising can look like.

Consumers are often lured in by deceptively-low vacation package deals offered by cruise lines. These “all-inclusive” deals promise meals, lodging, and the adventure of a lifetime, along with access to special cruise amenities. What isn’t often listed in the fine print is that a cruise vacation often comes with hidden fees that aren’t listed when you book your vacation.

For instance, while food is included, drinks are not, and a drink tab can easily run into the hundreds of dollars per person over the course of a week-long vacation. Shore excursions or tours at destinations aren’t included, and, depending on what you want to do at your destination of choice, the fees for these tours can also quickly add to the overall cost of your trip. While some vacationers are happy to stay on board the ship at a given destination, many more are not, and the cost of disembarking can quickly add up. Many cruise lines offer specialty services, like restaurants and spas. While patrons are not required to utilize these services, the costs added to your bill can also lead to sticker-shock.

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Hurricane, safety risk, cruise passengers, cruise attorneys, LMAWWe recently wrote about Vanuatu re-opening Port Vila to travelers following the destruction of Cyclone Pam. While the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30th, it’s important that anyone who plans on cruising in the Eastern Pacific should be aware that the hurricane season runs from May 15th through November 30th. This means that the Eastern Pacific hurricane season is just around the corner.

With cruise lines sailing across the globe, passengers may worry about whether a hurricane will affect their next cruise. For this reason, our cruise attorneys here at LMAW have provided some important information regarding hurricanes and how much of a risk they can actually pose to cruise passengers on their next sailing.

The good news is that the chances of your cruise ship being struck by the hurricane itself are negligible. Modern cruise ships utilize advanced technology that warns captains about major storms, and it can be a while before a storm becomes a hurricane. Continue reading

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Disney Cruise Line, river cruising, passenger safety, cruise ship accident lawyers, LMAWDisney Cruise Line recently announced its partnership with AmaWaterways to begin offering family-oriented river cruises on the Danube in 2016. According to a USA Today article, Disney will offer seven-night vacation packages stopping at Budapest, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, and Germany. A new ship is being built specifically for these itineraries, with cabins that can hold up to five guests – a rarity for ships designed for river cruising.

But while the new venture sounds exciting, the cruise ship accident lawyers at our firm can’t help but wonder if the ship will compromise passenger safety. Will these higher-capacity cabins pose a greater danger to passengers? Having a greater number of people in one room can cause overcrowding, both creating a greater risk of injuries and making it harder to escape in an emergency situation, among other safety hazards.

As it is, many cruise lines won’t feature irons or other fire hazards in cabins in order to diminish the risk of an onboard fire. While Disney will be required to follow fire protocol to protect passengers, the higher capacity cabins might require additional fire safety measures to ensure that passengers are not at risk in the event of an emergency. Large numbers of passengers trying to use the same exit ways in the event of an emergency can create dangerous stopgaps, particularly if fire or smoke is present.

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Norovirus outbreak, Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Infinity, cruise attorneysOur cruise attorneys here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have come to learn of a possible new Norovirus outbreak aboard a Celebrity Cruises ship. The Centers for Disease Control recently released a report showing that 95 passengers have fallen ill on board the Celebrity Infinity vessel. According to the CDC, the number of people who have fallen ill account for almost 5% of the total number of passengers on board the ship. Five crew members were also reported ill, raising the total number sick to 100.

Celebrity Cruises, in response to the illness, is currently in the process of implementing its outbreak prevention and response plan. The plan includes announcing the outbreak to crew and passengers, and encouraging people to practice good hygiene. The cruise line is also reporting all new cases on a twice daily basis to the CDC. The company is also consulting with the CDC for management of the outbreak when the ship arrives in San Diego. One of the measures currently in place is to plan a staged disembarkation procedure to limit the contact between well-passengers and those who have fallen ill.

While Norovirus has not been confirmed as the cause of the gastrointestinal illness, chances are that Norovirus is again the culprit. Norovirus is notorious for affecting confined populations like those found on board cruise ships, nursing homes, and schools. The virus can survive for long periods of time on surfaces that have not been cleaned and can also be transmitted through the consumption of raw or undercooked food that is contaminated with the virus.

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Cruise safety, pre-cruise checklist, cruise ship accident lawyersYour long-awaited for cruise vacation is quickly approaching. Like any traveler, you’re likely planning what you’re going to bring aboard, what you’re going to wear, and are making sure that you have the right camera on hand to take those perfect vacation selfies. But while it may be easy to get caught up in the excitement of an upcoming getaway, many cruise passengers often overlook important practical preparations that could keep them safe in the event of an emergency on the high seas. That being said, our cruise ship accident attorneys here at LMAW have put together an easy pre-departure checklist that can help ensure that you and your loved ones are well-prepared for your next cruise vacation and stay as safe as possible.

 

1. Stay informed and keep the right people informed. No one wants to think about worst case scenarios, but every year passengers are sexually assaulted, robbed, and hurt while on board cruise ships. Before you leave, speak to your travel agent or do some research on your own and find out the age of the ship you’ll be sailing on and the vessel’s country of registration. Then, register your vacation with the U.S. Department of State. If there is any problem, the authorities will have all the necessary and correct information at their disposal. More importantly, if any of your important documents are stolen, misplaced or damaged, the U.S. government will have your records on file. This can drastically reduce the time it can take to investigate an accident or crime, as well as protect your rights.

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CDC, Vessel Sanitation Program, cruise ships

Thinking of cruising anytime soon? Are you already booked on a cruise? If so, our cruise lawyers here at LMAW have some important eye-opening news you may want to consider.

Every year the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducts routine inspections of cruise ships to ensure that cruise lines meet certain safety and sanitary standards. Vessels with foreign itineraries that carry more than 13 passengers are subject to two yearly inspections. The inspections cover various factors that the CDC, in conjunction with the cruise industry, have determined are important to passenger health and safety. Ships are scored on a 100-point scale, and points are deducted based on whether inspection criteria is met. Ships with a score of 85 and below are considered to have failed the inspection.

Several things are reviewed during a CDC inspection. Among the points covered are the methods each ship uses for isolating passengers who have become infected with Norovirus. Norovirus is a gastrointestinal disease that frequently affects cruise passengers, causing several unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea – symptoms that can make any cruise vacation less than optimal, to say the least. Given the number of Norovirus outbreaks that have already been recorded this year – and the frequency with which outbreaks tend to strike – it’s important that each cruise line have in place an effective plan in place in the event passengers or crew get sick.

But while it should be all but common sense for cruise lines to do so, not every cruise line keeps the ships in their fleet optimally sanitized. Hence the need for the CDC to step in and ensure cruise operators are following proper health and safety sanitation protocols.

So, what really goes on during a CDC vessel sanitation inspection?

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Carnival Cruise Line, new ships, lifeguards, cruise safety, cruise ship accident attorneysAccording to recent news reports, the world’s largest cruise company, Carnival Corp., announced that it will be adding a whopping NINE new ships companywide from 2019 to 2022. The new ships are expected to be homeported in North America, Europe, and China. Exciting news indeed for cruisers, but in the wake of several drowning and near-drowning accidents, as well as the controversy surrounding the fact that most major cruise lines do not employ trained lifeguards, our cruise ship accident attorneys here at LMAW can’t help but wonder where the cruise line’s priorities lie.

News reports explain Carnival Corp. has already struck a deal with Fincantieri and Meyer Werft, Italian and German shipyards, respectively, to build the new vessels over the next few years. It’s still unclear which of the cruise corporation’s liners, which include the popular Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Seabourn, P&O Cruises, and P&O Cruises Australia, would be receiving these new ships. However, what we do know is that there’s still more to come.

The cruise mogul also has an additional nine ships slated for delivery by 2018 – a total of 18 total ships (as of now) that Carnival Corp. will be rolling out in the next eight years. That’s a lot of money the company will be spending. But how much money, exactly?

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