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There can be no doubt that a highlight for many cruise guests is the food, featuring a range of culinary adventures from massive breakfast buffets and pizza on-demand to fine dining and late night snacks. You might not give a second thought to the sanitary practices regarding the preparation, presentation, and storage behind the scenes of your favorite dishes, but data reveals some safety concerns. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 21,600 passengers experience acute gastrointestinal illness and other food borne illnesses every year while traveling on cruises. 

When compared to the millions of guests that do not get sick on cruises, this figure is relatively low. Still, a bout with food poisoning can completely ruin your vacation, and do not expect a quick, automatic refund from the cruise operator. It is critical to work with a Miami cruise ship lawyer to protect your interests and seek appropriate compensation for your losses. You might also benefit from reviewing a few basics about food borne illnesses on cruise vacations.

How Cruise Passengers May Contract Food Borne Illnesses

Shore excursions are a fundamental part of cruise enjoyment, and many adventure-seekers will schedule extreme sports and other activities well in advance of their departure. One of the most popular water-based escapades is parasailing, an exciting ride that takes you as high as 300 feet in the air as you float on the breeze behind a power boat. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that an estimated 3 to 5 million people go parasailing every year, and the experience is exhilarating for the majority of them. 

However, numerous parasailing accidents have been reported in recent years, causing serious injury and death. These tragedies are concerning to US officials, who cite a complete lack of federal regulation as posing a serious safety risk. It is even more disturbing to note that any proposed laws would not apply to many parasailing operators, since they offer their adventures through cruise companies at foreign ports-of-call. Such factors make parasailing injury claims complicated, so it is wise to retain an experienced Miami cruise ship accident lawyer for assistance with your case. You should also be aware of some additional statistics and causes of parasailing accidents on cruises.

Causes of Parasailing Accidents on Cruise Ship Excursions

Regardless of which cruise line you choose, the length of your trip, or the size of the cruise liner, water-based recreation is a top attraction for cruise vacations. Children and adults alike enjoy the pools, hot tubs, waterslides, wave pools, and other features onboard; many shore excursions involve snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, skiing, parasailing, and many other activities. Still, all this fun does not come without risks. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), an estimated 320,000 people drown every year, making drowning the third most common cause of unintentional fatalities worldwide. 

Though not all fatalities occur on cruises, the statistics should be disturbing for a key reason: When water attractions are the source of death and injury on land, you can expect that the frequency of accidents carries over to cruise ships and their numerous water attractions. If you or a loved one was hurt, time is of the essence to reach out to a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer. You can also protect your family when you know the top cruise ship accidents linked to water-based fun.

  • Drowning: With so many attractions onboard, it is no surprise that the third-leading cause of accidental death is a risk when cruising. Even when lifeguards are present, drowning can happen in less than a minute. Plus, if you suffer a head injury in a wave pool or while engaging in strenuous water activities, even the best swimmer may be unable to recover.

As a parent planning the trip of a lifetime with one of Miami’s many cruise lines, you are probably both excited and overwhelmed by the activities available for children onboard. The major cruise companies, operating some of the largest watercraft on earth, heavily market to families with children of all ages. In fact, according to a report published by the Cruise Lines International Association, approximately 15% of all passengers are under 20 years old – a rather large percentage of the 27.5 million passengers that board cruise ships across the globe every year.

Unfortunately, whether your child is into adventure, water sports, culture, or social activities, the risk of injuries is higher than you might expect. Just like on land, serious accidents can occur, especially when cruise operators prioritize profits over passenger safety. A Miami cruise ship accident lawyer will pursue all available remedies, but some safety tips can help you protect your child. 

  • Supervise Children on Deck: Passengers spend much of their cruising time outside their rooms enjoying the countless activities on deck and in restaurants. These spaces, as well as the route you take to reach them, can be unsafe. Staircases, balconies, and railings are the location of many accidents that cause injuries to young passengers. Keep a close eye on children in these areas, and make older kids promise to use caution if you are not around.

Miami cruises are the trip of a lifetime for people across Florida and throughout the US, who are attracted to these vacations for their all-inclusive features, fun activities, fabulous amenities, and opportunities to explore ashore. Still, these adventures are not without their risks. Accidents on cruise ships are a more common occurrence than you might expect, and the statistics are proof. According to Cruisemapper.com, an online source of information regarding cruise line safety records, almost 3,500 accidents have been reported on 551 ships currently sailing the globe. Your vacation bliss could come to a screeching halt if you or a loved one is hurt in such an incident. 

Florida and U.S. maritime laws do provide you with rights under such circumstances, and a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer can assist with the complicated legal process for recovering compensation. Plus, you can protect yourself and your family when you know the top types of cruise ship injuries and how they happen.

  • Broken Bones: Slip, trip, and fall accidents are usually behind bone fractures, and many of them occur due to the same factors as on land. Loose staircase and balcony railings, unsecured flooring, debris and luggage in hallways, and slippery surfaces are usually to blame. Besides broken bones, other common injuries in slip and fall accidents include lacerations, sprains and strains, and bruises.

For many cruise passengers, shore excursions are just as big a part of the experience as onboard activities. According to a survey conducted by CruiseFever.com, a site dedicated to providing tips and advice on cruise vacations, only 34.3% of US passengers will stay on the ship for the entire cruise; the remaining 65.7% enjoy outdoor and water sports, historical tours, dining experiences, and many other adventures by booking excursions. 

While you may have concerns about the risks involved with the excursion itself, you may overlook one key point — the potential for motor vehicle crashes during your journey to the location by taxi, passenger van, or bus. Cruise operators will attempt to deflect liability, so you will need an experienced Miami cruise ship accident lawyer when attempting to recover compensation for your losses. Plus, there are a few points to keep in mind about transportation-related injuries on shore excursions.

Default Rules for Cruise Line Liability

The cruise industry is a huge draw for millions of Floridians and visitors from other US states, which is why COVID-19 no-sail orders have been devastating for people who wanted to get away on a sea adventure during 2020. As such, a recent announcement by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) comes as welcome news for anyone looking forward to a vacation. The CDC released its Conditional Sailing Order for Cruise Ships on October 30, 2020, opening the door for future sailings. In the document, the CDC outlines requirements cruise companies must follow to mitigate the risk to passengers and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

However, while the announcement may seem to be a positive development, there are still many concerns. If you contracted COVID-19 or any other illness while on board, you should discuss your legal options with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer. Some information on the recent CDC order may also be helpful.

Phased Approach to Cruises

In February 2019, Casey Holladay, 26, was a passenger on the Mariner of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean vessel. He and his friends were having fun on a trampoline deck, a new attraction known as The Sky Pad. In this attraction, several trampolines were enclosed within a large cage. Those inside attach bungee cords to themselves via a harness and are given space to perform acrobatics. Holladay’s bungee cord snapped, causing him to fall 20 feet onto the hard deck of the cruise ship.

Holladay experienced a dislocated shoulder and fractured pelvis causing him to be permanently disabled. He is currently relying on a wheelchair for mobility and has several plates and screws in his pelvis. Holladay cannot bear any weight on his pelvis and is still must regularly see his physicians. He is expected to need at least one hip replacement in the future and extensive, long-term physical therapy. His lawyer has stated that he remains in a great deal of pain and will be permanently affected by his injuries. Holladay was initially kept in the vessel’s medical facility. It took hours for the vessel to return to Miami, Florida, where he was transferred to Jackson Trauma Center. He was admitted to the hospital for the next 10 days while he received treatment for his extensive injuries.

Royal Caribbean Closes Attraction

On March 19, when the Mariner of the Seas cruise ship was approximately halfway to Nassau from Miami, a passenger was reported overboard. Another passenger of the cruise ship shared live tweets and videos during the incident. He initially reported when an “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” announcement was made aboard the ship. “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” is the man overboard code for Royal Caribbean ships. Immediately following the announcement, search and rescue protocols were followed.The passenger overboard was successfully found, rescued, and returned to the ship. Royal Caribbean made a statement to Newsweek that the vessel’s crew was responsible for returning the passenger to the ship, and the passenger was treated by the cruise ship’s medical team.The mariner of the Seas left Miami on March 18, 2019. The vessel was scheduled for a four-night cruise that would include Nassau and Coco Cay in the Bahamas. It was scheduled to return to Miami in the early morning of March 22.

Unfortunately, overboard passengers are not rare on cruise ships. Every few months there are reports of a passenger going overboard, and in many cases, these stories have far less happy endings. Very few overboard passengers are found and returned to the ship so quickly.

If you fell overboard a vessel due to a lack of appropriate safety equipment or a loved one went overboard and was not found, you should speak with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer from Gerson & Schwartz P.A. Our team has decades of collective experience, and we routinely handle cruise ship claims, from slip and falls onboard to crimes. If you were injured or lost a loved one on a cruise ship, do not hesitate to contact us online or call (877) 475-2905 to schedule a free consultation.

When you purchase a vacation on a cruise ship, you expect the ship to be clean and for the food to be prepared safely. There are many health and safety regulations in place to ensure you are not exposed to dangerous bacteria and viruses. However, something must have gone wrong on the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas in January. The ship had to return to Port Canaveral, Florida earlier than expected due to a gastrointestinal illness that spread quickly throughout the ship. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program, 561 passengers became ill and 31 crew became ill. This accounted for more than 10 percent of the total passengers and crew onboard. The Oasis of the Seas is a newer ship and holds more than 8,000 passengers and crew.

In many cases, norovirus is uncomfortable and inconvenient. However, gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships can become serious, especially for children, the elderly, and passengers with weakened immune systems. If you suffered harm on a cruise ship because you contracted a serious virus or bacterial infection, contact our Miami cruise ship lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. You can reach us through our online form or call (877) 475-2905 to schedule a free consultation.

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