Despite recent news of the ill-fated cruise line Costa Concordia being raised from the sea after its tragic sinking in 2012, Carnival Cruise lines, the parent company of Concordia, apparently thinks the environment is right to start raising prices on cruises again. This is despite having a less than spectacular year when it comes to cruise ship safety. Our Florida cruise ship attorneys are monitoring these developments closely.
Prices Going Up
Carnival Cruise line recently reported its intention to raise cruise prices, which had been trending cheaper in the recent years. Bad press has plagued the cruise line industry, due in no small part to the spate of near disasters that many mainstream cruise lines have suffered.
Carnival made headlines last year when power went out on its Carnival Triumph, leaving passengers with no working restrooms, sewage running up and down floors, and foraging for food. That disaster eventually lead to a number of lawsuits alleging emotional pain and suffering and mental trauma. Carnival also had to dock a ship where almost 700 passengers suffered a norovirus outbreak.
The difficulty with cruise ship cases stemming from emotional trauma, or from a problem with the operation and maintenance of the ship itself (as opposed to an injury sustained from, for example, a fall on the ship), is that the damages may not be significant enough for an individual claim, but are better suited for class action suits. The contracts passengers sign before taking cruises often restrict the passenger’s right to file a class action.
Another problem is venue. Many cruise ticket contracts require you to sue in a state, or even a country, that you don’t live in—in the Triumph’s case, a South Florida venue, which is a huge burden for those who traveled from all around the country to take the cruise out of Miami. You could be required to sue in a state or country where the liability laws make it extremely difficult to win a case.
The Costa Concordia being raised also raises questions about who is liable. As expected, Carnival’s upper management is blaming the captain, in an effort to avoid liability. Although an employer is generally responsible for the actions of its employees, Carnival is taking the position that it isn’t responsible for the supposedly completely negligent and derelict actions of the captain.
Carnival also has said that Costa, a separate entity than Carnival, can only be sued in Italy, making any hope for justice for the passengers and families of the disaster even more difficult.
It should be noted that many other cruise lines have suffered virus outbreaks and power failures at sea; Carnival is only notable because if its decision to start raising prices. Rising cruise ship prices can only mean that the memories of these kinds of disasters are starting to fade. Hopefully, they also mean that cruise ships are starting to take passenger safety a bit more seriously as well.
Our Attorneys Are Here to Help You
If you are injured on a cruise or by the negligence of a cruise line, don’t wait to get help or wonder about your rights. Federal maritime laws and cruise contract laws, can be very complex. Talk to the Florida cruise ship accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. about a free consultation to discuss your rights.