Carnival Cruise Brawl: Cruise Line Liability for Violence

It does not take long for news to travel via social media, so videos of a recent brawl on a Carnival Cruise vacation started appearing on Twitter and TikTok even before the ship docked. An article in the Miami Herald covered the melee, which occurred on the Carnival Sunrise on September 9, 2022. According to witnesses, the altercation started with an argument over a chair at one of the ship’s many bars and quickly became violent. Various videos show individuals in bathing suits punching, beating, and kicking each other while others scream and attempt to break up the brawl.

Witnesses report that there seemed to be around 30 people involved in the fight. However, videos reveal that many onlookers may have suffered injuries from the brawlers or in attempts to get away. The story raises important questions about liability and the duty of cruise lines to keep passengers safe. You should discuss specific remedies with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer, but a few legal points are helpful. 

Cruise Ship Notice of Hazards

The recent fight is not the first of its kind, nor are these violent altercations exclusive to Carnival Cruise operations. An all-out brawl occurred in June 2021 involving up to 60 passengers, and chairs flew through the air in September 2016 when an argument developed at the buffet line. A melee in August 2010 led to head injuries to passengers and spilled over into the ship’s art gallery, destroying several paintings.

In other words, cruise operators are well-aware that a brawl could break out, giving them constructive notice to do something about the risk.

Negligent Staffing and Operations

The cruise lines clearly have notice of the problem of violence, yet many have not undertaken responsible efforts to protect passengers. For instance, in the recent fight, a witness noted that the one ship employee who responded to the situation was knocked back. He was overwhelmed trying to stop it, used his body to block punches, and likely suffered injuries himself. Additional factors reveal numerous types of negligence by cruise operators:

  • Without exception, violent fights on cruise trips involve alcohol. Careless operators fail to train employees on responsible beverage service or even encourage overserving.
  • In most cases of cruise ship violence, there are no arrests made. The companies essentially encourage a free-for-all when there are no consequences for criminal acts.
  • Analysts point to the ever-expanding size of already-massive cruise ships as being another factor for brawls. There are thousands of people onboard with different interests and backgrounds. The possibility of altercations increases when you put families on the same ship with young adults ready to throw down on a booze cruise.

Talk to a Miami Cruise Ship Accidents Attorney About Your Legal Options

When criminal activity on board causes injuries to cruise passengers, it is reassuring to know that remedies are available. To learn more about them, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We are happy to schedule a free consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach.

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