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There are certainly cruises targeting couples and adventure-seeking adults, but a large percentage of guests onboard ships are families with children under 18 years old. Statistics on cruise passenger demographics reveal that around 42% of parties include minors, and it is easy to see the attraction. Cruise vacations offer almost every activity under the sun, and there is something to do for passengers of all ages. The added bonus for parents: Many tour operators allow you to make arrangements for daycare, supervised activities, and babysitting. 

However, there are always concerns when leaving your child with strangers. Just as you would at home, it is crucial to understand your options and do some research when dealing with cruise ship daycare services. There are dangers and risks that you may not expect, especially in unfamiliar territory. Retaining a Miami cruise ship injuries lawyer should be a priority if your child was hurt, but some basic information could help you reduce the threat of accidents.

Know Your Options

When you book a cruise, you think of sea breezes, relaxation, excellent food, and all the top-notch activities and amenities you will enjoy with your family. You do not ever expect to become the victim of a cruise ship crime, but statistics reveal the risks. According to Cruzely, an online resource for information on cruise vacations, there are almost 150 crimes reported on ships departing from US ports every year. However, industry officials warn that the numbers could be much higher due to lack of reporting. 

You know what to do as the victim of a crime when you are in the familiar surroundings of your home and community. The situation can be overwhelming as a passenger on a cruise ship, at sea and miles from shore. Though you must make it a priority to consult with a lawyer for Miami cruise ship crime victims, some tips can help you cope. Some additional data on criminal activity aboard cruises sheds some light on the problem.

Additional Statistics on Cruise Ship Crimes

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

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.

What Is Norovirus?

Each year, many individuals, couples, and families choose to take cruises. Some sale around to Alaska, the Mediterrean, or from Miami to Mexico. They all expect to have a fun vacation, free from accidents or illness. However, plans can go awry. Cruise ships must store and prepare immense amounts of food to feed thousands of people. If sanitation practices are not adhered to, food and water can become contaminated. So too can other cruise ship facilities. This can lead to an outbreak on the ship. In 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported five cruise ships experienced illness outbreaks. One was called by E. coli, another by norovirus and Campylobacter. The cause of three other outbreaks are unknown.

If you or a loved one became seriously ill on a cruise ship and you believe it was because of contaminated food or poor sanitation practices, call an experienced Miami cruise ship attorney from Gerson & Schwartz P.A. at (877) 475-2905.

2018 Cruise Ship Outbreaks

Cruise ships can offer an idyllic atmosphere and experience for passengers. However, poor shipboard safety and training may turn a dream vacation into the most unwanted nightmare for passengers and their families. The harm from these maritime accidents may be compounded by the antiquated laws that govern cruise ship accidents and fatalities.

An Alabama couple was killed in a cruise ship on the Amazon last April after a fire broke out in their cabin. The deaths may have been prevented if the ship was equipped with its advertised safety devices and the crew was properly trained, according to a Peruvian Navy report.

The fire was attributed to short-circuit in a power strip provided by the ship and connected to a CPAP machine used by the male victim. The flames were confined to their cabin. However, the poor construction and tragedy compounded the fire’s impacted.

Cruises are supposed to be a fun vacation, an escape from work and stress at home. Unfortunately, for many cruise passengers, their dream vacation can turn into a nightmare if they become seriously ill on board. Many cruise lines have made the news when outbreaks of norovirus were reported onboard their ships. Norovirus is a highly contagious illness that causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and, sometimes, fever and headache. It is usually spread by physical touch, or it may also spread through contaminated water and food. In a cruise ship, where thousands of passengers may be staying in tight quarters for a week or longer, norovirus can spread quickly. If the ship’s crew has failed to properly clean and sanitize the ship, the cruise line may be liable for injuries. Our Florida cruise ship injury attorneys specialize in a wide range injury and accident cases such as crime on cruise ships to slip, trip and fall accidents.


Legionnaire’s Disease is also not uncommon on cruise ships. The bacterium that causes the disease, Legionella, thrives in warm water. Hot tubs and the plumbing systems on cruise ships are often the perfect settings for these bacteria to grow. Legionnaire’s Disease is deadly. Roughly 15 percent of those who catch the disease will die. If hot tubs are not sufficiently heated on cruise ships, passengers are at risk of becoming ill. The bacterium is killed by hot water.

Rapes and sexual assaults on cruise ships happen often. Recently, 1,700 young students boarded the Luxury MS Galaxy cruise ship on a trip to Finland. What was intended to be a rewarding experienced turned ended in tragedy. Eight male passengers between the ages of 18 and 19 were arrested when the cruise ship landed.  Said men face charges of gang-raping a female student and aggravated rape. The attack occurred inside one of the ship’s cabins. One of these eight men has a prior criminal conviction. Two of these eight men are actually suspects in a separate high-profile murder case in Stockholm. Said murder occurred in November of 2015. As suspects to the murder case they were released pending trial and provided the opportunity to violently offend again.

If you or a loved one have been attacked on a cruise, it is imperative that you hire an attorney for your case. The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA have the experience and skill needed for your case. For a FREE initial consultation, call (305) 371-6000 or toll free at (877)-475-2905.  You can also contact us online at

Sexual Assault and Sexual Battery

Two employees on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship were recently arrested after being accused of using sandals to smuggle drugs into Florida. They were bringing drugs into Port Canaveral. One of the two employees was a courier for at least one drug trafficking organization. Police officers began following the employee as he left Port Canaveral and they saw him and another employee smuggling cocaine with the use of sandals. Junior Ellison, 31 years of age, was arrested aboard the cruise ship as he was walking away with the cocaine. It was found that the sandals were purchased from Wal-Mart. It was also later found that each time Ellison left the ship he took a shuttle to a Merritt Island Wal-Mart. Authorities discovered that Ellison would obtain sandals filled with cocaine in St. Maarten and then wear them off the ship.  Ellison would make his trip to Wal-Mart, purchase a new pair of sandals, and then place the cocaine-filled sandals in the Wal-Mart bag to deliver to someone else.         

Many people are victimized when a person, or people, commits the crime of drug trafficking.  Perhaps your money was stolen by a person intending to use it to purchase drugs or paraphernalia. If you are a victim of a crime, it is imperative that you hire an attorney. The experienced Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA are here for you!

Drug Distribution in Florida

Four passengers were injured onboard Royal Carribean’s Anthem of the Seas after the ship was caught in dangerous weather conditions last weekend. The Anthem of the Seas encountered hurricane force winds, with some gusts reportedly reaching 130 miles per hour with 30-40 foot waves. The nature and extent of those injured are not currently known. At first, Royal Carriban reported no injuries. However, later news reports once the vessel came ashore stated no serious injuries. Martime lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA state that this is not the first time an RCCL passenger ship has knowingly left the port and cruised directly into the teeth of dangerous weather conditions, jeapordizinf the life and safey of passengers. In 2012, RCCL vessel “Freedom of the Seas” encountered danerous and severe weather conditions including hurrcan force winds and high seas after the vessel set sail into a developing tropical cyclone system/ tropical storm just after it departed off the Florida east Coast.  This was despite forecasts and warnings that a storm was likely to develop prior to leaving port Canaveral, Florida.

In the 2012 “Freedom” incident, passengers were thrown about and across the ship along along with plates, dishes, and everything else imagineable.  Fixtures fell, ceilings were falling, youtube vidoes and social media captured the pure chaos experienced by many. In a federal lawsuit filed, attorneys from Gerson & Schwartz, PA argued that the Royal Carribean ship should never have decided to set sail and risked the lives and safety of passengers by placing them into harms way. Many passengers sustained serious injuries because a decision to set sail was made despite clear warnings from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane center of the potential for rapid tropical cyclone development.

In the Anthem of the Seas, cruise ship accident lawyers say they will need to get a hold of the weather reports and forecasts to see whether the “Anthem of the Seas” should have taken another route, or simply stayed in port as well.  The decision to sail rests with the captain. If the captain feels that it is unsafe for the vessel to depart he can make the decision that the ship should stay in port. The decision to remain in port can also be made shoreside. Weather buoys located in the Atlantic can also provide adavance warnings of expected wind and sea conditions  in advance, along with the weather forecasts. Generally speaking, sudden and drastic weather phenomenons are not actionable negligence under the law because they may deemed acts of god or unforseeable in nature and difficult to prevent.  But, cruise ships are also equipped with state of the art weather forecasting technology that should make cruise line companies accountable if they do decide to stay there course, despite clear weather warnings.

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