New laws for cruise ship passengers

There are simply not enough laws to protect the more than 22 million cruise ship passengers anticipated this year alone.  I am happy to report and support the introduction–by United States Senators Ed Markey, Richard Blumenthal, and Jay Rockefeller, IV–of the Cruise Passenger Protection Act of 2015.

If passed, the act will mandate the use of modern vessel safety technology (including man-overboard detection systems), improve medical standards, require sea marshals, and designate the United States Department of Transportation as the primary agency responsible for enforcing consumer protection for cruise ship passengers. Companion legislation will also be introduced by U.S. Representatives Doris Matsui and Ted Poe in the House.

The three senators named above continue to work aggressively to provide increased accountability as well as transparency in the cruise industry.  In May, they wrote a joint letter to Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., the Commandant of the Coast Guard of the United States Coast Guard, asking him to make public, and easily available on the internet, the results of the Coast Guard’s unannounced inspections of ships for prospective cruise passengers to research prior to booking a cruise.

Read the text of the letter here.

As a lawyer who sues cruise lines, I am impressed by many valuable new items contained in the bill.  Over the next few blog posts, I will focus on various aspects of the bill and how they will improve both the safety and accountability of cruise ships.


The newly proposed Cruise Passenger Protection Act requires that CCTV or video surveillance equipment be posted in all passenger common areas in a manner that “provides optimum surveillance of that area,” and that surveillance footage shall be provided to claimants in civil actions.

Our cruise accident lawyers frequently battle with the cruise lines on behalf of people who are hurt from slipping, tripping, or falling while on cruises simply to obtain a copy of the CCTV video footage of the scene of an accident. Plaintiffs have the burden to prove how and why a particular fall occurred.  Often injured passengers either do not know why they slipped or what they slipped on.  This lack of knowledge, specifically the inability to prove how a fall happened, can severely limit and sometimes actually eliminate the money a claimant can receive.

In my opinion, having the CCTV footage would only serve to help both parties, yet for some reason most cruise lines simply claim that the footage is not available.  This new aspect of the proposed law will make such video mandatory, and I believe that step will significantly impact the accuracy of settlements.  Neither party will then be forced to guess as to what may or may not have occurred; rather, the video should tell the story.


We have over 25 years of combined legal experience in suing cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, Princess, Disney, and Holland America.  We are passionate about holding these companies accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety. Successfully navigating the complex labyrinth of international law, admiralty and maritime codes, and personal injury litigation can be difficult and stressful.  We pride ourselves in helping people understand their legal rights and maximizing their compensation in the form of money for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

Not every slip, trip, or fall on a cruise ship constitutes a viable and valid case.  Understanding and investigating the facts are some of the important services we provide our clients.  We are happy to discuss your case with you and offer a free initial consultation by phone at 1-866-597-4529, SKYPE, or FACETIME.  Please call our office today. Our team of maritime lawyers, paralegals, and investigators is ready to help you.