First there was Carnival Cruise Line’s infamous disaster aboard the Triumph, which earned the ship the nickname the “Poop Cruise” when hundreds of passengers were stranded for days without water or running toilets. Our Miami office was the first to release cruise ship claims to Carnival on behalf of passengers who claimed personal injuries as a result of the negligent operation of the vessel.
Today our cruise injury lawyers are receiving reports of a second ship wide problem-affecting passengers aboard the Princess Cruise Line’s Sea Princess, now dubbed the “Virus Vessel.” According to passenger reports, 200 of the 1950 guests on the 77,500-ton ship have been stricken with the Norovirus, a gastrointestinal illness, during a 14-night voyage to Singapore.
Although the Norovirus most likely originates on cruise ships, it can also spread to ports–which should be a concern to any country the ship visits during the cruise. In addition to the Norovirus, the ship has been reported to have some mechanical issues and has been sailing at a reduced speed.
Princess Cruises has issued the following statement:
We have been carrying out a program of work on Sea Princess to address a technical problem that has affected the ship’s ability to sail at her full speed on recent itineraries….All guests will receive a full refund of their cruise fare plus a 100% future cruise credit.
…We have a Care team on the way to Fremantle to assist our guests as fully as possible, including with air flights if needed. While these arrangements are made, guests will be able to remain onboard Sea Princess with access to her full hotel facilities. Sea Princess is currently on a 14-day cruise between Fremantle and Brisbane.
Princess Cruises also cancelled the Sea Princess’s next cruise, which was scheduled to depart the same day–and gave those passengers a full refund from the cruise line along with a future cruise credit of 100 percent.
It’s not clear what the technical issue is or how long the ship’s dry dock will last, but the cruise line is expected to release further details soon. The Sea Princess is not as large as the new ships, like Royal and Regal Princess, but is still a popular choice for cruises in Australia and the surrounding region. The ship weighs 77,500 tons and can carry 1,950 passengers.
DON’T FALL FOR THE FREE-CRUISE TRICK
Passengers injured a cruise are often offered free cruises, cruise credits, or reductions on their bills by savvy “customer-care” representatives who are highly trained to do everything they can to keep disgruntled passengers from consulting with a lawyer. Without the advice of an experienced maritime lawyer, they often can be leaving thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table in compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Most cruise lines–like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney, and Norwegian–require that a lawsuit be filed in Federal Court in Miami within one year of the date of the incident. Claims adjusters move very slowly in resolving cases, knowing that the longer it takes, the more likely the statute of limitations will expire and the injured passengers will forever lose their right to sue the cruise ship.
I have represented people hurt during cruises in their cruise ship claims for nearly 25 years and almost always immediately recommend filing a lawsuit in a viable case the day I am hired as it is important to preserve the evidence, obtain witness testimony, and inspect the scene before the case becomes cold. Most importantly, I am concerned about the statute of limitations expiring as a year can pass very quickly, especially if our client has delayed contacting our office.
DON’T DELAY CALLING A LAWYER–FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION
For example, often a passenger hurt on a cruise ship will retain my legal services to sue Carnival after having undergone a surgery, the recovery, and several months of dealing with an unresponsive cruise ship claims adjuster. At that point there may be only a few months left on the one-year statute.
In the alternative, I recommend that if you have been hurt on a cruise ship, you consult immediately with an experienced admiralty law firm. We provide free consultations to anyone who has been involved in an accident during a cruise or excursion. Call our office today, 1-866-597-4529, or email me, Spencer Aronfeld.