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New Mega Cruise Ships Heading Our Way!

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The major cruise lines seem to be focused on surpassing each other by building bigger and more elaborate mega cruise ships that resemble floating resorts or Las Vegas hotels than actual cruise ships. The competition is particularly strong among industry giants Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian.

For example, Carnival Cruise Lines, which also owns Princess Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn, Cunard, and Costa, has nine more  “next generation” cruise ships scheduled to go into service between 2019 and 2022. The Carnival Vista will be the biggest ship in the Carnival line with almost 4,000 passengers.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced its latest ship: the Escape. The ship is due later this year and is set to carry 4,200 passengers. It will feature a special lounge called the “Tobacco Road” in memory of the legendary Miami night spot that closed recently.

RCCL’s Harmony of the Seas will join the Oasis of the Seas next year, and is already touted as the world’s next largest cruise ship. MSC is right behind them with four new ships on order; each capable of transporting more than 4,000 passengers.

The “bigger is better” focus of the cruise industry has allowed two new cruise lines to enter the fray by offering something different, smaller and more intimate cruising experiences.  For example, all new cruise ships being built for Regent, Seabourn and Viking Ocean will carry fewer than 1,000 passengers.

Smaller Cruise Ships Still in Demand

Viking River Cruises, which dominates the river cruise market in Europe, Russia, and Egypt is launching a brand new cruise line (the first in many years) called “Viking Ocean Cruises”.

The line will have three new ships; the first, Viking Star, which accommodates 930 passengers and will be christened next month in Norway. Its maiden voyage itinerary is a spectacular 50 day cruise which visits 20 countries and 33 resorts.  The ship has extraordinary cabins that all have private verandas; two pools, a spa, multiple lounge and dining, and a large theater.

Viking’s news comes on the heels of Richard Branson’s December announcement that his Virgin Group formed a new Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company, Virgin Cruises, which is not to be confused with Virgin Holiday Cruises, which works together with other cruise lines in creating vacation packages.  The dates and details of Virgin’s new cruise ships-has yet to be set, but their plan is to start with two new ships each said to cost more than $1 billion to build.

Virgin Cruises is already suffering a sluggish and rocky start. Former NCL CEO Colin Veitch filed a lawsuit against Virgin claiming that he was muscled out of a potential joint venture. The suit alleges breach of contract, misappropriation, violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Trade Act, and unjust enrichment.

What must remain as the top priority for the cruise industry is passenger safety.  The race for bigger and better creates more opportunities for passengers to be hurt on board cruise ship by slipping, tripping, and falling. A frequent defense I hear from lawyers who defend the cruise lines when people are injured is, for instance, if a client falls down staircase while on board a cruise ship, the defense often is: “well a ship rocks and rolls,  the passenger should have been aware of the fact; they are on a boat.” But the more sophisticated and elaborate these new mega ships are, the more difficult it is for people to remember that they are in fact on board a boat.

This is a key issue for anyone who is about to go on a cruise. We recommend passengers always use handrails when descending or ascending staircases and to use caution when walking on wet decks or over thresholds that separate different areas of the cabin or ship.

Our lawyers have successfully sued cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, and Disney for nearly 25 years.  We provide free initial consultations to anyone who has been hurt during a cruise.  Please call us at 1-866-597-4529 or email us today.