Footage of passengers and crew aboard Royal Caribbean International (RCCL) Anthem of the Seas ship caught in a terrifying storm Sunday night surfaced after facing rough seas on their voyage from New Jersey to Port Canaveral, Florida, when they encountered Category 2 Hurricane winds and waves. The ship’s captain ordered all passengers to remain in their staterooms until further notice.
Royal Caribbean International released the following statement:
On Sunday, February 7, while sailing to Port Canaveral, Florida, Anthem of the Seas experienced extreme wind and sea conditions, with wind speeds higher than what was forecasted. In an abundance of caution, the captain asked all guests to stay in their staterooms until the weather improved. At this time there have not been any serious injuries reported. The ship has sustained some damage to the public areas and guest staterooms, which in no way affects the seaworthiness of the ship.
Videos posted on a number of passengers’ Twitter accounts depict frightening images of areas of the ship’s public areas trashed with tables, chairs, and decorations scattered and strewn across decks. Reports of those conditions caused nervous family members at home to contact the Coast Guard for further information.
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The ship is expected to dock later this afternoon in Florida. As a lawyer who frequently sues Royal Caribbean Cruise Line on behalf of passengers, I commend the ship’s captain and crew for getting the ship to port safely. However, I am frequently questioned by clients in cases like this as to how this could have been avoided and whether RCCL is responsible for compensating passengers who have been inconvenienced or injured as a result of rough seas.
Given that RCCL ships have some of the most modern weather and navigational systems in the world, it may be surprising to many that these kinds of issues can rarely be avoided entirely. Reports indicate that as the storm approached, the captain altered the course as soon as practicable, and so far there have been no reported injuries.
INJURED ABOARD A CRUISE SHIP IN A STORM-RELATED ACCIDENT
Generally, cruise lines do not compensate passengers for storm-related changes to the itinerary or for the inconvenience of being ordered to stay in their state rooms during rough seas. But that does not mean that RCCL will completely ignore this incident. Most likely they will offer refunds for any completely missed ports, and future cruise credits with strict restrictions and time limits as to when and how they can be used. However, if the ship simply redirects and ports in another place other than the one initially intended, there may be no compensation or refunds given.
If a passenger is injured in a storm-related incident, an in-depth investigation is usually required as to when the ship’s captain became aware of the danger and the reasonableness of the response. To understand those issues, data from the ship’s positional navigational system as well as the communications log have to be obtained and analyzed by an experienced maritime injury expert. Our firm works closely with experts from around the world in understanding how and why a particular accident occurred and whether or not there is any legal liability or responsibility on the part of the cruise line.
Royal Caribbean is headquartered in Miami, Florida, in the Port of Miami. Like most major cruise lines, it requires all passenger-injury-related claims to be litigated in Federal Court in Miami, Florida, within one year of the date of the incident. If you have been hurt aboard a cruise ship in a storm-related incident anywhere in the world, call our law office today and speak to an experienced cruise accident lawyer.
We offer free initial consultations to anyone who has a potential claim—by phone at 1-866-597-4529, SKYPE, or email at [email protected]. Let our nearly 50 years of combined legal experience help you obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, reimbursement of medical expenses, loss of the enjoyment of the cruise, travel expenses, and pain and suffering.