The Overserving of Alcohol to Passengers- Are Cruise Lines Responsible for What Happens After?

Relaxation and indulgence are two of the biggest reasons people go on cruises. Cruise lines embrace the idea that you’re going to do some things on a cruise that you might not do at home. Whether that be trying a new cuisine, indulging in the late-night pizza buffet, or throwing back a few more Mai Tai’s on the deck- the cruise industry is always on the lookout for new indulgences to offer its passengers.

Singer-songwriter and Parrothead-in-chief Jimmy Buffett’s 1,308-passenger Margaritaville at Sea Paradise will now offer alcohol-injected ice cream concoctions, following the lead of Virgin Voyages and Royal Caribbean. Many of the major cruise lines offer all-you-can-drink packages. These all-you-can-drink packages allow passengers to pay a set fee up front for unlimited drinks (of a certain type, as outlined by the package’s fine print), rather than pay per drink once onboard the cruise ship, and oftentimes encourage passengers to consume alcohol, often more than they would if they were paying per serving.

Cruise lines can be held liable for over-serving alcohol to its passengers, if they sustain injuries caused by their alcohol-related impairment. In Hall v. Royal Caribbean Cruises (2004), Judge Schwartz reversed the lower court’s decision ruling that the defendant cruise line has an established duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of its passengers.  This is an appeal from an order dismissing an amended complaint which alleged that the plaintiff, a paying passenger on the defendant’s cruise ship, was injured on the high seas when, after having been served alcohol by the vessel’s employees to and obviously past the point of intoxication, he staggered from a lounge, and while unable to look after himself fell down two flights of open stairways.

Walking around a cruise ship requires one to pay more attention than usual because of the wet and slippery surfaces, raised thresholds, and steep staircases–all to be negotiated while the ship is rocking and bobbing out at sea. When alcohol is added, perceptions and reactions times are affected as well as the ability to make appropriate decisions. To make sure you have the best time at sea, follow these cruise ship drinking guidelines.

At Aronfeld Trial Lawyers, we have investigation thousands of potential claims over the last 30 years and often have found alcohol to be a contributing factor to a slip, trip, or fall aboard a cruise ship, resulting in a broken leg or arm, or a head or spinal injury. Then when a passenger attempts to make a claim against the cruise line for the injury in an effort to obtain reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of the enjoyment of the cruise, and money for pain and suffering, the cruise lines and their lawyers will claim that the passenger him- or herself was responsible for the injury by being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident–even though it was the cruise line that “over-served” the passenger.


If you have been injured on your cruise, on a wet and slippery deck, down a poorly lit staircase or steep gangway, in port on an excursion, or on a tender boat- it is important that you speak as soon as possible with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury claims against cruise lines. Most cruise lines, including CarnivalRoyal CaribbeanCelebrityNorwegianMSCDisneyHolland AmericaPrincess, Costa, Regents Seven Seas and Oceania require that claims against them be pursued in a very specific place under very strict deadlines. Failure to comply with each individual cruise lines deadlines can result in a complete loss of any and all legal rights.

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers is a personal injury firm located in Miami, Florida since 1991.  We have fought hard to hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety.  We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise. The sooner we can begin our investigation and preservation of key evidence, such as the CCTV footage of your trip and fall, slip and fall, assault, or other type of injury the more likely we will be able to understand and prove how the incident occurred. Remember, the cruise lines have the most aggressive and well-funded defense lawyers in the world- protecting their profits.  You need an experienced legal advocate in your corner who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical expenses, transportation reimbursement, pain, and suffering.  Call us today and speak with a cruise ship claims lawyer about your potential claim- toll free 1-866-597-4529305-441-0440, or by email. We are ready to help.


Royal Caribbean, Virgin, and Jimmy Buffett Cruise Line All-in on Boozy New Trend – TheStreet