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Tragedy aboard RCCL’s Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship ever built:  a 42- year-old crew member from the Philippines was killed, and four others were seriously injured when a lifeboat detached from the ship during a safety drill while the vessel was docked in the Port of Marseille, France. Our lawyers and staff send our sincere condolences to the crew member’s family and wish the injured crew a speedy recovery.  

Built by the STX shipyards in France, the Harmony of the Seas has 18 decks and the capacity to sail with 6,780 passengers and 2,300 crew. The ship has 2,747 passenger cabins including 1,768 with balconies, more paintings than the Louvre, and the ability to serve nearly 5,000 people at one time in its 20 restaurants and cafes.  It also boasts the deepest swimming pool at sea, providing a venue for synchronized swimmers and daredevil diving shows. For passengers, the Harmony offers zip lines, miniature golf courses, and 23 pools and other water attractions, featuring The Ultimate Abyss–a slide that plunges 10 decks–as well as a combination of twisting cylindrical waterslides known as The Perfect Storm, and a surfing simulator called the FlowRider.

The Harmony of the Seas has been in service for only a few months, but its initial season has been plagued with accidents and incidents. That raises the question whether bigger ships may simply be less safe. The maiden voyage was by most accounts a disaster as upset passengers were disgusted to find the ship under construction, with many of the attractions not yet open to them. Angry passengers showered social media with photos of the ship, revealing ongoing construction and chaos. Apparently, RCCL offered the passengers certain onboard credits, which were viewed by most as unacceptable. This incident has caused some passengers to rename the Harmony of the Seas, the Disharmony of the Seas.

Currently the Harmony of the Seas is based in Barcelona for European itineraries, but it is scheduled to return to the United States in November, to be based out of Port Everglades (Broward County, Florida), just a few miles north of Royal Caribbean’s corporate headquarters at the Port of Miami.

Generally speaking, Royal Caribbean requires its passengers who have been injured aboard one if its ships to file claims against it in Federal Court in Miami, Florida, within one year of the date of the incident.  This is called the statute of limitations, and failure to comply within that time period will most likely result in the entire claim’s being dismissed.

This is surprising to many people, especially when their accidents may have occurred on the high seas or in a foreign territory or port.  The requirement is stipulated in language buried deep inside the passenger ticket’s terms and conditions. Most passengers, especially those who book their cruises on line, have no idea that this requirement exists until they consult with an experienced cruise accident lawyer.

Passengers injured on a cruise who must resort to suing a giant cruise line–like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity, Disney, MSC, Regents Seven Seas, Oceania, Holland America, or Princess–often discover that the ordeal is a lot like a legal David v. Goliath battle.  Cruise lines (the Goliaths) have unlimited resources and hire the most experienced and talented lawyers, experts, and consultants to beat back and beat down claims against them.  

If you have been injured on your cruise, we recommend that you consult with an experienced maritime accident attorney as soon as possible, not only because of the one-year statute of limitations, but also because valuable evidence–such as CCTV footage, witness identities and statements, and a detailed inspection of the scene of the accident–can be altered or destroyed by the cruise line.

Contacting An experienced Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer in Miami

Our experienced cruise ship accident attorneys provide anyone who may have a potential claim with a free initial and confidential consultation. We speak to people around the world by phone at 1-866-597-4529 or 305-441-0440, email at [email protected], or SKYPE.  We encourage you to contact to us from the ship or port, before you sign anything or speak with a cruise line “security officer” or “guest relations.”  Everything said or signed will be used against the passenger later by the cruise line if there are any inconsistencies or ambiguities.

It is also important to understand that not all accidents or incidents result in viable claims. However, understanding how and why an accident occurred and whether or not it is in whole or part the cruise line’s responsibility is essential. Since 1991, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has successfully investigated thousands of potential claims and successfully evaluated the evidence, formulating a legally sufficient strategy to hold cruise lines accountable for our clients’ injuries, lost wages, medical expenses, loss of cruise, and pain and suffering. Call us today–we are ready to help.