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It certainly is an exciting time for Disney Cruise Line as they soon embark on their first cruise to Norway and Iceland aboard the Disney Magic. The ship will depart from Denmark and circumnavigate the Norwegian Fjords and Baltic over 11 nights. The itinerary includes two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and aims to capture the stunning scenery and ambiance of the movie Frozen. To further the Frozen theme, Disney characters from the movie will be onboard, too. Plan on seeing Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf roaming the atrium lobby and available for scheduled meet & greets.

The scheduled ports of call will include:

  • Oslo, Norway
  • Kristiansand, Norway
  • Stavanger, Norway
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Akureyri, Iceland
  • Kirkwall, Scotland

What Your Disney Cruise Line Passenger Contract States

Most people who sail on a Disney cruise never realize that Disney has an ever-evolving Passenger Contract. Currently Disney passengers are subject to Version 9, which states the following in big red letters at the top:

THIS CONTRACT IS A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT, WHETHER OR NOT SIGNED BY GUEST OR GUEST’S RESPONSIBLE ADULT. IT IS ISSUED BY CARRIER BASED ON THE GUEST’S ACCEPTANCE, INDIVIDUALLY OR THROUGH GUEST’S RESPONSIBLE ADULT, ALWAYS SUBJECT TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS SET OUT THEREIN.

In other words, all passengers are bound to the terms of the contract, even if the passenger is a child. Of course, most people never read the fine print, especially when all the focus is on the fun and excitement of an upcoming cruise.

The Limits to Your Rights

But it is important that people understand that if they or their children are injured while onboard a Disney Cruise Ship, even one that is in Norway or Iceland, they have very specific limitations on their legal rights and ability to hold Disney accountable. Of course the details are all in English and buried deep in the paragraphs of the passenger contract, which is available on line, but not easy to find.

For example, the contract prevents any claim against Disney for emotional or psychological injuries of any kind unless there is a physical component to the injury or the injury was caused by a crew member. This means one cannot claim damages against Disney simply because one’s child was traumatized by a frightening event, such as witnessing an accident or being bullied, absent a physical trauma.

In addition, Disney requires that all claims must first be submitted to them in writing within six months of the date of the incident. Failure to notify them in writing most likely would preclude a subsequent lawsuit, which must be filed within one year of the date of the incident, injury, or death of a passenger, and which must then be served correctly upon Disney within 120 days of filing. And if a lawsuit is filed, it must be filed in either Florida State Court in Brevard County or the United States Federal Court in Orlando.

This makes it very difficult for passengers and their families to hold Disney Cruise Lines legally accountable. Most people we speak to have never been party to a personal injury case and are reluctant even to consult with a lawyer. Some are surprised to learn that simply being injured aboard a Disney cruise ship does not automatically entitle them to compensation from the cruise line. First, we have to understand how and why a particular incident occurred. Not all injuries are cases. Only those injuries that are caused in whole or part by the negligence or carelessness of Disney would entitle the passengers to compensation.

Next, we have to understand the injury. This can be very challenging when the passenger is a small child. Often, especially with Disney cruise claims, the injured passenger is a baby or infant. We do not completely understand the extent of the injury because it may take months or years to fully determine. This is especially true when there is a broken bone in a small child. Many times the child recovers fully, but sadly sometimes not, especially if the fracture involves the growth plate.

However, under the time constraints imposed by Disney in their passenger contract, we must move quickly to protect our clients’ legal rights. This involves obtaining the CCTV footage of the event (when available) and medical records, as well as notifying and suing Disney in accordance with their time limits.

Contact a Cruise Ship Accident Attorney

If you or your child has been hurt during a Disney cruise anywhere in the world, we urge you to contact our experienced and dedicated cruise ship accident lawyers today for a free initial consultation. Let our combined years of experience work to help you understand and protect your legal rights. Call us today at 1-866-597-4529 or email us at [email protected].