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What’s Really Behind Your Disney Cruise Line Passenger Contract?

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

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 newcase@aronfeld.com.

Statue of Liberty New York Harbor

Cruising to New York! A Guide to Cruises Leaving from NY

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

There is probably no more iconic experience in the world for cruise ship passengers than slowly entering the port in New York City passing by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  For many years New York Harbor was the Big Apple’s only terminal.  However, with the increasing demand for and supply of mega cruise ships, two new terminals have opened near Manhattan: Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey, and the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

New York Passenger Ship Terminal–Manhattan

New York Harbor’s terminal, known as the New York Passenger Ship Terminal (NYPST), located on the Hudson River between West 46th and West 54th Streets, is one of the busiest cruise ship terminals in the world, handling over 1 million passengers a year.  NYPST is the year-round home to many luxury cruise ships, like Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway.

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (BCT) is located in the historic Red Hook section of Brooklyn, New York, between Pioneer and Imlay streets.  The terminal, originally opened in 1952, was designed for freighters, but underwent a 52 million dollar conversion paid for by the City of New York in 2006 to handle passenger cruise ships.  Carnival Cruise Lines and its subsidiary brands, Cunard and Princess, all set sail from BCT and call it their home port.

Port Liberty, a.k.a. Cape Liberty

Port Liberty, also known as Cape Liberty, is located in Bayonne, New Jersey.  This port was originally designed for naval and military use.  However, after a multimillion dollar renovation in 2004, it was retrofitted to accommodate cruise ship passenger vessels.  Cape Liberty is used primarily by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) and its sister lines, Celebrity Cruises and Azmara Cruises.

Since 2013 RCCL has used Port Liberty as the home port for many of its mega cruise ships, such as the Explorer or the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, and Liberty of the Seas.  Port Liberty is located at 14 Port Terminal Boulevard, Bayonne, New Jersey, just seven miles from New York City.

Cruise Ship Accident New York

Regardless of which port a passenger may embark from in New York or where the cruise may travel to, Carnival, RCCL, and NCL have very specific limitations as to where and how New York cruise ship passengers who are injured aboard one of their vessels can file claims.

Norwegian, which maintains its home office in Miami, Florida, requires that any passengers who are injured or who die from an accident on an NCL ship must first submit written notice of intent to file a claim within 185 calendar days of the date of the incident, and then file a lawsuit within one year from the day of the incident in Federal Court in Miami. These requirements are found in the small print of the “Guest Ticket Contract,” which is a binding agreement between NCL and their passengers.

Accordingly, we recommend that if you are hurt on a cruise ship anywhere in the world, you consult immediately with an experienced maritime lawyer who understands the laws and limitations that cruise lines enforce against their own passengers.

Since 1991, our law firm has been helping people hold cruise lines accountable for putting their profits ahead of passenger safety.  We happily provide a free initial consultation by phone at 1-866-597-4529 or email at newcase@aronfeld.com to help you understand your rights and analyze your potential claim.

 

Los_Angeles_World_Cruise_Center_

Cruising to L.A.! A Guide to Cruises Leaving from Los Angeles

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

Los Angeles is commonly referred to as Tinseltown, because of the glitz and glamour of the movie and television industry.  It also has two of the busiest and most complex cruise ship ports in the world, Long Beach and San Pedro (World Cruise Center).

World Cruise Center, Los Angeles

The World Cruise Center is the largest cruise ship port on the West Coast of the United States. It opened in 1907, and today cruise ships from Azmara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Lines, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line all depart virtually every day for Mexico, Hawaii, and other destinations around the world.

Three passenger cruise ship berths transporting over 1 million passengers annually are located in San Pedro, east of Long Beach, California.

A number of ships currently call the World Cruise Center home:

  • Azmara Quest
  • Celebrity Century
  • Disney Wonder
  • NCL Star, NCL Sun, NCL Pearl, and NCL Jewel
  • Sapphire Princess, Golden Princess, Island Princess, Star Princess, Coral Princess, and Crown Princess.

Port of Long Beach, California

Founded in 1911, The Port of Long Beach, also known as Long Beach Harbour, is located just 25 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles.  This port caters primarily to Carnival Cruise Ships and is the home of the Carnival Corporation’s Long Beach Cruise Terminal, located at 231 Windsor Way, Long Beach, California, 90802.  Long Beach Harbor is also one of the busiest commercial container ports in the world and serves as a major port for U.S.-Asian trade with Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam.

Currently three Carnival Ships, sailing primarily to Mexico and Hawaii, call the Port of Long Beach home:

  • Carnival Inspiration
  • Carnival Imagination
  • Carnival Miracle

Typical itineraries for Carnival ships leaving from Los Angeles include . . .

  • Ensenada, Mexico
  • Catalina Island, California
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  • Mazatlan, Mexico
  • Puerto Vallarta, México
  • Maui (Kahului), Hawaii
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Kona, Hawaii
  • Hilo, Hawaii,
  • La Paz, Mexico
  • Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa, Mexico
  • Manzanillo, Mexico

Accidents on Cruises Leaving from Los Angeles

It is important that passengers who take a cruise leaving from Los Angeles understand that if they are hurt aboard the ship from a trip, slip and fall, or other type of accident, most cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Celebrity require that their passengers file a lawsuit within one year from the date of the incident in Federal Court in Miami, Florida.

This is often a surprise to passengers who are injured on a cruise leaving from a Los Angeles Port, as most of the time, neither the ship, nor the passengers have any real connection to South Florida.  For example, Carnival, as well as RCCL, Celebrity, NCL, and many other cruise lines have a choice-of-law-and-venue clause buried deep in their passenger tickets that forces injured passengers to make the often difficult and expense trek to Miami to obtain compensation for their injuries.

Our cruise ship injury attorneys have successfully represented injured passenger against cruise lines for nearly 25 years.  We understand how difficult, expensive, time-consuming, and stressful it can be to hold cruise lines accountable for their carelessness or negligence.

It is equally important to understand that not all injuries that occur during a cruise are viable personal injury cases against a cruise company.  Someone’s simply getting hurt, does not mean that it is the cruise line’s fault.  Knowing the difference between a viable and nonviable case and how to uncover how and why an incident occurred takes years of experience and perseverance.

If you or a family member has suffered an injury during your cruise, contact us today for a free initial consultation.  We will take the time to help unravel the facts of why an accident occurred as well as determine if the incident is in whole or part the fault of the cruise line.  Many common injuries can be avoided if the cruise industry would make a greater effort to put passenger safety ahead of their own profits.

Call us at 1-866-597-4529 or email us today as the longer one waits, the more difficult it can sometimes be to obtain the necessary proof to win your case and succeed in obtaining needed compensation for lost time from work, medical expenses, and money for pain and suffering.