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New Mega Cruise Ships in Store for RCCL, Carnival, and Norwegian

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

New Mega Cruise Ships Heading Our Way!

The major cruise lines seem to be focused on surpassing each other by building bigger and more elaborate mega cruise ships that resemble floating resorts or Las Vegas hotels than actual cruise ships. The competition is particularly strong among industry giants Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian.

For example, Carnival Cruise Lines, which also owns Princess Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn, Cunard, and Costa, has nine more  “next generation” cruise ships scheduled to go into service between 2019 and 2022. The Carnival Vista will be the biggest ship in the Carnival line with almost 4,000 passengers.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced its latest ship: the Escape. The ship is due later this year and is set to carry 4,200 passengers. It will feature a special lounge called the “Tobacco Road” in memory of the legendary Miami night spot that closed recently.

RCCL’s Harmony of the Seas will join the Oasis of the Seas next year, and is already touted as the world’s next largest cruise ship. MSC is right behind them with four new ships on order; each capable of transporting more than 4,000 passengers.

The “bigger is better” focus of the cruise industry has allowed two new cruise lines to enter the fray by offering something different, smaller and more intimate cruising experiences.  For example, all new cruise ships being built for Regent, Seabourn and Viking Ocean will carry fewer than 1,000 passengers.

Smaller Cruise Ships Still in Demand

Viking River Cruises, which dominates the river cruise market in Europe, Russia, and Egypt is launching a brand new cruise line (the first in many years) called “Viking Ocean Cruises”.

The line will have three new ships; the first, Viking Star, which accommodates 930 passengers and will be christened next month in Norway. Its maiden voyage itinerary is a spectacular 50 day cruise which visits 20 countries and 33 resorts.  The ship has extraordinary cabins that all have private verandas; two pools, a spa, multiple lounge and dining, and a large theater.

Viking’s news comes on the heels of Richard Branson’s December announcement that his Virgin Group formed a new Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company, Virgin Cruises, which is not to be confused with Virgin Holiday Cruises, which works together with other cruise lines in creating vacation packages.  The dates and details of Virgin’s new cruise ships-has yet to be set, but their plan is to start with two new ships each said to cost more than $1 billion to build.

Virgin Cruises is already suffering a sluggish and rocky start. Former NCL CEO Colin Veitch filed a lawsuit against Virgin claiming that he was muscled out of a potential joint venture. The suit alleges breach of contract, misappropriation, violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Trade Act, and unjust enrichment.

What must remain as the top priority for the cruise industry is passenger safety.  The race for bigger and better creates more opportunities for passengers to be hurt on board cruise ship by slipping, tripping, and falling. A frequent defense I hear from lawyers who defend the cruise lines when people are injured is, for instance, if a client falls down staircase while on board a cruise ship, the defense often is: “well a ship rocks and rolls,  the passenger should have been aware of the fact; they are on a boat.” But the more sophisticated and elaborate these new mega ships are, the more difficult it is for people to remember that they are in fact on board a boat.

This is a key issue for anyone who is about to go on a cruise. We recommend passengers always use handrails when descending or ascending staircases and to use caution when walking on wet decks or over thresholds that separate different areas of the cabin or ship.

Our lawyers have successfully sued cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, and Disney for nearly 25 years.  We provide free initial consultations to anyone who has been hurt during a cruise.  Please call us at 1-866-597-4529 or email us today.

Cruising to Cuba!

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

Are Cruise Lines headed to Havana?

President Obama’s easing of US restrictions for travel and investment in Cuba has Havana looking like it may be the next hot port for the cruise industry. And with time, we will likely see U.S.-based passenger cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity soon docking in Havana.

As a lawyer that sues cruise lines on behalf of injured passengers, I am very concerned that Cuba does not yet have the infrastructure, port facilities and telecommunication capabilities to provide adequate support and protection for passengers, especially in remote parts of the country.  It has been nearly 50 years since American tourists have been able to freely travel to Cuba.  And, unlike other caribbean ports –like Ocho Rios (Jamaica), George Town (Grand Cayman) and Cozumel (Mexico) that have had decades of experience handling the complex issues that occur when small ports are invaded by tourists–I am not sure that Cuba is ready, not just yet.

Norwegian Cruises to Cuba

Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO, Frank Del Rio has announced that NCL already has several itineraries in mind-beyond just Havana, possibly including Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Isla de Pinos.

A cruise to and around Cuba will be an exciting addition to the typical Caribbean cruise ship itineraries; but I strongly urge NCL, as well as other cruise lines, to carefully plan and ensure that passenger safety is always placed ahead of corporate profit. Of particular concern, are onshore excursions, where passenger can find themselves far from the safety and protection of their ship. Excursion tour operators will need to be carefully vetted and insured.

Our cruise ship passenger injury attorneys are passionate about protecting the legal rights of the injured. If you have been involved in an accident during a cruise or onshore excursion, it is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who sues cruise ships immediately. Most cruise lines have a very limited time period to initiate a claim and to file a lawsuit. Our firm offers anyone who has been involved in an accident during a cruise a free initial consultation.  Call us today: 1-866-597-4529 or email us at: newcase@aronfeld.com.

Car Accident | Aronfeld Trial Lawyers

Spring Break Miami 2015 – Advice from Your Miami Accident Attorney

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Car Accidents

Florida may no longer be the spring break capital of the world, but the state still hosts thousands of college students who make the historic trek each year for the sun and beaches. And while those hard-working students may need a break from studying and snow, there are a number of important safety tips that we would like to share to keep them safe and get them back to school on time.

Death tolls are reported to be  9.1% higher during spring break, with higher incidences of fatalities among drivers under 25 and those traveling out-of-state.

Florida’s Legal Drinking Age is 21

Florida State Law requires that you must be 21 to purchase, consume, or possess alcoholic beverages.  Some Florida clubs will allow people 18 and older in, but will give them a special stamp or tag that identifies them as patrons who are not permitted to drink. In other words, if you are not at least 21, forget about drinking, and leave your fake ID back in the dorm.

If you are over 21 and decide to drink during your visit to our state (who are we kidding), please make sure you don’t drive.  Florida’s law enforcement is out in full force looking for anyone who may be driving over Florida’s legal blood-alcohol limit, which is .08%.  Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Florida is a serious offense, creating a huge safety concern for you, your passengers, and anyone else with whom you share the road. The average cost of a legal defense for DUI in Florida can be as much as $10,000, and a conviction can create a permanent criminal record.

Drunk Driving in Florida Under 21

Florida has a zero-tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that all drivers under 21 who are stopped by law enforcement and have blood alcohol levels of .02% or higher will automatically have their Florida drivers’ licenses suspended for six months. The .02% limit really means that you cannot have a single drink and drive, and that’s the idea.

Uninsured Motorists in Florida

Florida allows people who own and operate cars to do so without having mandatory bodily injury coverage. That means that most people who are rear-ended or hit by another car or truck in Florida receive no compensation for pain and suffering or medical expenses that exceed the minimum mandatory PIP coverage.

In other words, the only way to protect yourself and your family in the event of a car, truck, or motorcycle accident in Florida is to purchase Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage. UM coverage is the most important and valuable coverage that will provide compensation for injured car accident victims when the party that causes the crash has either no insurance or insufficient coverage.

We recommend that anyone who owns any vehicle in Florida immediately verify that they have UM coverage.  You can do this by reading your insurance card or contacting your agent. Yes, it is expensive–but without UM coverage, you do not have full coverage, and you lack the most important coverage to provide the needed compensation for a serious life-altering accident.

Contact a Miami Accident Attorney

Our Miami accident attorneys have investigated thousands of car accidents across the State of Florida, from Jacksonville to Key West. Let our years of experience help you get the compensation you deserve.  Call us today for a free initial legal consultation at 1-866-597-4529, or email us at newcase@aronfeld.com