Cruise Ship Accidents In Jamaica

Jamaica is one of the world’s most popular cruise ship destinations and is currently number five in the Caribbean based on the number of ships and passengers that dock there every year.  The county hosted 1,423,797 cruise ship visitors in 2014, a 12.5 percent increase over 2013.   Currently, the country has several large cruise ship ports–including the Port of Kingston, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Falmouth–and is visited by all of the major cruise lines, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Disney. Ocho Rios, located on the north coast of Jamaica, is currently the island’s most popular cruise ship destination port. Montego Bay, the second-most-popular port, recently completed a major renovation of its cruise terminal and the surrounding area. Falmouth, on the South Coast, is the newest port, and Jamaica is seriously considering making it the country’s number one cruise ship port.  In 2014, it hosted more than twice the number of passengers as Ocho Rios and Montego Bay combined. Falmouth opened in 2011. This year Jamaica announced its desire to open another port to be built on the Black River, in a historic town on the Southwest Coast, to lure cruise passengers and their dollars to that part of the island.  Already many passengers take excursions to visit the area’s famous natural attractions, Treasure Beach and YS Falls. The Port of Kingston is the oldest and largest port in Jamaica, and is located in the country’s capital city on the southeast coast near the Norman Manley International Airport, but it has not seen passenger cruise ships for decades. In fact, the last cruise ships to dock in Kingston were...

A Closer Look Inside Passenger Depositions in Cruise Ship Accident Cases

Norwegian Cruise Line and its CEO Frank del Rio seem focused on making the world’s third largest passenger cruise company number one, at least in Europe.  This week, NCL announced that for the first time in its 50-year history it will base five ships in Europe by the summer of 2017, including repositioning its newest ship, the Norwegian Getaway, from its current base at the Port of Miami, to a few miles from the cruise operator’s world headquarters to Copenhagen. The Getaway’s new itineraries will include Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; and St. Petersburg, Russia. In addition to the Norwegian Getaway, NCL will be repositioning the Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Epic and the Norwegian Spirit. As a lawyer who frequently sues NCL on behalf of passengers who are injured while aboard one of the ships, I find that most of our clients are surprised to learn that in order to make a claim against NCL, they must travel to Miami, Florida, to litigate their lawsuits in Federal Court–regardless of where they may be from, even if their cruise started and ended in Europe.   For example, Mrs. Berna Kellner was injured on an NCL cruise ship and had to travel to Miami for her deposition, a physical examination by NCL’s doctors, and a court-ordered mediation. In this post we will discuss the deposition process. Typically, the first time I meet clients face-to-face comes a day or two before they are required to give a deposition.  A deposition is supposed to be a sworn interview between NCL’s lawyers and an injured passenger, to gain a better understanding of the facts as...

Accidents on South African Cruises

The multibillion-dollar cruise ship industry is understandably attractive to many countries who want to take a slice of the pie. That business has exploded over the past 17 years, from five million passengers to more than 20 million a year worldwide.  Like Doha in Qatar, South Africa has now also announced its intentions to become one of the new must-visit cruise ship destinations. South Africa is officially one of the fastest growing cruise ship markets in the world. Drawing from Africans alone, it has recorded a 144% increase in cruise activity between 2012 and 2013–with passenger figures growing from 67,000 in 2006 to 217,000 in 2014. South Africa’s ports with cruise ship terminals include Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, Richards Bay, and East London.  Last year, Cape Town alone hosted 18 different cruise ships with 61 docking days.  That commerce exerts a huge impact on South Africa’s economy.   Currently the majority of cruise lines that visit South Africa are ultra-luxury ships like Silversea, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, and Italy’s MSC.  MSC recently upgraded its MSC Sinfonia, which is home ported in SA, by adding an additional 200 balcony cabins to accommodate an additional 500 passengers. ACCIDENTS ON SOUTH AFRICAN CRUISES With those drastic increases in cruise ship activity, unfortunately we have seen corresponding increases in mishaps for cruise ship passengers. Our law firm sues cruise lines on behalf of passengers from around the world.  Each cruise line has very specific requirements as to how and where and when they can be sued by someone who has tripped, slipped and fallen, or otherwise been hurt onboard one...

Injured On a Cruise To Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel is one of the most popular cruise ship destinations in the world–and for good reason. The sheer majesty of its crystal-clear waters, gentle tropical climate, and the warm good-natured people of this tiny Mexican island on the Caribbean Sea attract hundreds of thousands of cruise ship passengers from around the world as part of both Eastern and Western Caribbean cruise itineraries. The cruise ship dock on the deep water pier is located in Cozumel’s main town, San Miguel de Cozumel, which is chocked full of touristy shops selling everything from sombreros to tequila and Cuban cigars.   Punta Langosta, Puerto Maya, and the International Pier are the three cruise ship ports in Cozumel. Ships from Celebrity, Regent Seven Seas, Carnival, MSC, Norwegian, Princess, Disney, Holland America, Thomson Cruises, and AIDA frequently visit Cozumel. As a lawyer who sues cruise lines on behalf of passengers who have suffered slips and falls, trips and falls, sexual assaults, and other injuries on board ships traveling to and from Mexico, I believe that Cozumel is a relatively safe place to visit. That may help explain why many cruise lines include an overnight stay.  It is important, however, to remain vigilant when in port– especially when it comes to renting scooters. I was told by one local taxi driver that virtually every ship has at least one passenger on a given cruise who decides to rent a scooter and gets seriously injured. It makes sense, given that the person most likely has little to no experience driving a scooter, much less a rental, which may not be in perfect working order, on strange roads,...

Injured Aboard a Cruise To Key West

Key West, Florida, is one of the most popular cruise ship destinations in the United States.  Key West is actually an island located off the “southern-most” tip of the continental United States.   Hundreds of cruise passenger ships dock in Key West every year bringing tens of thousands of people to visit the historic and eclectic streets and sites.  Although Key West is a very walkable town, peppered with unique architectural character, those distinctive surroundings can often be eclipsed by the unique characters who live and work around Duval Street and Mallory Square.   Virtually every cruise line books itineraries that include Key West, Florida.  In any given month, Celebrity, Carnival, RCCL, NCL, Costa, Disney, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Holland America, and Silversea will visit one of Key West’s three terminals–Pier B, Mallory Square Terminal, or the Truman Annex, which is known locally as “Old Mole.”   Ships remain in port in Key West between six and eight hours on average. A person who gets hurt on a cruise to Key West because of the carelessness of the cruise line may be surprised to learn that most cruise lines–like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney, and Norwegian–mandate that claims be filed in the United States Federal Courthouse in Miami, Florida, within one year of the date of the incident. Many lines also require that written notice be provided to the cruise line within a shorter period of time before a lawsuit can even be filed. Our cruise accident and injury law firm investigates hundreds of potential claims against cruise lines every year, many involving incidents that occurred on cruise ships.  However, not all...

Investigating Elevator Accidents on Cruise Ships

People around the world were understandably horrified by the pictures of an elevator gushing blood aboard the 2,056-passenger cruise ship the Carnival Ecstasy last week. Our cruise ship injury law firm in Miami received a number of inquiries from people wondering what had happened and if the passengers who had stumbled upon this gruesome scene were entitled to make some sort of personal injury claim against Carnival.   We have successfully sued and investigated claims against Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, and other cruise lines on behalf of passengers who have been injured due to elevator accidents on cruise ships. From what I have seen in various media reports, passenger Matt Davis and his wife Susan had approached the elevators when he discovered that blood was pouring out of it.   Apparently, Carnival crew members were on hand, trying to divert him and his party away from the site.  Miami-Dade Police are investigating the death and have so far released the name of the victim, a 66-year-old electrician from Italy, crew member Jose Sandoval-Opazo.  The facts surrounding his death are still unknown. Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Sandoval-Opazo’s family and fellow crew members. There has been much written on the internet about this incident and why Mr. Davis would have chosen to videotape it.  On the one hand, I can understand why some people would question his motives, but as a lawyer who frequently sues Carnival on behalf of injured passengers, I am aware that Carnival rarely provides any CCTV (CLOSED CIRCUIT TELEVISION) footage that would indicate how and why an alleged incident occurred–if anything happened at all....
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