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ACCIDENTS ON CELEBRITY CRUISES

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

Celebrity Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean’s Fancy Little Sister

Celebrity Cruise Lines is essentially the fancy little sister cruise line to Royal Caribbean. Celebrity ships are smaller and far more luxurious and, therefore, cater to more sedate passengers who are looking to do more relaxing on their cruise rather than rock climbing, ice skating, and surfing found on RCCL’s ships.

Celebrity had some exciting announcements this month. First, they announced that they commissioned two new luxury cruise ships from the STX France shipyard with expected deliveries in the fall of 2018 and early 2020. Both new ships are being built under the name Project Edge; reportedly, they will be able to hold 2,900 passengers each. Currently, Celebrity’s fleet has 11 ships, the most recent of which is Celebrity Reflection, which was delivered in 2012.

In addition, Celebrity announced it will begin cruising the Persian Gulf. This is a first for the line-which plans to embark from Abu Dhabi in 2016. Celebrity plans to utilize the 2,034-passenger Celebrity Constellation for a series of six voyages from Nov. 28, 2016 through early 2017.

Investigating Accidents on Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity, like Royal Caribbean, maintains its corporate offices, which handle passenger claims, in Miami, Florida at the Port of Miami. Both also share the same team of talented and experienced in-house cruise ship lawyers who investigate and defend both lines when passengers file complaints.

Celebrity’s offices are also a few blocks from the United States District Courthouse, which is convenient for them because Celebrity requires that any passenger injured aboard one of their ships due to a slip, trip, fall or for any other reason must file their claim in Miami. This is true regardless of where in the world the accident happens.

Another vitally important consideration for anyone who gets hurt on a Celebrity cruise, is that the lawsuit must be filed within one year of the date of the incident. This often creates an enormous financial burden on the injury party as they must travel to Miami (sometimes multiple times) to litigate their claim.

Hiring an experienced lawyer who understands the law and how Celebrity works is important. First, to understand whether or not one even has a valid claim. And second, to make sure that the claim is processed both efficiently and effectively. Not all accidents on Celebrity ships are necessarily cases. Understanding the difference is vitally important.

We have been investigating, litigating, and settling cases with Celebrity for years. We provide free initial consultations- and urge you to call our office today: 1-866-597-4529 or email us at: newcase@aronfeld.com- BEFORE you speak or write to the cruise line.

Fire Kills Three People and One Injured on Oceania Cruise Ship

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

Oceania has only five ships in its fleet. The Insignia, Nautica, and Regatta are designed to carry only 684 passengers – while the Marina and Riviera can accommodate up to 1250 passengers.

Fire on Oceania Cruise Ship

In December 2014, just weeks after Oceania Cruises was purchased by Norwegian Cruise Lines, a deadly fire broke out on one of its ships. The fire started in the early morning, in the engine room of Oceania’s Insignia cruise ship while it was docketed in Port Castries, St. Lucia. The accident claimed the lives of two independent contractors and an Oceania crew member. Another crew member was injured on Oceania cruise ship and remains hospitalized. This is the third major fire aboard a cruise ship recently-following the disasters on Carnival’s Triumph and Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur.

Fortunately, none of the 656 passengers were injured in the fire. The ship was in the middle of a 10 day cruise that left San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 7th and was scheduled to return to Miami on December 17th. The remainder of the cruise was cancelled and all of the passengers were flown to Miami. Oceania has arranged accommodations in local hotels until transportation to their cities of origin can be arranged.

We are happy to hear that none of the Insignia’s passengers were hurt, but if they had been injured-even though the ship was docketed in another country any claim would have been required to have been filed in Miami’s Federal Court. The venue selection is found in the tiny print contained in Oceania’s passenger ticket. It says:

ANY CLAIM FOR PERSONAL INJURY, SHALL BE LITIGATED, IF AT ALL, BEFORE THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA IN MIAMI, OR AS TO THOSE LAWSUITS OVER WHICH THE FEDERAL COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES LACK SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION, BEFORE A COURT LOCATED IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO THE EXCLUSION OF THE COURTS OF ANY OTHER COUNTY, STATE OR COUNTRY.

If you have been injured aboard an Oceania cruise ship please contact us for a free initial consultation. Our maritime lawyers are experienced in successfully holding cruise lines like Oceania accountable when their conduct injures passengers and crew members. We work strictly on a contingency basis. That means, unless we are able to obtain money compensation for our clients we do not charge them for our work.

To learn more about our qualifications and experience and how we can assist you-call today: 1-866-597-4529 or email: newcase@aronfeld.com

Disney Christmas Cruises

5 Things to Know Before You Book Your Christmas Cruises

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

The holidays are right around the corner and thousands will be taking vacation cruises this year. Christmas cruises attract people from around the world as well as those who live at or near the most popular cruise ship ports in the United States: New York City, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Jacksonville, Galveston or New Orleans.

Most cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney and Celebrity deck the halls of their ships, literally, with holiday decorations and Christmas trees in their lobbies, restaurants, and gingerbread houses. There are also Christmas themed activities, concerts and caroling sessions. Disney Cruise line offers perhaps the most family friendly environment for their holiday cruises by providing passengers with: Christmas Eve cookies, special holiday towel animals, religious services and actual gifts for each passenger.

Here are 5 things you need to know before you book your holiday/christmas cruises:

1. Cruise ship passenger injury claims must be filed in Federal Court in Miami, Florida

Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian require that passenger injury claims be filed in Federal Court in Miami, Florida and except for Disney which forces passengers to file claims in Melbourne, Florida regardless of where the cruise started, ends or where the accident occurs. This means, that if you are hurt on Carnival’s Pride, Splendor or Sunshine ships on your way from Bermuda to New Orleans, your claim must be filed in Miami.

2. Cruise ship accident claims must be filed within one year of the date of the incident

Unlike other personal injury cases like slip and falls, car accidents or medical malpractice cases, admiralty personal injury cases on most cruise lines have a one year statute of limitations requiring that lawsuits be filed within one year of the date of incident. This can be an enormous burden for elderly or severely hurt plaintiffs who may have a difficult time locating and hiring an attorney who can investigate the claim promptly and file the appropriate pleadings in the correct jurisdiction-which is almost always in Miami.

3. Cruise lines are not always responsible to pay your medical bills, travel expenses, or lost wages

Cruise lines are not automatically responsible to pay your medical bills, travel expenses, or lost wages simply because you get hurt on your cruise. A common misconception amongst injured passengers is that the cruise line should reimburse them for all out of pocket expenses associated with an accident aboard the ship. In fact, under Federal Maritime Law, cruise lines are only responsible to pay claims that are caused by the ship’s carelessness in whole or in part. In other words, they ship need not be entirely responsible but partially responsible for a passenger’s broken arm. The key is understanding the difference-which requires the assistance of an experienced cruise ship claims attorney.

4. Cruise lines are not always automatically responsible for accidents in ports and on excursions

For example, Liz Marie Chaparro was a teenage passenger aboard Carnival’s Victory. She died after being hit by a stray bullet in a gang related ambush in St. Thomas while on a public bus that was taking her and her family to Coki Beach. They were not part of a Carnival sponsored excursion, but had chosen the destination based upon recommendations of Carnival’s crew. The lawsuit claimed that Carnival knew or should have known of the dangers of gang activity at Coki Beach and should have warned the family. The wrongful death case was dismissed by a Miami federal court judge and the family successfully appealed. In its brief, Carnival argued that:“Carnival stops at a multitude of ports all over the world. It cannot reasonably be expected to monitor or be aware of every single danger that may arise on any given street throughout a port city and beyond.” Once remanded back to the trial court, the case was settled prior to trial.

5. Be on alert when traveling with young children and teens in these Christmas Cruises

Remember that most cruise ships are nothing more than floating theme parks combined with Las Vegas style casinos. Be on alert when traveling with young children and teens by asking yourself-would you allow your 10 year old child to wander around the streets of New York or play in a Las Vegas hotel pool alone? Some parents in desperate need of a vacation are lulled by the sun and sea into putting their guard down-and allow their children to wander about cruise ships unaccompanied or with older siblings. However rapes and sexual assaults aboard cruise ships are not uncommon. And response to the growing number of reported rapes, assaults and robberies aboard cruise ships President Obama in 0 signed into law the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 (Safety Act) which only applies to shops that touch U.S. ports. The Safety Act requires ships to could update their safety and security infrastructure by installing peep holes in passenger room doors, installing security video cameras (CCTV) in targeted areas and limiting access to passenger rooms to select staff only during specific times.

Most importantly, the U.S. Coast Guard is required to post a list of incidents on their website that involve homicide, suspicious death, a missing United States national, kidnapping, assault with serious bodily injury . . . or theft of money or property in excess of $10,000. You might want to check out your ship or cruise line before you book your next cruise. Click here to read the Coast Guard’s latest report.

If you have been hurt on a cruise-call us today for a free initial consultation. Since 1991, we have successfully held cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity and Disney accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety and have obtained millions of dollars of compensation for injury victims and their families.