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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.

 

Why do we sue Cruise Lines?

Why Do We Sue Cruise Lines?

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

We believe that cruise lines should be held accountable when they put their corporate profits ahead of passenger safety. More than 15 million people a year board one of the hundreds of cruise ships around the world–hoping to escape the stresses of life, create lifelong memories with friends and families, and explore our world.  Cruise ship passengers expect to be safe and taken care of–not to be exposed to dangerous conditions, much less to be seriously injured.

Like modern land-based resorts, cruise ships now offer passengers incredible onboard activities, ranging from zip lining to ice skating, as well as world-class entertainment and food.  In addition, they provide casinos, spas, and shopping–all designed to make a profit while entertaining their passengers.

Unfortunately, many safety concerns are left unaddressed, and when people get hurt, cruise lines should spend as much time, effort, and money taking care of injured passengers as they lavish on television commercials that play around the clock, luring people to book their vacations on their ships.

One of the most common accidents we encounter involves a passenger who slips, trips, and falls on a ship’s threshold or the doorways that exist throughout a cruise ship, dividing the different passageways, cabins, and bathrooms.  These thresholds can be very dangerous because they are placed throughout the ship where passengers walk.

International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974

I am frequently asked why cruise ships have these high metal thresholds. One of the reasons for deck thresholds can be found in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea  or (SOLAS).  SOLAS, along with its successive editions, is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safe operation of passenger cruise and merchant ships.  In addition to safety stipulations, SOLAS specifies the minimum standards for constructing, equipping, and operating cruise ships.

SOLAS requires that cruise ships be divided into main fire zones, 32 capable of being sealed by fire screen doors. For such doors to be fire resistant and prevent the spread of smoke, a metal threshold is required to be installed on the floor where the bottom of the fire screen door would seal the door in its closed position.

However, it is up to the country under which a particular ship is flagged to enforce the codes.  The Carnival Glory is a very popular passenger cruise ship.  Currently, our office is representing a passenger who was badly injured when she fell down a staircase exiting one of the ship’s nightclubs. While the ship frequently docks in the Port of Miami, the 110,000-ton ship is actually registered and flagged in Panama.

This can and often does cause confusion over by who and where cruise ships are actually being inspected. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) provides a valuable portal to the public, with easy access to pertinent information about a particular cruise ship, such as the date of service, tonnage, and flag.

When we investigate an injury aboard a cruise ship, one of the very first things we do is request photographs and a site inspection to visualize where an accident actually happened. This often requires us to travel to different ports. Fortunately, most of the cruise lines use either the Port of Miami, Port Canaveral (Cape Canaveral), Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), Jacksonville Port Authority (Jacksonville), or the Port of Tampa.

Freedom of Information & Privacy Acts

Another very valuable tool in our investigation of a potential claim against a cruise line is the Freedom of Information Act Request or (FOIA).  FOIA is based upon the public’s right to know and was enacted in 1966.  FOIA is the primary means by which lawyers for injured passengers obtain access to records in the possession of the United States Coast Guard and other governmental agencies after they have investigated a cruise ship passenger accident  The USCG can withhold certain private information in response to the FOIA request–but must specify what is excluded and why.

When We Sue Cruise Lines

Perhaps the most important and effective tool we have in investigating a cruise ship passenger accident claim is the litigation process. By filing a lawsuit against a cruise line, civil maritime lawyers have the power of subpoena. We send out lengthy questionnaires to the cruise lines (interrogatories), requesting them to explain in detail how and why a particular incident occurred. We also send demands for certain documents, known as Requests for Production. A Request for Production requires the defendant cruise line to produce certain documents, surveillance photos and videos of the scene as well as policies and procedure manuals. This information is then carefully reviewed by our team of experienced lawyers and investigators.

Taking the deposition of a corporate representative of the cruise line is another important investigative measure. Depositions are essentially interrogations, where our lawyers will ask and cross-examine cruise line employees about the facts and circumstances surrounding a particular incident, with the goal of discovering if this type of incident has ever occurred before and what if anything could have been done to prevent it, or to prevent it from recurring.

We believe that the most important service we can provide injured passengers is our experience and diligence in knowing where to look for the evidence that will prove their claim. The burden of proof, or responsibility for proving negligence, is on the plaintiff or injured passenger. We often encounter seriously injured passengers who have fallen or been injured while on a cruise, but simply do not understand how or why.

Cruise lines employ onboard investigators. The moment they are aware of an incident, they take photographs of the scene and interview witnesses and the injured passenger. The cruise lines hold a tremendous advantage in the claims process because, generally speaking, they know more about a particular incident and know it sooner than the injured passengers or their lawyers.

Time is of the essence in investigating a claim–not only because the majority of cruise lines require passengers to file their lawsuits within one year of the date of the incident, but also because the evidence of how a particular incident occurred is often deleted or destroyed before we are retained.

If you or a family member has been involved in an accident or incident while on a cruise, please contact us today for a free initial legal consultation.  We are passionate about holding  cruise lines accountable for injuring their passengers. Call us today at 1-866-597-4529, or email us at new case@aronfeld.com