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New mega cruise ships on the way!

Written by Melissa Ramirez on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

Carnival announces that their new mega cruise ships will hold nearly 7,000 passengers each

Carnival New Mega Cruise Ships

 

The race to sail the largest cruise ship is heating up among the world’s cruise ship companies.  Carnival announced its newly ordered ships will hold nearly 7,000 passengers each, making them literally floating cities. This seems consistent with CEO Arnold Donald’s “long-term plan to return double-digit return on invested capital.”

In other words, it is all about profit and making more money for Carnival because larger ships will afford cruise lines greater ability to scale costs per passenger. For example, the salaries of just one captain, one chief security officer, and one chief medical officer will now be spread over a larger number of passenger fares.

Carnival also owns and operates both the German AIDA brand and Italy’s Costa Cruises.  However, unlike the typical new Carnival mega cruise ship, these lines will focus on increased cabin and balcony space rather than such kitschy attractions as water slides, surfing simulators, ice skating rinks, and bumper cars.

Not to be outdone, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Silversea Cruises are also set to sail bigger ships than they have ever had to before.

Is a Bigger Cruise Ship Better or Safer?

Certainly these new mega ships, which cost nearly $1 billion dollars to build, will also command higher ticket prices than do the older, smaller cruise ships in the same fleets that sail identical itineraries.  For example, currently a ticket for a seven-night cruise on RCCL’s Oasis of the Seas, carries a starting fare of $946, compared to the older and far smaller Independence of the Seas, at $599 per person. Both RCCL ships depart from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades and sail around the Eastern Caribbean.

As a lawyer who sues cruise ship companies, I am concerned about the enormous safety issues that surround putting thousands of people at a time on a ship in the open sea, starting with the limitations of certain small ports, such as those in Cuba, when it comes to providing emergency services to a mega ship’s passengers.  The arrival of a mega ship could double a small port’s population by adding an entire city of sick people.  Moreover, the larger mega cruise ships will, by having more people aboard, increase the passengers’ risk of outbreaks of illnesses like the norovirus.

The Cruise Passenger Protection Act of 2015 (CPPA)

New legislation proposed by U.S. Senators  Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey will require man-overboard detection systems as well as other safety protocols; that technology must be included in the buildouts of these new ship. The Cruise Passenger Protection Act of 2015 (CPPA) will also require protective measures for passengers who are victims of crime or require medical attention.

CONSULT WITH AN EXPERIENCED CRUISE SHIP ACCIDENT LAWYER TODAY

Our maritime accident and injury law firm in Miami is dedicated to holding cruise lines accountable for injuries sustained by passengers.  If you have been hurt on a cruise, it is very important to consult with an experienced cruise ship accident attorney quickly.  Most cruise lines require that claims be submitted in writing within 180 days of the incident and that suits be filed in the Federal Court in Miami, no matter where in the world the accident may have occurred, and regardless of where the claimant is from.

We offer free initial consultations by email, newcase@arnfeld.com, toll-free by phone at 1-866-597-4529 or 305-441-0440, or by SKYPE.  Call us today and allow our more than 30 years of combined experience to help you.

 

MSC Cruise Line

MSC Cruise Line Finds New Home In Havana

Written by Melissa Ramirez on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

They say home is where the heart is, and the heart of MSC Cruise Line will now be in Havana…

MSC Cruise Line, the privately owned Italian company, is the first of the large cruise companies to announce moving their home port to Havana, Cuba.  This presents a significant opportunity for MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) to move ahead of Carnival, RCCL, Celebrity, and Norwegian in staking a claim in Cuba. MSC’s Opera is scheduled to depart from Genoa for Havana this December.  In addition to Cuba, the Opera’s anticipated itinerary includes porting in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Mexico.

“We are particularly proud to make this exciting new destination available to our guests,” said Gianni Onorato, MSC’s Chief Executive Officer. “The move to Cuba proves our commitment to offer our guests and holiday-makers the best and most sought-after destinations as they become accessible–thus further enhancing our global offering while providing travelers best-in-class experiences and service.”

 

Even while commercial relations with Cuba are improving, Congress has yet to lift the long-standing ban prohibiting Americans from freely traveling to the island country.  As of today, Americans wanting to take the MSC cruise must obtain a special United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) license to travel, or fall within one of the 12 categories of permitted travel listed in the Cuban sanctions regulations. And even when the ban is lifted, most mega cruise ships will not be able to dock in Havana until its terminal is updated, extended, and dredged.

 

Suing MSC for Injuries

MSC is the fourth largest cruise line in the world after Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian.  Currently, passengers injured on an MSC cruise ship leaving from a United States port are required to file any claims against the cruise line in Federal Court in Miami, within one year of the date of the incident.  As a lawyer who sues cruise companies, I do not anticipate this changing, even with MSC’s latest announcement, since much like Havana’s port, that country’s legal system is in no way able to handle complex maritime litigation, especially personal injury claims. Currently, our law firm has several pending claims against MSC on behalf of passengers who have been injured about the Divina.  One is an unusual case of a male passenger who alleges he was over-served alcohol by the ship’s crew, which led to his being the victim of sexual assault and rape by a fellow passenger. Read the complaint here.

Our firm investigates hundreds of potential claims every year on behalf of injured passengers, many of whom have consumed large amounts of alcohol prior to getting hurt. Alcohol consumption is frequently raised as a defense by the cruise lines and used to blame the passenger–even though many cruise lines offer unlimited prepaid drink plans.  Carnival, for example, offers its Cheer Program for about $50.00 a day, with a 15-drink-a-day maximum.  I believe that programs like this only encourage passengers to consume more alcohol–much the way an all-you-can-eat buffet encourages people to overeat.  Increased alcohol consumption often leads to a higher likelihood of slipping, tripping, and falling on a cruise ship.

Free Initial Legal Consultations for Injured Passengers

Our maritime accident law firm was founded in 1991–exclusively to provide representation for injured passengers against cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Princess, Holland America, Celebrity, Norwegian, and MSC.  We are pleased to offer a free initial consultation to anyone who is hurt while aboard a cruise ship, either by phone, toll free at 1-866-597-4529, or by email at newcase@aronfeld.com.

carnival cruise line ports of call

It’s Official! Cuba is now the newest addition to Carnival Cruise Line ports of call

Written by Melissa Ramirez on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

Carnival Cruise Line ports of call have a new and exciting addition

Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line, the largest passenger cruise ship company in the world, just announced that it will begin to include Cuba as a Port of Call in May 2016.  Carnival claims that when its ship, the Adonia, docks in Cuba next year, it will be the very first American cruise company to visit the island since the Cuban Embargo.

The Adonia is a small ship with a capacity of merely 710 passengers and will operate under Carnival’s austere new “Fathom” brand, which purportedly focuses on something Carnival calls “social impact travel . . . designed to provide people an opportunity to make a difference by helping people in poor and disadvantaged countries by doing volunteer work while in port” for at least eight hours a day.   Passengers will then be required to sleep aboard the ship each night it is in port.

I wonder if this will mean the Adonia will not have casinos, pool parties, or all-you-can-drink alcohol programs like Carnival’s ridiculously treacherous “Cheers Program.”   According to Fathom’s website, there will be a spa onboard the ship–since I guess there must be a need to de-stress after a tough day of faith-based and humanitarian exchanges in Havana.

Still, I cannot imagine how a typical Carnival cruise ship passenger will want to spend cruise vacation time and hard-earned money on excursions to homeless shelters, hospitals, and “faith-based exchanges” instead of jet skiing on Seven-Mile Beach and visiting Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman, but Carnival does, and it intends to make a hefty profit doing so, charging a premium for tickets, with prices starting at $2,990 per person plus taxes and port fees.

Fathom is the tenth global brand in the Carnival Corporation family of cruise lines, which in addition to Carnival also includes Aida, Holland America Line, Costa, Seabourn, P & O Cruises, P & O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises, and Cunard.

Carnival’s decision to set sail to Cuba will certainly have an enormous effect on the cruise ship industry as well as on the 1.2 million Cubans who live in Miami. Since Americans are still not permitted to travel to Cuba as tourists, passengers applying for tickets will have to qualify under one of the United States Department of Treasury’s 12 permitted travel categories, such as for the purpose of journalism, education, religious activities, arts events, etc.

Click here for the details on How Americans Can Take Cruises to Cuba.

As a lawyer who sues Carnival and other cruise lines on behalf of injured passengers, I was curious as to whether or not Fathom would also require people making accident claims to file their lawsuits within one year of the date of incident in Federal Court in Miami.  However, as with all of Carnival’s brands, that information was basically impossible to locate on its website, and required five clicks from the homepage to find it.  Here it is for you if you are interested:

https://www.fathom.org/passagecontract/

Buried deep in paragraph 15 is the requirement that injured passengers give written notice within six months of the date of the incident and then file suit within one year of the date in Miami.  As a cruise ship accident lawyer, I believe there should be a mandatory law, much like those imposed on tobacco companies, to provide a standardized warning label on all cruise ship websites and ticketing information about the venue and statute-of-limitations requirements.

Our law firm has over 25 years of combined legal experience in personal injury, maritime, and admiralty accident claims and litigation.  If you have been injured aboard a Fathom cruise or other cruise ship, contact our law firm today for a free initial consultation.  Remember this: The cruise lines employ experienced investigators, security officers, and lawyers who battle to defend the profits of the cruise industry every day. You deserve a strong legal advocate in your corner, too, to help you recover money for lost wages, medical expenses, lost cruises, and pain and suffering. Contact us today toll free at 1-866-597-4529 or by email: newcase@aronfeld.com.  We are ready to help you.