In the wake of the recent difficulties with the cruise ships it has become clear the cruise industry does not protect the legal rights of its passengers. The unpleasantness with the Carnival Cruise ship Triumph is a recent example.
Although U.S. courts have said the cruise ships have a legal responsiblity to protect their passengers, the language in the contract attempts to evade legal responsibilty on the part of the cruise lines.
Lawsuits for neglectful infliction of emotional distress against the cruise ship owners should be good, according to maritime lawyer Jason Marguiles, an experienced maritime lawyer in an interview with CNN.
Backed up toilets and sewage sloshed on deck as well as the risk of health problems and minor fights would be the basis of such lawsuits, according to Marguiles.
CNN legal expert Jeffrey Toobin also said lawsuits were possible depending on the paperwork passengers signed before boarding the ships.
The 3,000 passengers who were stranded five days on the Triumph may not be protected by the rulings of U.S. courts though, since Carnival Cruise has flagged its ships out of the Bahamas and not the United States. This means the Bahamians will conduct the investigation into the disaster.
Some of their ships are registered in Britain and Panama.
An engine room fire caused a power outage aboard the Triumph, according to an article for NPR by Scott Neuman.
In 2010, the Carnival ship Splendor suffered a similar incident, according to the NPR article.
The Costa Concordia tragedy off Tuscany, Italy in January of 2012, actually resulted in fatalities within sight of the shore.
Carnival also owns that ship.
A recent lifeboat accident aboard a Thomson Cruises ship killed five crew members and resulted in the cancellation of the cruise.
Passengers considering future cruises should be aware they check all their legal protections at the gangplank when they set foot on ship, according to many contracts drawn up by the cruise ship companies.
All passengers should take the time to read the small print on those contracts so they will know if their legal rights are being taken away from them when they board ship.
Even more tragic are incidents of passengers disappearing overboard during the cruises. Once again, foreign countries will normally be responsible for investigations in these cases.
One of the benefits Carnival Cruise Lines are reportedly offering this most recent group of dissatisfied customers is free passage on another such cruise.
Why would the passengers consider that a benefit after what they've been through?
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