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Cruise Law News

Cruise Law News "Everything the cruise lines don't want you to know." www.cruiselawnews.com. Cruise Law News (CLN) is the daily blog of Miami maritime lawyer Jim Walker of the law firm of Walker & O'Neill.

Jim represents passengers and crew members in injury and sexual assault cases against cruise lines. CLN is currently the most popular legal blog regarding cruise ship and maritime issues in the world.

Jim represents passengers and crew members in injury and sexual assault cases against cruise lines. CLN is currently the most popular legal blog regarding cruise ship and maritime issues in the world.

Operating as usual

An interview last week. I was asked what I thought about Carnival Cruise Line's 50th Birthday celebration.
04/08/2022
Carefree Cruise or Pirate Ship? - Random Lengths News

An interview last week. I was asked what I thought about Carnival Cruise Line's 50th Birthday celebration.

Random Lengths News Carefree Cruise or Pirate Ship? - The Los Angeles Harbor Area's Only Independently owned news magazine serving San Pedro, Wilmington, Carson, Lomita, Torrance, Long Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes and Harbor Gateway.

From Barron's . . .
04/05/2022

From Barron's . . .

Three recent cruises aboard Princess Cruises cruise ships have involved hundreds of guests testing positive for COVID-19...
04/05/2022
"Lots of COVID-19" on Recent Princess Cruises Sailings

Three recent cruises aboard Princess Cruises cruise ships have involved hundreds of guests testing positive for COVID-19 according to passengers aboard the Caribbean Princess, Ruby Princess and Sky Princess ships. In all three cases, Princess Cruises did not say how many people tested positive, demonstrating the typical lack of transparency by a Carnival Corporation-owned brand.

Three recent cruises aboard Princess Cruises cruise ships have involved many dozens of guests testing positive for COVID-19 according to passengers aboard

"Booked guests and travel partners received today that the planned April 9 departure notification of Norwegian Escape wi...
04/04/2022
Another Cruise Canceled for Norwegian Escape Due to Ongoing Repairs - the future

"Booked guests and travel partners received today that the planned April 9 departure notification of Norwegian Escape will not be possible, as repairs on the vessel are not yet complete. The email, signed by Senior Vice President of Guest Services Katty Byrd, is virtually identical to the communications canceling previous voyagesonly changing the dates of the sailings mentioned."

Yet another 7-night sailing has been canceled for Norwegian Escape as the ship continues to undergo repairs due to having run aground in Puerto Plata,

The Wall Street Journal (sorry paywall protected) writes "the recent rebound in the cruise industry is said to be too li...
03/31/2022
Cruise Lines Won’t Catch a Wave

The Wall Street Journal (sorry paywall protected) writes "the recent rebound in the cruise industry is said to be too little, too late . . . Covid-19’s effects could leave cruise lines’ recovery dead in the water.

. . . analysts’ recent channel checks and surveys are resoundingly disappointing. With the exception of 2020, when the pandemic first sank in, and the Costa Concordia’s literal sinking in 2012, Truist’s Patrick Scholes said recent sentiment in the industry has rarely been more negative.

Mr. Scholes said the start of the year was “so deeply negative” that the rebound has proven to be too little, too late.

A Jefferies survey published this month suggests Omicron is still very much top of mind for would-be travelers. Among about 600 avid cruisers surveyed, more than 40% said they were less likely to cruise since Omicron hit. Meanwhile, about a quarter of respondents said they aren’t considering a near-term cruise, with more than half of those respondents listing Covid-19 concerns as their reason. Roughly two-thirds of cruise ships sailing in U.S. waters right now have reported Covid-19 cases on board, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . . .

. . . Fuel prices are also rising, and major operators including Carnival don’t appear to have hedged them. Historically, cruise ships have raised prices by instituting fuel surcharges to compensate, but depressed demand seems to be limiting their ability to do that this time around.

Over the past 8 weeks . . . bookings for all sailings have been down more than 50% . . ."

Optimism in the cruise industry right now requires a life jacket.

Overboard from Virgin Cruises' Valiant Lady. Virgian says it was an "intentional act' by the guest (who the cruise line ...
03/31/2022
Valiant Lady overboard sparks search and rescue mission

Overboard from Virgin Cruises' Valiant Lady. Virgian says it was an "intentional act' by the guest (who the cruise line calls a "sailor").

Virgin Voyages says incident happened in the early hours of Thursday morning (31 March)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped its risk assessment of cruise travel Wednesday after more than tw...
03/30/2022
CDC no longer warning travelers about risk of contracting COVID on cruise ships after 2 years

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped its risk assessment of cruise travel Wednesday after more than two years of warning travelers against the dangers of contracting COVID-19 on a cruise amid the pandemic.

"CDC is removing the COVID-19 Cruise Ship Travel Health Notice," spokesperson Dave Daigle, spokesperson for the health agency, told USA TODAY.

"Travel Health Notices" are issued by the CDC to inform travelers about current health issues that could impact travelers' health such as outbreaks and natural disasters among others.

The removal of the notice doesn't mean that the agency considers the activity to be without any risk.

The announcement comes just over two weeks after the CDC lowered its risk assessment level of cruise travel from "Level 3" to "Level 2" indicating a moderate COVID-19 risk.

Earlier this month, the CDC also published an update to its guidance for cruise ships participating in the health agency's COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, which remains in effect, Daigle said.

The health agency recommends travelers stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines before traveling on cruise ships and follow cruise line requirements and recommendations.

The CDC dropped its cruise travel health notice Wednesday, after warning travelers against the dangers of contracting COVID on a cruise for 2 years.

This tourism industry analyst who attends the quarterly earnings calls, calls it as the cruise industry hasn't (in publi...
03/30/2022
Two European Cruise Lines Intro Fuel Supplements, Will U.S. Cruise Lines Follow?

This tourism industry analyst who attends the quarterly earnings calls, calls it as the cruise industry hasn't (in public at least):

Patrick Scholes, managing director, Lodging and Leisure Equity Research at Truist Securities, told TMR he doesn’t expect the lines to change directions any time soon, especially in the Caribbean.
“Demand is very fragile right now,” he said. After being horribly beaten down by the global pandemic, the lines are finally starting to regain their footing. To levy a fuel surcharge would be to risk suppressing what demand there is. Especially in the Caribbean region, which he said is the weakest spot for all of cruising at the moment.

“Demand is already under severe pressure,” he said, adding he doesn’t foresee them risking that.

“If we hadn’t just been through COVID-19, they definitely would have. But there’s too much concern over what demand there is.”

In the United States, so far, no cruise lines have followed suit. But might they?

For the third straight week, Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled its seven-night sailing of the Norwegian Escape out of P...
03/30/2022
Third Norwegian Escape cruise from Port Canaveral canceled by continuing ship repairs

For the third straight week, Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled its seven-night sailing of the Norwegian Escape out of Port Canaveral

The ship continues to undergo repairs near Port Canaveral's Cruise Terminal 5 after an incident that occurred while the Escape was leaving a port in the Dominican Republic.

The Escape ran aground on March 14 while leaving the Dominican port of Puerto Plata, sustaining what the cruise line initially described as "minor damage."

The ship ran aground March 14, while leaving the Dominican Republic port of Puerto Plata

President Biden signs bill making lynching a federal crime, ending century-long effort.“I just signed into law the Emmet...
03/30/2022
Money Mississippi & the Murder of Emmett Till

President Biden signs bill making lynching a federal crime, ending century-long effort.

“I just signed into law the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, making lynching a federal hate crime for the first time in American history,” President Biden said at the White House.

The Emmett Till Antilynching Act, named for the 14-year-old who was brutally killed sixty-seven years ago (in 1955) in the tiny town of Money, Mississippi after a white woman accused him of whistling at her, will make it possible to prosecute a person for lynching when that person conspires to commit a hate crime that results in death or serious bodily injury.

The death of Emmett Till and the failure of the legal system to hold his killers responsible for his kidnapping and murder was one of the compelling reasons why I became a lawyer. Below is an article I wrote over nine years ago about the tragic case.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s holiday is a time to reflect on Reverend King's legacy and stories of overcoming racial hatred and injustice. As Dr. King

Passengers & crew on Princess' Ruby Princess, that arrived in San Francisco yesterday, tested positive for COVID-19. Pri...
03/28/2022
Fully vaccinated cruise reports covid cases on return to San Francisco

Passengers & crew on Princess' Ruby Princess, that arrived in San Francisco yesterday, tested positive for COVID-19. Princess Cruises
did not say how many people tested positive, demonstrating the typical lack of transparancy by a Carnival Corporation-owned brand. Text:

"Passengers and crew on a Princess Cruises ship that arrived in San Francisco on Sunday have tested positive for the coronavirus, the cruise line said.

The Ruby Princess was returning from a 15-day trip to the Panama Canal. The cruise line said in a statement that infected passengers and crew were asymptomatic or showed mild symptoms. Those affected were “isolated and quarantined while monitored and cared for by our shipboard medical team.” The carrier did not say how many people tested positive or when they tested positive during the trip.

All guests and crew on the ship were vaccinated, the cruise line said. Princess Cruises requires passengers to show a negative coronavirus test and proof of vaccination to board.

The carrier said guests who tested positive and had not completed the isolation period would return home by private transportation or be provided accommodations “ashore to hotels coordinated in advance for isolation and quarantine,” in collaboration with the San Francisco health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The news comes two weeks after the CDC lowered its covid warning for cruise travel to Level 2, or a “moderate” health risk. The CDC previously gave cruising a Level 4 rating — its highest level — during the omicron surge. The warning was moved to Level 3 in February.

Earlier this year, the public health agency lifted pandemic rules for cruise lines, shifting its guidance to voluntary recommendations for protocols including masking, testing, and vaccine requirements for passengers and crew. Cruise operators Carnival Corp., Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Group, which together represent more than a dozen brands, told The Washington Post in February that they would take part in the voluntary program. Princess Cruises is part of Carnival Corp.

Coronavirus cases have decreased in the United States, with a 7 percent drop in daily cases over the past week according to tracking data compiled by The Washington Post as of Monday. But a surge in cases in Western Europe this month fueled by a subvariant of omicron called BA.2 has put experts on alert for another potential wave."

The Princess Cruises ship was returning from a 15-day trip to the Panama Canal.

A forty-two year old Royal Caribbean crew member died on the Quantum of the Seas yesterday, according to Crew Center. Re...
03/27/2022
Crew Member Dies On Board Quantum of the Seas

A forty-two year old Royal Caribbean crew member died on the Quantum of the Seas yesterday, according to Crew Center. Rest in Peace.

A 42-year-old Filipino crew member has died on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Quantum of the Seas, according to a crew member who wishes to remain anonymous.The ship’s medical team were called this afternoon to report of a cardiac arrest and Code Alpha was sounded on the PA system.

"'The final resolution of such complaints or inquiries is a matter between the cruise line and the individual,' the Tran...
03/27/2022
Scorned cruise customers are invoking a ‘passenger bill of rights’

"'The final resolution of such complaints or inquiries is a matter between the cruise line and the individual,' the Transportation Department website says, noting that consumers also have to initiate action on their own.

Jim Walker, an attorney who runs the Cruise Law News site, said he has never used the policy on behalf of a client and finds it useless for that purpose.

'There’s no mechanism to enforce these rights,” he said. “And there are no remedies, there are no damages. So it’s rather meaningless quite frankly. … There’s no consequence if they violate these so-called rights.'"

Norwegian passengers are upset over their treatment on a cruise that ran aground.

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas cruise ship Explorer returns to Bonaire today due to a crew medical emergency.
03/26/2022

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas cruise ship Explorer returns to Bonaire today due to a crew medical emergency.

It seems that the alleged "minor damage" to the Norwegian Escape which NCL claims following the Norwegian Escape running...
03/23/2022
Ben Wills on Twitter

It seems that the alleged "minor damage" to the Norwegian Escape which NCL claims following the Norwegian Escape running aground last week turns out to be a ruptured hull, requiring the company to cancel another cruise to complete repairs.

“So apparently the #NorwegianEscape was taking on water and they put the crew in danger. Why hasn’t @CruiseNorwegian communicated with passengers yet? What are they hiding? #CruiseNorwegian”

"In a consequential ruling Monday night, a Miami federal judge said four major cruise lines with South Florida ties — Ca...
03/22/2022
‘Prohibited tourism:’ Miami judge deals major blow to cruise companies that traveled to Cuba

"In a consequential ruling Monday night, a Miami federal judge said four major cruise lines with South Florida ties — Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises — engaged in 'prohibited tourism' and 'trafficking activities' by carrying passengers to Cuba and profiting from the use of Havana port facilities confiscated by the Fidel Castro-led government, the first decision of its kind that could affect similar lawsuits. 'By using the Terminal and one of its piers in various ways, Carnival, MSC SA, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian committed trafficking acts,' U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom concluded. According to court records, the companies earned at least $1.1 billion in revenue and paid $138 million to Cuban government entities.

The companies ’cruises to Cuba constituted tourist activities and not proper people-to-people activities, paying millions of dollars to the Cuban Government to engage in impermissible travel,' the judge wrote. The case will now go to a jury trial already scheduled for May that will decide the damages that the cruise lines should pay.

The judge sided with Havana Docks, a company that held a concession to operate the port of Havana. The company filed lawsuits against the four cruise lines for their use of the port of Havana between 2015 and 2019, when cruise travel to Cuba was authorized. In 1960, Castro ordered the nationalization of port facilities and never paid their owners. The Helms-Burton Act, a law signed in 1996 also known as the Libertad Act, allows aggrieved owners to sue companies that later engaged in commercial activities or benefited somehow from the confiscated properties. The U.S. government’s authorization to 'provide carriers services by vessels' to allow cruises to Cuba under a brief detente promoted by the Obama administration was limited by a complex web of regulations and laws that enforce the U.S. embargo against Cuba and that the cruise companies did not follow, the judge’s ruling says. In particular, cruise companies were authorized only to transport Americans traveling under 12 legal categories. At all times, tourism activities were prohibited by law and by the Cuban Asset Control Regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department. Instead, the four companies hired Cuban government agencies to provide 'tourism services,' including excursions to beaches, nightclubs and sightseeing tours that the judge said were 'classic' tourism activities. The companies argued their tours were 'educational' and promoted 'people-to-people' exchanges. Carnival, for example, said the evening tours to nightclubs like the famous Tropicana cabaret in Havana did not comply with the Treasury regulations, but that didn’t matter because other day excursions offered did. The cruise lines also contended that all their activities were legal because they conducted business under U.S. government authorizations called licenses. That was a key defense argument, because the Helms-Burton Act includes an exception from liability if the use of the confiscated property is related to 'lawful travel.'

But Judge Bloom dismissed all those arguments and concluded that the cruise lines interpreted regulations promoting 'people-to-people' exchanges 'impermissible broadly' and that they did not conduct 'lawful travel' to Cuba during those years. “The fact that [the Treasury Department] promulgated licenses for traveling to Cuba, and Executive Branch officials, including the President, encouraged Defendants to do so, does not automatically immunize Defendants from liability if they engaged in statutorily prohibited tourism,' she wrote. In Carnival’s case, even if the daytime excursions complied with the Treasury regulations, neither the laws nor the regulations 'support the proposition that a passenger can spend the night at the Cuban nightclub simply because they spent the day engaged in people-to-people activities,' she wrote."

In a consequential ruling Monday night, a Miami federal judge said four major cruise lines with South Florida ties — Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises — engaged in “prohibited tourism” and “trafficking activities” by carrying passengers to Cuba and profiting from the u...

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I wish something would be done about Saga Cruises, which has two relatively new cruise ships, which since pandemic have obviously not been fit for purpose. The company claims that passengers can "cruise with confidence", but at the moment, this seems to equate to "cruise with covid" Both ships have technical issues - dodgy azipods - meaning they are not handling heavy seas and strong winds very well, and are often having to rely on tugs. Since the start of 2022, there have been numerous cruises affected by passengers testing positive for covid and either having to self-isolate in cabins or be off-loaded, depending on destinations. Ever since international cruising from the UK started, they have had their ships at 70-75% capacity, but only kept aside 6 cabins for isolation purposes. a prime example is their current cruise on Spirit of Adventure - 35 nights from Southampton to the Caribbean. The ship called at the Azores at the weekend, and at that stage already had 5% of passengers and crew who had tested positive. no matter, they carried on. 48 hours later, they were back in the Azores due to a medevac and then turned again towards the Caribbean. Yesterday afternoon, it became apparent that Covid 'positives' were increasing - now 10% and have turned around, now heading back to the Azore,s due there again on 4/3. Reading posts, many passengers just want to get a refund and go home. Saga are not willing to do this, they would prefer to not to have to issue refunds and find an alternative!
Who owns Poseidon Expeditions and will its vessel M/V Sea Spirit currently cruising Antarctica be impacted by the economic sanctions against Russia?
I am trying to locate a link to a resource that shows everything that ever happened on a cruise ship. It has man overboard, health inspections, crimes, etc. I have not cruised for awhile but I am almost positive I learned of this link in this group.
What's happening over on Coronavirus Legal Daily? 🔹Australia's reopening plans from Mayer Brown 🔹Updates on the latest cruise ship COVID-19 outbreaks from Cruise Law News 🔹A look at incarcerated population throughout the pandemic from Prison Policy Initiative highlighted by Douglas Berman Check out all those posts and more on CLD, one of LexBlog's Syndication Portals.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Reinstate Smoking in Casinos Directly Damaging Crew Health Carnival Cruise Line will once again allow passengers to smoke in the casino on their cruise ships beginning with cruises that depart on or after February 14, 2022. Two months ago, Carnival Cruise Line temporarily banned smoking in the casino due to the Omicron variant. They will once again allow smoking. Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adults who have never smoked. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20–30%. Secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmokers each year. Crew assigned to the casino have no choice but to accept such assignment, exposing them to second hand smoking for hours - days p- at a time. This demonstrates a total lack of concern by Carnival for the health of its crew members, whom they are exploiting just because they can get away with it. Shameful.
Cruise lines have been exploiting onboard staff for ever, whether employed directly or through third party ship management companies. Their mindset is since these staff members, both deck and engine, come largely from lesser developed countries, desperate for work (in most cases to support their families), they can easily be replaced and made to work gruelingly long hours and living in conditions that don't allow for privacy. It's true that, with Covid, cruise lines are facing some economic challenges, but in normal conditions the cruise lines profits - with high cash flow (sometimes attractive to silent investor money launderers) - are more than high enough to provide more single occupancy cabins and reduce working hours. Yet who is to advocate for these seamen and service staff when passengers - even those who tip well - are shielded from the facts and cruise focused travel bloggers and websites rely on cruise line advertising and are more interested in receiving future invitations for free press trips.
Many die-hard cruisers are undeterred and intend to sail no matter the outcome. So if you’re one of those cruise fans, here’s what could be in your cruising future.
Miami maritime attorney Jim Walker: Super Spreader of the Seas – Atlantis Events Makes a Mockery of COVID-19 Protocols https://www.cruiselawnews.com/.../super-spreader-of-the.../ Cruise Law News
Anyone hear anything about the Norwegian Pearl turning back to Miami today on day two of its 12 day itinerary?
From 7 Belize News Note that this was an UNSCHEDULED run, so Belize will be the destination that is willing to infect her people just so a handful of rich folk can get richer.... · Cruise Ship Denied At Several Ports Docked In Belize It had been denied entry at the ports of The Bahamas, Jamaica, Aruba, Panama, and Costa Rica, but the MSC Divina Cruise Ship, which is reportedly carrying 75 COVID confirmed crew and passengers, was accepted into Belize on Sunday, January 2nd. According to the director of BTB, Evan Tillett, they assessed the situation along with the cruise line, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Ministry of Health, and deemed it safe since the passengers and crew that were infected were quarantined and isolated on the ship. He also explained that the data showed that the spread was contained and the cases were not increasing. Tillett said that, quote, “We have to use what we have learnt since the pandemic started in 2019 to manage and live with COVID 19. We have the vaccines as a part of our defense mechanism as well as being individuals responsible in protesting ourselves and others by sanitizing, wearing our masks, and social distancing.” End quote. The cruise ship was also accepted into Honduras and Mexico."
I see no one with masks. The cruise industry needs to follow up what they write. Example no mask they should be asked to leave the ship. This should reduce the number of infections