The cruise industry has been plagued by plenty of misfortune over the past few years. Incidents of food poisoning, capsizing, and illness have made travelers leery of a vacation venue that was previously considered fun and carefree.
What Precautions Are Ships Taking?
A recent news article posted on Business Insider reported that a cruise ship named the MSC Meraviglia docked in Miami with 2800 passengers who disembarked without any COVID-19 screening. A week prior, a passenger who disembarked the same ship tested positive for coronavirus. A spokesperson for the cruise line said no one on the ship showed any symptoms of the virus, and they “followed all protocols as required.” Although failure to implement screening at a time like this may seem irresponsible, many cruise contracts cover the company against liability.
What is In the Cruise Contract?
When one purchases a cruise ticket, they essentially agree to the cruise contract, a list of legal disclaimers protecting the company against liability. For example, the Carnival Cruise line’s contract outlines what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior from guests. The contract also guarantees the rights of the cruise line to change your accommodations, increase fares, or change destinations at any time. Additionally, they include a large section limiting liability for anything their employees do (while off duty) that results in injury or harm to passengers.
Another part of their liability coverage reads they are not held liable for “emotional distress, mental suffering/anguish or psychological injury of any kind under any circumstances, except when such damages were caused by the negligence of Carnival.”
Know Your Rights When Traveling by Cruise Ship
If you or someone you love is injured or falls ill while on a cruise ship, read the cruise contract very carefully. In the case of Carnival Cruise Line, they stipulate tight deadlines to allow claims for an injury, illness, and even death. Cruisers should know their rights and what they agreed to before boarding the ship. As always, consult an attorney for advice.