Articles Tagged with Shore Excursions

dunn-300x225A big aspect of the money earned by cruise ships is on shoreside excursions passengers take. Many passengers believe these are run by the cruise line, and the cruise line will stand behind these excursions if there are any problems or accidents. However, many times a passenger is surprised, after having a problem or an accident, to hear the cruise line deny responsibility on the basis that they do not operate the shoreside excursion that the operators are independent contractors, and the cruise ship company has no liability for the negligence of the shoreside excursion company. Since the shoreside excursions occur in foreign countries, the passenger is then left with the prospect of trying to pursue a foreign shoreside excursion company who may not be subject to jurisdiction in the United States, and who may not have any insurance.

However, maritime attorneys knows that he or she can come up with a few theories of liability against the cruise ship company for the shore excursions, including an argument that the cruise ship company should at least be aware of the dangers, if any, and then warn the passengers of these dangers. This is one theory of liability which imposes direct liability on the cruise ship company for negligent failure to warn of dangers. This would require proving that the cruise line knew, or should have known of the dangers, based on past experience with the shoreside excursion company.

In a recent case out of the Southern District of Florida, a passenger filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean  Cruises for an injury suffered when rock climbing in Dunn’s River Falls.

She was only 49-years-old. Christina Cassin was with her husband Scott Turco during an 11-day cruise onboard the Celebrity passenger cruise ship the Equinox.

The Equinox docked in Cozumel on March 28th.

The husband stated: “We went for a group dive. At some point I turned to the dive master to tell him she was going to the surface and when I turned back towards her, she was gone.”

Carnival Cruise Lines confirmed that a 14-year-old passenger aboard the Carnival Cruise Line passenger cruise ship VICTORY was shot during a shoreside excursion while the teenager was  in Coki Point Beach, St. Thomas. Apparently, Coki Point Beach is a very popular area in St. Thomas.

stthomas-225x300The teenager was with her parents on a safari bus at the time of the shooting. She was caught in a cross fire during a shootout reported to have been taking place between local gang members.

While this tragic incident appears to be a random act of violence, under the maritime law if a cruise line has knowledge of an unsafe area that passengers may travel to during a cruise, there would be a duty to warn the passengers of any such dangers. Therefore, if the cruise line was aware, or should have been aware, of an unsafe area at one of the ports the cruise line takes its passengers to, they would have a duty to warn the passengers of the dangers.

A maritime law case previously held that a cruise line could be responsible for a shooting of a passenger at a port where the cruise line knew or should have known that the area the passengers foreseeably traveled to was an area that was known to have a lot of criminal activity.

Under the maritime law, the cruise ship owes passengers a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances, and that duty would include warning passengers of any dangers known to the cruise line that may risk the safety or lives of the passengers.
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