Cruise Lawsuit Says Passengers Were Put In Danger

A class action cruise lawsuit has been filed against Royal Caribbean, alleging that by failing to cancel the August 27th sailing of Liberty of the Seas out of storm-ravaged Galveston, they put passengers in danger.

“Strong-Armed” Passengers File Cruise Lawsuit

cruise lawsuit

According to the Houston Chronicle, the suit was filed on behalf of Canadian traveler Nikki McIntosh and other passengers who found themselves in the same boat, so to speak, as a result of the cruise line’s decision. It does not list a specific monetary demand, but does say that a settlement should cover lost wages, emotional suffering and other costs associated with the traumatic experience.

The suit alleges that on Saturday, August 26, Royal Caribbean’s meteorologist tweeted that the weather was “looking favorable” and that even as “catastrophic flooding had already begun,” passengers were being told Liberty would still be departing on Sunday as scheduled.

“Hundreds of flights were cancelled,” the suit alleges, “and highways were flooded, impassable and deadly. Yet [Royal Caribbean] was still attempting to find a way to make the scheduled sailing.” By late Saturday evening, Royal announced that the ship would depart on Monday instead of Sunday given that the port’s closure made it impossible for Liberty to return to the dock.

cruise lawsuit
Photo via Flickr/lovesee.

It was not until Sunday, August 27 — the date the ship originally was set to sail and the height of flooding in the Galveston area — that Royal first E-mailed passengers to say they could cancel without penalty and, a few hours later, actually cancelled the sailing. But of course, by then it was too late for those who, fearing they would wind up losing the cost of their vacation, had made their way to Texas.

“Terror” and “Hardship” for Passengers

“Had the cruise been cancelled a day or two earlier, just like Carnival did, then these passengers would not have been trapped in the path of Hurricane Harvey and subjected to 5-6 days of terror, hardship and inconvenience,” says the lawsuit.

“The conduct of [Royal Caribbean] as alleged above is so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency,” the legal team wrote, adding that the lines actions should be “regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”

Does this cruise lawsuit have merit? 

6 Responses

  1. Read the carriage contract. If travel to and from port is not arranged by them, they are not responsible.

  2. No, read your contract plus take some personal responsibility. Engage your brain and make your own decisions. How can you expect a cruise line or airline or any travel company to make your decisions for you! If all travel was arranged through Royal, then Royal would be responsible by contract, otherwise, you are on your own, that is clearly spelled out in the contract.

    I have been stranded when I self booked connecting flights with third parties and guess what? When a snow storm, even though I knew it was happening but I still insisted on getting to where I wanted to be, happened–things fell through, the airline was NOT responsible! I’m was sh!t out of luck, especially since I did not insure back then!

    No being a suing kind of person, I just took it on the chin, and learned a lesson or two. Book with insurance. Watch the weather myself. book direct rather than with third party and avoid connecting anything unless I have lots of days. Be flexible if something does go craxy regardless of all the t’s and i’s being crossed and dotted.

    Look at the big picture–others have lost homes, businesses, much of their property, been severely inconvenienced without food and water for days right where they live and they were not visitors, and many have lost their lives. A lawsuit like this is shameful in light of what Royal was dealing with at the time, just plain shameful. Karma has away of paying just debts and this lawsuit is not just!!!!!

  3. I think by saying it was still sailing but a day delay would have passengers travel to the ship. That being said Royal should have just cancelled like the other cruiselines or went somewhere else. We cruised on Carnival during that time and they gave us the option of sailing or full refund. We got an additional port and 2 free sail days by deciding to go. There is the contract vs customer retention, I can not imagine their decision was good for customer retention. Just my opinon.

  4. Absolutely just. Since when is lining corporate pockets an acceptable reason to manhandle paying customers into a storm? Or to any unsafe, unsound situation? When money becomes more important than looking out for fellow human beings, then things like this happen and get a hellufying pushback. And the sheeple defending this type of behavior are the ones who constantly get ripped off because of being afraid to speak up. Just because this is your favorite cruise line does not mean they are not wrong. Big corps love silence because they can do dirty things without repercussion.m. But they respect those that speak out and reject it by implementing ways it will never cost their company for again. If it’s all about money for them, then the customers did the right thing by slicing their financial throat.

  5. As noted before, the language in the cruise contract is very clear, and mostly in favor of the cruise line. The contract language does appear to include olive branch provisions to provide some relief for the cruise passenger, including those that may apply to the passenger that arrived at a cancelled sailing. This is only one side of a potential argument, written by the cruise lines’ attorneys for the cruise lines. It is difficult to imagine that it could not be challenged by the cruise passenger and their attorneys in a civil court proceeding along with various options including settlements, binding arbitration, etc.

    The legal process may provide a precedent as to whether such severe and uncertain weather conditions place increased responsibilities on the cruise line or the cruise passenger. However, if this is settled out of court, we may not have access to the answer.

    Considering the amount of legal fees in a lawsuit against a major corporation, you might want to balance that against the amount requested or some other form of a result (e.g. commitment to more traveler friendly procedures). Remember that the surviving passengers from the Costa Concordia, that were not severely injured or bereaved, were offered €11,000. One payment mentioned to the family that lost a young daughter and her father was reported at €125,000. (Note: At least one case representing multiple Costa Concordia passengers was terminated in a U.S court.) With that incident as a comparison, you have to ask what is the intended outcome from a lawsuit against the cruise line.

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