CRUISE SHIP CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK
Initially, I was intrigued by the idea of seeking isolation on a cruise ship in response to the Corona Virus (COVID-19/C19) outbreak. After all, what better place to waste days away during a pandemic than on a cruise ship with its luxury accommodation and vast array of amenities – endless food, drinks, activities and entertainment. This option certainly seemed superior to being cooped up at home where I risked infection on trips to the grocery store for food, and essentials, like toilet paper and beer.
As the COVID-19 outbreak expanded, I became increasingly suspicious of my cruise ship isolation strategy. In early February, the Diamond Princess with 2600 guests onboard was not permitted to dock in Yokohama, Japan. Then in early March, California turned the Grand Princess away with 3500 people onboard. The Rotterdam (1050 people) and the Zaandam (1400 people) followed in early April; both were initially denied docking in Florida. There were others, but I think you get my point.
Obviously my cruise ship isolation strategy was flawed. In fact, several infectious disease doctors and studies have commented that once exposed, cruise ships are not well suited for controlling the spread of a contagion, particularly one as aggressive as COVID-19. We all have heard about past outbreaks on cruise ships, like Norovirus and E.Coli.
But in the case of COVID-19, and contrary to the initial CDC and WHO advice, the cruise industry continued to do what it does best: Make Money. Yes, some cruise lines did alter their ships’ itineraries and implement recommended procedures, but most did not. In fact, some cruise ships embarked on new cruises after returning to port from earlier cruises with known infected passengers and crew. Those cruise lines that did not heed the CDC and WHO warnings placed their respective passengers and crew members in harms way and should be held accountable.
Although personal injury claims may be brought against a cruise line, most cruise line ticket contracts require that notice of a claim must be provided to the cruise line within six (6) months and that a lawsuit, if any, must be filed within one (1) year of the occurrence. Further, these ticket contracts typically require that the lawsuit be filed in a particular state or federal court, located in a specific state, like Florida. And, yes, other unusual restrictions and requirements can be found in the typical cruise line ticket contract.
If you, a family member or loved one were a passenger on a cruise ship and became infected with COVID-19, we can help you navigate the cruise line claims process. We have extensive experience in the representation of the injured, including cruise line passengers and we are always available to address your concerns and questions.
Please remember to follow the CDC COVID-19 Guidelines (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) and remain safe. We wish You and Your Family the very best during these difficult times. We can all get through this by working together.
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