Articles Tagged with “Cruise Ship Excursion”

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zipline-300x225Awful cruise line news broke last week about a newlywed couple who collided with each other during a zip line tour in Roatan, Honduras, resulting in death and injuries. The individuals involved in the incident, an Israeli couple, were celebrating their honeymoon with a cruise vacation on Royal Caribbean’s vessel Allure of the Seas. Sadly, it is a scene repeated all too often.

Cruise lines, which form a $40 billion dollar a year industry, derive substantial profits from shore excursions which they market and sell to passengers as part of the cruise vacation experience. Passengers should be very cautious before deciding to go on a cruise sanctioned shore excursion, as many of the basic safety standards and regulations mandated in the United States go absent or unenforced in foreign cruise ports of call.

In the last few years there have been many injuries and deaths from zip lining incidents during a cruise line shore excursion. In fact, several such incidents have occurred before in Roatan, Honduras. In 2015 a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas was horrifically injured while zip lining in Roatan on a zip line that was negligently operated with too much slack in the line. In 2009 a passenger on a Norwegian Cruise Line vessel plummeted to her death when a zip line cable in Gumbalimba Park, Honduras, snapped in mid air. There have been many other instances of death and injury from zip lining in other foreign ports of call, normally from faulty equipment and excursion operator error.

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The cruise ship industry is plagued by norovirus and other multiple claims of sickness and illness from unsanitized standards and crew practices. Fortunately, those incidents are often temporary and transient. However, in an effort to aggressively compete, each major cruise line has made their ship a “recreational or theme park” resulting in more serious injuries, drowning accidents and deaths on board and through excursion packages.

Where is the ship that doesn’t have tennis and basketball courts, Jacuzzis, water slides and an entire array of poorly planned and non-supervised activities to keep passengers fully occupied. “The experience is no longer the cruise, but rather the activities aboard the cruise ship,” according to noted maritime lawyer, Ira Leesfield. An online search of the diverse and dangerous activities for each vessel does not reveal the failure to provide lifeguards, safety officers and crime deterrent, uniform and non-uniformed cruise personnel.

Recent rise in cases through the cruise industry is commensurate with the tremendous increase in the number of passengers and the obvious profit incentive of shepherding the largest number of passengers with the smallest number of staff.

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In the last decade, the cruise experience alone does not work in the economically fierce competition for  cruise passengers which has forced all the major cruise lines to turn the travel cruise experience into an “amusement park”.

Clear examples of various injuries and death resulting from on-board activities and excursions have risen dramatically, as the cruise ship industry fails to provide true safety.   For instance, the industry has refused to provide lifeguards even though there have been numerous drownings in the cruise ship pools.  The industry has added a number of excursions even though many are not supervised and present a real danger and jeopardy to the cruise passengers and families.

Excursions include private trips to islands owned by cruise lines as well as utilizing off shore activities such as parasailing, jet skiing, boating, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, jeep and bus tours, zip-lining, etc.

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Bernice Kraftcheck, a Celebrity Cruises passenger, fell to her death while parasailing in tandem with her daughter off the coast of St. Thomas. Danielle Haese, Brenice’s 34 year old daughter was also very seriously injured during the incident.

After several days of investigating the facts of this tragic incident, the theory that squalls and wind gusts that afternoon may have caused the mother-and-daughter tandem to fall from the sky and crash into the waters of St Thomas. Celebrity Cruises announced that it was terminating parasailing excursions pending the result of the investigation. Other Cruise companies followed suit and Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have also suspended their parasailing excursions across the Caribbean. Carnival Cruise also canceled its parasailing excursions in St. Thomas, but not in the rest of the Caribbean.

parasailing1.gifBernice Kraftcheck and her daughter were passengers on a Celebrity Cruise and booked a cruise excursion through the cruise company’s website. Cruise lines offer passengers to book excursions, such as parasailing, either directly on the cruise lines’ website, or while on the ship at any time during the cruise.

Deadly and catastrophic accidents occur every year when cruise passengers are on excursions, and this incident, as tragic as it was, was not the first time a cruise passenger died while on a cruise excursion.

The cruise lawyers of Leesfield & Partners have been representing passengers who have been injured during shore excursions, as well as the families of cruise passengers who died during an excursion. These shore excursions are operated by companies independent from the Cruise companies. There is however a financial relationship between the cruise lines and the local tour companies who offer excursions to cruise passengers. Cruise lines offer their paying passengers to book directly from the cruise lines’ websites an excursion, or to book it at the excursion desk located on each and every cruise ship. In exchange, the local tour companies agree to pay the cruise lines a percentage of their sales that are generated by cruise lines.
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