Articles Tagged with “Royal Caribbean Cruises”

Published on:

In a special letter to the editor published on September 4, 2015, in the Miami Herald, Ira H. Leesfield revisits the importance of the decision reached by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, not only for the case of Teresita Sorrels, but for present and future injured cruise passengers.

“In reversing the trial court’s order, the Eleventh Circuit gave Teresita Sorrels her day in court and allows passengers injured by the alleged negligence of the cruise line the same rights as if they were otherwise the victims of land-based negligent businesses.” writes the senior managing partner of Leesfield Scolaro.

Click here to read the article written by Ira H. Leesfield for the Miami Herald.

Published on:

When a passenger sustains an injury while on a cruise ship or while on a shore excursion purchased through the cruise line, a maritime law attorney must be contacted immediately so as to maximize the recovery of a potential personal injury claim or lawsuit, and more importantly to not jeopardize the investigation and fact-gathering process that must be done as early as possible and is absolutely critical in litigating against a cruise line.

caution.jpgMost passengers feel safe at sea and are confident that, whichever activity they chose to purchase, the cruise line has done its homework and would not risk the safety and livelihood of its passengers. That misconception has led to countless incidents. Worse, it has led passengers to trusting the cruise line in rectifying their mistakes, or acts of negligence.

Contact a cruise ship injury attorney as soon as you board off the ship
Most, if not all, cruise lines have important procedural conditions that all passengers must know prior to embarking on a cruise. One of these procedural conditions is the time frame within which an injured person must act in order to file a claim against the cruise line. Cruise lines have uniformly imposed a one-year statute of limitations on any and all personal injury claims against them. If a lawsuit is not filed within one year of the incident which caused a person’s injury, that passenger’s claim will be barred forever. Not only that, Cruise Lines have also uniformly and arbitrarily imposed a six-month notification deadline.

The clock on your potential personal injury claim starts ticking the day the incident happens, and if you wait too long, your case, which could have been worthy of representation months prior, could be turned down simply because it is too late to act. You must protect yourself and do your due diligence by contacting a reputable maritime law attorney as soon as possible after you return home from the cruise.

Do not trust the Cruise Line’s claims management process
Many passengers will elect to resolve their injury claim on their own. They will contact the claims management department several weeks after the incident and attempt to obtain a recovery without any professional help. That is the second biggest mistake you can make.

Like any insurance company, the claims management department’s objective is to avoid compensating injured passengers. To achieve their mean, several tactics are employed in almost every single claim:

waiting.gifFirst, the person assigned to your case will ask to obtain a statement from you about the incident. They will only ask questions that may put the blame on the injured person and not ask or inquire about any facts that may or may not show the cruise line’s negligence.

Second, they will stall the claim’s process. By now, the incident occurred several weeks, if not a couple of months ago. They will ask that you provide a copy of all of your medical records, and medical bills, so the claims department can “evaluate” your damages. Some passengers are quick to obtain medical records, but most are not knowledgeable enough and several months will go by before the claims person will be in possession of your medical records and bills.

The next step is full denial. At that point, the cruise line has all of your records, it has an idea of the damages you have sustained in the incident, and it also knows how the incident happened. They will invariably tell you that the statement you have given to the ship’s doctor or the ship’s security staff is inconsistent with the statement you gave over the phone. Or they will tell you that the damages you are seeking are unrelated to the injury you claim you sustained in the incident. Or they will dispute the charges you claim you have incurred, or stress the fact that your health insurance paid for your bills and therefore your medical bills are irrelevant. Or they will insist on telling you that they need more time to make sure their investigation is concluded before they can either deny the claim, or make your an offer.
Continue reading

Published on:

Royal Caribbean-operated cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas, was in the middle of a 7-night Caribbean cruise originating from Port Canaveral, when it stopped in Pic Paradis, St. Martin.

As is customary, passengers are invited to spend their dollars on cruise excursions while the ship is docked for several hours in the island. One of those excursions is the Loterie Farm Treetop Adventure Tour, which consists of a treetop ropes course and zipline adventure. Passengers had to board a bus, operated by Dutch Tours Enterprises N.V., from the dock to gain access to the location, and that is when an incident happened, in the words of Matt Stead, a Freedom of the Seas passenger present on the bus:

bus.jpg“Just after we went through the Loterie Farm gate we felt the driver hit the brakes, but no brakes and then the bus just started careening down. About half way down we hit a speed bump and everyone hit the ceiling and then the bus just continued rolling down the hill. There was a guy driving coming up the hill while we were going down so we ran into him, flipped that vehicle over and then ran straight down into the ditch. Tree branches got into the bus and many people received whip lashes from the branches. Everyone was screaming manically, we thought we were plunging to our deaths but the tree saved us.”

Another Freedom of the Seas passenger wrote in a message board: “I was on the bus sitting front row, directly behind the driver. My twin boys were sitting front row on the passenger side … It was the most frightening experience of our lives and one which will haunt us forever. I got seriously banged up and required stitches, as well as one of my sons. Had I not dove over to protect them and absorb their impact before we hit, they would have been much more seriously injured. How no one was killed is a miracle.”

From these two accounts as well as multiple others, it seems that passengers feel the driver was negligent in his operation of the 49-seat tour bus, or possibly that the bus itself had not been maintained properly when its brakes seemingly failed at the worst time.

tourists-make-the-long-walk-up-hill-after-accident.jpgWhat is also customary is the way Royal Caribbean and the local authorities, who depend on the cruise line industry to bring them tourist money, will spin what truly occurred. Already a spokesman for RCCL is portraying the driver as a life-saver: “This was a traffic accident, a type of which can happen anywhere and is no reflection on the bus company. The bus driver had to take an evasive maneuver to avoid an oncoming vehicle.
Continue reading

Published on:

Fabian Palmer, a 25 year-old from Jamaica, found himself working on the Enchantment of the Seas, a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean. During a Christmas cruise, Palmer, who was assigned to maintaining the vessel’s pool areas, befriended a young girl, age 14.

We reported on the sordid events in a previous article here: Another Crew Member Pleads Guilty to Sexual Rape Charges of Minor Passenger on Royal Caribbean Cruise

fabianpalmerfacebook.jpgFor several days, Palmer would leave written notes to the minor girl, until the night of December 23, 2011. That night, Palmer took the child into a bathroom located inside a male locker room. He locked the doors behind them and despite the girl’s protests, performed multiple sexual acts. The FBI came into possession of video surveillance footage that showed Palmer lead the child in the male locker room and in one of the bathrooms.

Published on:

While cruise lines continue to say the right thing in press releases and the national media destined for public consumption, the attorneys for cruise lines continuously and systematically fight to deny cruise passengers’ claims, and fight to deny the existence of any cruise lines’ duties in court.

enchantment-of-the-seas-large11.jpgThis morning, Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship, Enchantment of the Seas, rescued a dehydrated sailor who needed emergent medical attention. This is the latest rescue at sea, and the second rescue in as many months, that is receiving national attention in the media. This is also the latest rescue since Leesfield Scolaro sued Princess Cruises for its failure to rescue Fernando Osorio, who died five days after his drifting boat came in close contact with the Star Princess, a ship Princess Cruises owned and operated.

Days after that story broke in the media, Princess Cruises’ public relations department took control of the narrative and made a step in the right direction when it issued the following public statement on April 19, 2012:

“Princess Cruises is dedicated to the highest standards of seamanship wherever our ships sail, and it is our duty to assist any vessel in distress. We have come to the aid of many people at sea, and we will continue to do so.”

After the above statement was released, Adrian Vasquez, who was a companion of Fernando Osorio on that same drifting vessel that Princess Cruises made no attempt to rescue, filed a lawsuit against Princess Cruises for failure to rescue the distressed vessel and for failure to provide him and his dying friends any assistance.

In response to Vasquez’s complaint, Princess Cruises filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that it should be thrown out for the following reasons:

– Vasquez did not radio the cruise ship – Vasquez did not fire distress rockets – Vasquez did not deploy distress flares – Vasquez did not deploy distress smoke signals – Vasquez did not utilize any intentionally recognized equipment to signal distress at sea – Vasquez did not attempt to signal with a burning torch – Princess Cruises is uncertain whether Vasquez’s vessel ever sailed within sight of the Cruise Ship ‘Allure of the Seas’
– The law does not impose a duty on ships to investigate whether every passing vessel may need assistance

Continue reading

Published on:

Cruise Ship Lawyers Blog was first to report the alleged sexual assault that occurred during a 10-day cruise aboard Royal Caribbean operated ship the Allure of the Seas.

Luiz Scavone was charged last January with two counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a 15-year old female passenger. Initially, Scavone plead not guilty and attempted to post bail in order to wait for trial in Brazil, his home country. You can read our previous posts on this incident here:

scavone-original_resize.jpgCruise Ship Passenger Raped Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas

Alleged Cruise Ship Rapist Asks Judge to be Released

Alleged Rapist of Cruise Passenger Luiz Scavone held without Bail

Last week, Scavone plead guilty to the battery charges and was sentenced to one year in jail. Once released, Scavone will have to register as a sex offender and will be deported to Brazil immediately.

Even though Scavone’s family and lawyer claimed that the 15-year-old teenager consented to having sexual relations with the 20-year-old, the facts of the incident were never questioned. According to the prosecutor, the teenager was lured by Scavone’s little brother (15) to Scavone’s cabin under false pretenses. The young girl thought she was going to a small party cabin and to meet other friends. She realized once the door closed behind her that she was alone with Scavone and his little brother where it is alleged they took turn raping the minor cruise passenger.

allure of the seas rccl_resize.jpgThe next day, the parents of the victim alerted the crew. The FBI and local authorities were called and arrested the Scavone brothers as soon as the ship arrived in Fort Lauderdale.

The criminal case against the younger of the two Scavone was completed several weeks ago and he is now back in his home country. His brother, Luiz Scavone, will not be back in Brazil before he spends the balance of his sentence behind bars.

Judge Matthew Destry was faced with an important decision early on in the criminal trial, having to rule whether Scavone could be freed on bail. The State of Attorney’s Office argued that it would be ill-advised for Scavone to be allowed to post bail because they could not prevent him from leaving the country and returning to Brazil while the charges were pending. To their point, a recent amendment to the Brazilian constitution provides that Brazilian citizens are not to be deported to a foreign country when criminal charges are pending against them. In other words, allowing Scavone to post bail and leave the USA would have meant that the teenager’s attacker would never be punished for the alleged rape.
Continue reading

Published on:

On December 23, 2011, Royal Caribbean crew member, Fabian Palmer, sexually abused a minor child who was 14 years old at the time. This is the latest event that has led to criminal charges for sexual acts committed on cruise ships this year.

fabian palmer.jpgFabian Palmer, a Jamaican national, was a Royal Caribbean Cruises employee and worked on the Enchantment of the Seas. Palmer was assigned to maintenance of the vessel’s pool areas.

On December 17, 2011, the family of the victim boarded the cruise ship from Baltimore, Maryland, for a 7-day Caribbean cruise. For several days, Palmer interacted with the 14 year-old girl, sharing written notes, until the evening of December 23rd when Palmer invited the minor passenger to follow him in one of the deserted male locker rooms of the ship at approximately 11:30pm.

The criminal complaint filed by the FBI in Maryland details how Palmer led the 14 year-old to one of the bathrooms of the male locker room and locked the door behind them. Palmer undressed the girl and engaged in multiple sexual acts despite the girl’s protests that she was hurting. Palmer only stopped when another crew member knocked on the door of the bathroom and discovered the “couple”. The next day, Palmer saw the 14 year-old and told her not to say anything to anyone about what had happened or he could be in trouble.

FabianPalmerMugshot.jpgAccording to the FBI, video surveillance cameras captured footage of Palmer leading the minor into the male locker room and into the bathroom. The footage also shows the other cruise employee knocking on the door and all three leaving the male locker room shortly thereafter.

Palmer was interviewed by Royal Caribbean after the end of the cruise. The FBI was alerted in late December and a criminal complaint was filed against the 25 year-old on January 4, 2012.

On March 22, 2012, almost three months after the events, Palmer plead guilty to having had sex with a minor child under the age of sixteen. As part of his plea agreement, Palmer will be registered as a sex offender in his place of residence, for any future job and any time he enrolls as a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
Continue reading

Published on:

We have previously reported on the suspicious death of Kenneth John Gemmell who was a cruise passenger on the Allure of the Seas, a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises.

It has not been over two weeks since the 30-year-old man disappeared at sea and the questions asked by the family to help them understand what may have happened on the night of the incident still remain unanswered today.

Initially, Royal Caribbean issued a statement saying that their passenger apparently committed suicide. That conclusion had been reached after the cruise company spokesman confirmed that existed video footage of Kenneth Gemmell standing up on the table in his cabin and jumping off the ship, apparently on his own.

kenneth john gemmell 2.jpgRead more on the initial statement by Royal Caribbean here: Another Death of 30 year-old Royal Caribbean Cruise Passenger

Despite the claim that said video footage exists, the family has yet to see it. In the days following the incident, the authorities in charge of this passenger disappearance case stated that the open investigation was still ongoing and that they could not reach the same conclusion that Royal Caribbean had reached only several hours after the tragedy occurred.

In the last week, many passengers who were on that same cruise began to come forward by reaching out to the Gemmell’s family directly, while others left comments on the internet, describing what they recall seeing or knowing about the incident that may be of help in piecing together the last few hours of Kenneth’s life aboard the Allure of the Seas.

Of particular interest, we have now learned that Kenneth entered into an argument with a cruise employee that night. The employee in question is so far nowhere to be found. The family suspects that the employee was allowed, by Royal Caribbean, to disembark in Cozumel, Mexico.

While Royal immediately issued a statement contradicting these latest reports, the latest declarations made by the family to the media yesterday certainly add another layer of suspicion surrounding this case.

The family confirmed to Examiner.com that the lead investigator in the Bahamas has confirmed to them that Royal Caribbean has video footage of the dispute between Kenneth and the cruise employee/bartender. He further confirmed that, contrary to what it stated in one of its earlier releases, Royal did in fact allow one of its employees to board off the ship and was never asked to return.

This raises suspicion on what happened in the moments leading to Kenneth’s disappearance. Several fellow cruisers who were on the Allure of the Seas have commented on several internet forums and online boards that the employee with whom Kenneth was seen to have an argument was selling drugs to passengers.
Continue reading

Published on:

The father of Kenneth John Gemmell spoke out recently about the disappearance at sea of his 30-year-old son. We reported on this story as soon as it happened and once additional information became known. Several passengers on that same cruise have come forward with pertinent information which have raised some doubt as to exactly what happened to the young man.

Kenneth John Gemmell.jpgRead our previous posts on this story:

Another Death of 30 year-old Royal Caribbean Cruise Passenger

Family of Deceased Cruise Passenger Seeks Information from Fellow Cruisers

In the last 24 hours, Kenneth’s father, James Gemmell, has reiterated the family’s efforts to get more information from fellow cruisers who may have more information about the disappearance of Kenneth and the claims by the cruise line that the yound man committed suicide.

A spokesman for Royal Caribbean Cruises, which operates the “Allure of the Seas” released a more detailed statement: “He was alone on the balcony in his stateroom on deck 11 when he stepped on top of the balcony table in order to jump over the balcony railing. The footage is consistent with an eyewitness report from another guest.”

The statement refers to a video footage captured on the ship’s closed circuit surveillance system. While the statement seems to leave no doubt as to what happened in the seconds prior to Kenneth’s jumping off the ship, the family is still trying to understand what led the young man to such an act.

In an interview, James Gemmell has said that “Kenneth was not a suicide risk. He went out on a holiday and was very happy. We just don’t understand what happened.” His mother added her son “was very good at his job and loyal to those he worked with and was a happy and outgoing person. He went on the cruise a very happy and jolly person. He was delighted about it and had nothing to be sad about. He was not a suicide risk.”

The reason Kenneth’s parents are continuously looking for answers is easily explained. First, despite the claim by the cruise line that the 30-year-old committed suicide and taht he was caught on their surveillance system jumping off the ship on his power remains to be proven. The cruise line has yet to turn over the video footage to the family at this point in time. Second, the investigators, who we can assume have seen the video footage in question, have not indicated that this is a suicide case and the investigation is still ongoing. Lastly, and probably most importantly for the family, several fellow cruisers have come forward on forums and other online websites and commented that they saw Kenneth have an argument with a crew member not long before he allegedly disappeared.

blaze allure of the seas.jpg

Blaze – Club where Kenneth Gemmell may have had an argument with a Royal crewmember

Those doubts are reinforced by new rumors that the said crewmember who entered into an argument with Kenneth, may have disembarked in Cozumel while the authorities were still searching for Kenneth’s body and never returned aboard the ship. Some cruisers brought even more troubling doubts when said crewmember may have been selling drugs to passengers that night.

Yesterday, in the face of the new information, that has yet to be substantiated, Royal denied that any crew members failed to report for sailing while in Cozumel.

If you have any additional information, you may reach the parents by email at Michael@ mhynes.com
Continue reading

Published on:

Earlier this week we reported on the death of a cruise passenger on the Allure of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean.

At the time, Royal Caribbean’s public relations was in full damage control mode, cooperating with the local authorities, providing investigators with captured footage of the ship’s closed-circuit surveillance cameras. The only conclusion one could reach after reading RCCL’s statement was that the 30-year-old cruise passenger had committed suicide by jumping over the railing of his cabin located on deck 11. The investigators in charge, looking at the same evidence, had not reached that same conclusion, and simply stated that the investigation was still ongoing.

Within the last 24 hours, more information has surfaced that may very well change how the young man came to disappear at sea.

Badges