Setting out on a cruise vacation is, for many, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After all, with cruises becoming increasingly expensive and luxurious, many individuals find themselves saving up for an experience that will be well worth the wait. We understand. As a maritime law firm, we have our finger on the pulse of the booming cruise industry, and work with clients who set out on the open seas for a variety of reasons.
For most, there is nothing more exciting than having a few days to sit back and relax with friends and family, exploring all that the cruise and shore excursions have to offer. Unfortunately, not all cruise vacations are smooth sailing. And, as a recent story reveals, sometimes they end in the most unexpected of ways.
According to reports, one couple’s argument aboard a cruise resulted in hypothermia. Mr. and Mrs. Brown, an elderly British couple aboard Marco Polo– a Cruise & Maritime Voyages ship– apparently got into an argument while their ship was docked along the coast of Madeira, Spain. Mrs. Brown left the cruise ship after the argument, but returned later to the port, believing that her husband was still aboard.
Upon discovering that the ship had already departed without her, the 65-year-old woman jumped into the ocean and swam for hours, attempting to catch up with the ship. Eventually, she was found by a fisherman. She was already suffering from hypothermia.
The cruise company arranged a flight home for the couple, reportedly for “personal reasons.” However, as it turns out, Mr. Brown had already booked his flight and departed.
This Dangerous Situation Could Have Been Avoided
In the wake of this event, we are glad to know that Mrs. Brown was discovered and brought to safety. However, we feel it is important to remind cruise passengers and crewmembers alike that swimming after a cruise ship is never the safest option. After all, despite the fact that cruise ships appear to move slowly, they travel at roughly 20-24 knots per hour. This translates to around 23-27 miles per hour–about four times faster than the best Olympic swimmers.
If you believe that you have been left behind by your cruise, we recommend staying on dry land, where you can likely call the cruise company and explain the situation. Choosing to swim in the ocean will not bring you to your cruise any faster, and will, ultimately, only place you in greater danger. In this case, Mrs. Brown was rescued by a fisherman. However, if you are stranded in the middle of the ocean and become exhausted, it will be much more difficult to find help.
That said, we cannot help but to wonder if the cruise company was aware of Mrs. Brown’s departure? Every company endeavors to bring its passengers back home safe and sound. Yet, if they departed the port without Mrs. Brown, then it seems that some extra passenger checks could have been in place. Had the cruise known of her absence, then they may have been able to delay departure until she returned, or, at the very least, left information on how she may have been able to catch up with the cruise at a later point. These steps could have prevented her swimming in the ocean, and resulted in a much safer situation for all.
At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, we have the maritime lawyer you need to face your accident or injury case. If you have suffered at the hands of your cruise line or another individual aboard your ship, you should know that you do not have to handle this on your own. We are ready to help you, each step of the way, so that you can put the past behind you and move forward with your life.
Are you ready to take the next step towards your future? When you are, do not hesitate to contact us.