Cruise Ship Law, Maritime Matter of the Week

Are Cruise Lines’ Futures No Longer As Bright As Their Past ?


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Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

Our cruise accident attorneys have reported on a slew of maritime mishaps that have occurred this year, which have been raising concerns for travelers across the country. While cruise injuries, illnesses and crimes are not unheard of, in just the first five months of the year, four passengers have already gone overboard, thousands have contracted life-threatening illnesses, dozens have been killed, and countless others have been robbed at gunpoint.

The Carnival Triumph fire in February, which led over 4,000 people to suffer five long days at sea without any power, working toilets and some of the most deplorable conditions ever reported on a ship, started the year off on a bad note for the cruise industry. Then, just weeks later, other Carnival vessels, the Dream, Elation, and Legend, all experienced mechanical problems that forced itineraries to be delayed or cancelled.

Although cruise travel is extremely popular both here in the U.S. and abroad, we can’t help wonder whether the industry has the same appeal it used to.

No one wants to feel unsafe while out at sea or in foreign ports, but the alarming number of cruise ship accidents that have transpired this year alone have brought to light a harsh reality: shipboard safety is being ignored.

Polls have shown Carnival’s popularity has dwindled following the Triumph fire accident and other subsequent incidents, but other cruise companies are also suffering as a result.

Our cruise accident attorneys reported back in March that cruise travelers are not as keen on sailing the high seas as they used to be. According to a Harris poll, America’s trust in the cruise industry has significantly dropped in the wake of the Triumph cruise ship fire. Faith in Carnival Cruise Line alone fell 17% after the fire, and because of this accident, the nation has also lost faith in competitor lines as well, including Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.

It seems as though the once “Fun Ship” liner is not so fun anymore.

Read more about the national poll on our blog post: Poll Shows America’s Trust in Cruise Industry Severely Declined Following Triumph Fire Accident

But just when we think we are going to finally be able to move on from the Triumph tragedy, another cruise accident occurs, and another, and another.  The cycle just won’t end.

So where does that leave the cruise industry?

Given the drop in cruise travel appeal, many companies have been suffering with a drop in the number of bookings to the point they’ve had to cancel itineraries. Because Caribbean travel is the most popular for the majority of cruise lines – and cheapest – many companies have cut back on their European itineraries to cover costs from decreasing revenue.

Just a few days ago, Carnival announced it was cancelling European itineraries for 2014 and earlier this month, Royal Caribbean said it would only be sending seven ships to Europe next year, two less than this year and four less than in 2012.

But even luxury cruise lines, whose revenues are derived mostly from European travel, have had to cut back on costs, cancelling itineraries due to weak demand. Regent Seven Seas, a Miami-based luxury liner, announced yesterday that it has cancelled roughly two dozen Mediterranean sailings scheduled for late 2014 and would replace them with sailings in the Americas, South Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Is this a sign that the future of cruise industry is going to be bleak?   

Maybe not quite yet, after all, it is a multibillion-dollar industry. However, if something isn’t done to drastically improve cruise ship safety to appeal to travelers soon, cruise lines may probably be looking at reduced revenues over the next several years.



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