Can Holland America Cruise Ship Passengers Stranded in Quebec City Benefit from Contacting a Maritime Attorney?

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Propeller malfunctionsA maritime attorney can help with a wide range of cases. Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we’ve helped the victims of several types of accidents and injuries, both onboard a ship and ashore. We often get asked whether or not a particular victim has a viable case, which we determine through thorough evaluation of each individual incident. Many victims who were skeptical will be surprised to learn about their rights as cruise passengers and that they can, in fact file a case.

Because every case is unique, we cannot stress how important it is for a victim of a cruise ship accident or injury to consult with an experienced maritime attorney to review their situation. Many times, we’ve been able to acquire compensation for victims who didn’t even think they had a claim.

Which brings us to our next point: the victims of the MS Veendam mechanical mishap. Over 1,300 Veendam cruise passengers were left stranded in Quebec City after the vessel experienced mechanical problems that left it immobilized. The Veendam, a Holland America ship, was scheduled to sail to from Quebec City to Boston last Sunday on a seven-day itinerary, but the sailing was canceled after one of the ship’s propellers malfunctioned and required reparation.

Several passengers took it upon themselves to leave the ship on their own, and as of Wednesday, a Holland America spokesperson reported all guests had left the vessel.

Stranded guests? We can’t help but think of the Carnival Triumph when we hear those words. The Triumph made headlines – and continues to make headlines – after a fire broke out in the engine room, causing the ship to lose power and become stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. Over 3,000 passengers were on board the ship, and while missing all scheduled ports is bad enough, the worst part about the ordeal was that the vessel barely had any rations to provide for passengers and all toilets stopped working. Additionally, sewage and waste began to spill from deck to deck, creating a breeding grounds for potentially life-threatening disease.

But while the Triumph case is indeed a special one, we would have thought cruise lines (especially Holland America, since it’s a Carnival Corp. subsidiary), would have put a little more effort into inspecting ships for equipment issues and malfunctions BEFORE a vessel gets stranded. Suppose we thought wrong.

At least the Veendam passengers didn’t get stranded in the middle of the ocean. And, at least Holland America has already proposed compensation for victims.

According to the cruise company, all guests who were booked on the cancelled Veendam sailing will receive a full refund of their cruise fare as well as a refund for any shore excursions that were booked through the company. But that’s not all; victims will also receive a credit toward a future cruise.

Honestly, that’s not bad. But what about the passengers who had to spend money out of their own pocket to get back home? Is Holland America going to reimburse them? Should they consult with a maritime attorney to determine whether or not they have a chance to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket costs that were the result of the cruise ship’s propeller problem?

We can only imagine how much money some of these folks must have spent to get back home. Victims may be able to recover compensation for out-of-pocket expenses. Each victim has a right to speak with a maritime attorney to determine their options. Though Holland America did provide guests on the ship with some sort of compensation, there is no monetary compensation involved, and with flight prices these days, victims may have a good chance of recovering the money they spent due to the cruise line’s inability to 1) prevent the propeller issue and 2) arrange for the victims to head home – free of charge.