Carnival Cruise Line Announces New Ship, But Will it Ever Focus on Cruise Ship Safety Improvements?

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Carnival cruiseSometimes in life, there is just no explaining someone’s actions. Try as we might, there’s just no telling why some people do the things they do, especially their behaviors after they are caught doing something wrong. Yet, as cruise ship lawyers, we are undaunted in our commitment to uncover the truth behind the industry’s actions and why, despite the multitude of accidents and crimes that have been reported, the industry continues to fail at investing in improved safety protocols.

Like a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar, cruise companies are always quick to deny their role in a cruise ship accident, injury or crime, even when there are solid facts implicating the line for their negligence or wrongful actions. Cruise companies are extremely quick at denying liability and turning over all investigative responsibility – and hope that justice will be served along with it – to the severely unprepared and often uncaring foreign governments where their ships are registered. This way, they hope they won’t have to worry about providing victims with any compensation, the world with any explanation as to why they failed to protect their guests, or have to worry about taking responsibility for its negligent actions.

But while this is common practice across all cruise lines, one company in particular tends to stand out for its above average accident and crime rate – Carnival Corp. Sure, it’s only natural that the world’s largest cruise company will have the highest rate of accidents, but it’s not so much the fact that accidents are occurring on Carnival ships, but how the company reacts to them. A perfect example is February’s highly publicized Triumph fire, which knocked out all power on the vessel and left over 3,500 people to suffer through what could possibly be the worst display of lack of sanitation ever reported on a cruise ship.

The fire was the result of a fuel leak in the Triumph’s engine room, which to this day, Carnival has yet to admit or reveal the true cause . But aside from that, the fact that thousands of people were left to suffer without working toilets, sufficient food, and among toxic waste and sewage that was overflowing from deck to deck for five whole days is just a prime example of how little the company is willing to do to help its guests.

Then, once victims were finally ashore, Carnival felt their suffering wasn’t all that bad and added insult to injury by offering Triumph passengers a mere refund, $500 and future cruise credit – which victims will most likely not use after their horrific experience.

For a multibillion-dollar cruise company, which is more like an empire than a regular business, one would think Carnival would work harder at compensating their guests and keeping them happy, and moreover, doing everything in its power to prevent a similar accident, but the company has done nothing of the sort. In fact, in the weeks right after the Triumph fire, three more Carnival ships experienced mechanical failure – the Dream, Legend and Elation – and Carnival continued to disregard the need to improve its safety featured on its vessels.

Carnival is not only making things worse for itself, but the accidents reported on its fleet are hurting other cruise lines as well. Polls have shown that the nation’s interest in cruise lines has declined drastically since the Triumph fire, and while the highest number of surveyors reported increasing distrust in Carnival, they also reported growing dissatisfaction with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

None of this is recent news, but what IS new is Carnival’s announcement that it is coming out with a new ship in 2016 named the Carnival Vista.

Funny how Carnival doesn’t have time – or money – to spend on improving shipboard safety features on its current vessels or better training crew members to protect guests from harm, but it has both the time and money to invest in a new ship and pick a name for it, even though it won’t be launched for another three years.

The Carnival Vista is rumored to be 135,000 tons, making it the largest in the Carnival fleet. But as our cruise ship lawyers well know, the larger the vessel, the greater the chance an accident will occur.

Hopefully the next three years will be spent with Carnival investing the world’s most high tech maritime safety features on the Vista, but sadly, it’s more likely the company will invest in entertainment venues and itineraries instead.

Will Carnival ever learn to prioritize the safety of its passengers above its own revenue? Hopefully. But until then, anyone considering a cruise on the “Fun Ship,” or any other cruise line for that matter, should exercise caution in order to reduce the risk of a serious injury or crime.  As we always say, don’t leave your common sense at the Port!