The cruise ship lawyers at our firm have seen some pretty bad accidents this year. Some involved serious injuries to passengers, while others resulted in devastating damage to the actual ships. Several of these incidents were the result of equipment issues that were potentially overlooked during inspections. Celebrity is just the latest of several cruise ships to be plagued with mechanical problems. From Carnival Cruise Line to Royal Caribbean, this year has seen some pretty severe cruise ship accidents, many of which were the result of negligence. But while these two cruise lines are the ones most often seen in the limelight, this time, it’s Celebrity that has been plagued with issues.
But are these issues just mere coincidence or are they result of a larger problem within the cruise line?
According to reports, the Celebrity Constellation has suffered issues with a gas turbine engine while in Key West this weekend. The ship spent the night in port and underwent repairs and left on Monday. Though the itinerary suffered some changes, lucky for passengers, they were able to get off and enjoy all the sights and sounds of the city, unlike the unlucky passengers of the Triumph, who were stuck onboard the disabled ship in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico for several days, without much to each and under extremely unsanitary conditions.
Fortunately, no one was injured and the equipment problems weren’t that serious, but this isn’t the first time this has happened. Earlier this year, another Celebrity cruise ship also suffered mechanical problems. The line was forced to cancel the remaining Alaskan itineraries on the Celebrity Millennium after the vessel suffered several propulsion problems. The ship itself had to undergo repairs and was put out of commission for weeks.
Again, no one was hurt with this particular incident, but that didn’t stop Celebrity from offering guests some perks for their inconvenience. Not only were passengers booked on Millennium cruises given a full refund, but they were also given a voucher toward a future cruise. The same goes for travelers who were booked on any Millennium itinerary that was canceled. Sounds like a pretty fair deal, counting that the cruise line did not have to offer any future credit. Celebrity’s actions are shocking since there are numerous instances when passengers do in fact suffer an accident or injury and aren’t even compensated for the cruise they went on, much less future cruise credit.
When the Triumph caught fire back in February, the line barely offered any compensation to passengers. After receiving several complaints, Carnival decided to offer guests a refund on their cruise, future cruise credit and a measly $500 in compensation. Aside from the $500, the compensation mimics that of Celebrity’s Millennium passengers, and they weren’t even forced to endure five days at sea having to use plastic bags for their bathroom necessities while sewage and waste overflowed from deck to deck.
But it’s no surprise that Celebrity, owned and operated by Royal, would offer passengers generous compensation for their troubles. Just a few months after the Triumph fire, a similar incident befell Royal’s Grandeur of the Seas ship. However, Royal’s reaction to the fire was completely different than the way Carnival did.
First, Royal made sure the disabled vessel reached the nearest port as quickly as possible and paid for hotel rooms for passengers whose rooms were affected by the fire. Then, all passengers were flown back home by the cruise line and offered ample compensation. Even Royal’s CEO, Adam Goldstein, flew out to the ship to personally address passengers and offer his apologies for their inconvenience.
Unfortunately, even the most well-equipped cruise ships can succumb to accidents. But it’s how the cruise lines react after the fact that makes a world of difference. Celebrity and Royal have tried to accommodate passengers and have taken the time and trouble to compensate their loyal guests adequately. Carnival, despite being the largest cruise line in the world and which has flaunted the nickname “Fun Ship,” doesn’t seem to be so fun anymore.
The Costa Concordia, another ship under the Carnival Corp. fleet, whose January, 2012 capsizing accident shocked the whole world, brought to light just how much cruise lines lack safety regulations. Carnival just can’t seem to get out of the spotlight, and not in a good way.
While cruise lines have a responsibility to protect everyone onboard a ship, they also have a responsibility to make sure victims of cruise ship accidents are taken care of, whether the incident resulted in injuries or not. Royal has appeared to be much more complacent with its passengers than Carnival in the past.
Will Carnival ever follow suit? Here’s to hoping they do. But in the meantime, we shouldn’t hold our breaths.