ICV Condemns Cruise Industry’s Unlimited Drinking Policy

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

When accidents and injuries occur onboard a cruise vessel, travelers can turn to a cruise ship passenger lawyer to obtain assistance in filing a claim. Many of the accidents that occur while out at sea or in port take place because of someone’s negligence, including failure to properly secure dangerous equipment or failure to adequately provide medical care or seek emergency assistance. There are also times in which accidents onboard cruise vessels take place because the passenger has consumed too much alcohol. There are some lines that serve unlimited alcohol to passengers, which can lead to serious injuries and even death.

This is an issue that has long been debated in the maritime community, and is finally coming to a head. The International Cruise Victims Association, Inc. (ICV), a not-for-profit corporation that was formed by the victims and families of victims of cruise ship crime, has expressed its disdain for the alcohol policies among cruise lines and has pushed for the industry to make serious changes regarding the safety of those onboard.

However, cruise ship safety is not an issue that has been easily resolved. While ensuring those onboard any vessel are safe is a prime concern – or at least should be – for cruise line operators, companies aren’t too keen on changing. On Jan. 17, just a few days after the one year anniversary of the Jan. 13, 2012 Costa Concordia tragedy, Travel Weekly put out an article regarding Carnival Cruise Lines offering unlimited alcoholic drink packages to passengers.

This article, titled “Carnival Puts 15-drink Daily Cap on Alcohol Package,” stated the following:

“The package, which is now being offered on 13 Carnival ships, lets passengers pay for all beverages on a cruise in a single payment. A Carnival spokesman said the cruise line recently ‘formalized’ the limit on how many alcoholic drinks guests will be served within a 24-hour period running from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. the following day.”
The ICV has expressed strong disapproval of this action.

“…When cruise lines not only offer but actively promote unlimited drinks for one price, the issue of many inebriated people in a confined space adds exponentially to the likelihood of a crime occurring. Limiting passengers to 15 drinks a day is a joke,” said Kendall Carver, Chairman of ICV, adding that “…anyone having consumed that much alcohol would be so incapacitated that they would not know where to go in an emergency or how to man a life boat or which language to communicate in.”

“In addition, the cruise lines take the legal position that it is not their legal duty to investigate and determine whether or not a crime has been committed. In other words, they are promoting excessive drinking with no independent police and no legal duty to investigate crimes. Clearly, this means any unsuspecting and unaware passenger is at risk while on what should be a fun vacation,” Carver went on to say.
ICV is pushing for the cruise industry to take some action and improve the safety of those onboard by eliminating these alcohol packages.

It is important for all cruise ship passengers to know that a cruise line can be held responsible for the overservice of alcohol and the related incidents that the overservice causes. If you or someone you know or love was injured due, in any way, to the overservice of alcohol, give us a call to discuss your rights.

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