On Monday evening, January 28, at roughly 11PM, Princess Cay — a private resort owned by Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Corporation — was engulfed in flames that also affected much of the southern Bahamian island of Eleuthera, on which the resort is located. The source of the flame may have been the Princess Cays resort itself. According to media reports, an electrical generator may have set off the blaze and spread throughout the resort and island.
No injuries have been reported yet, though it is still early and the initial investigation into the incident may not be comprehensive. The risk of harm to passengers may have been minimized because Princess Cay is largely used as a “day resort” for cruisers traveling aboard Carnival Cruises and Princess Cruises ships. The 40-acre resort is not generally used as an overnight destination. As such, the number of tourists in-and-around the Princess Cay resort would have been limited.
Though we are pleased to hear that the damages are (as of now) limited to property loss, we are concerned about the harm that could have been caused to passengers if the fire had started earlier in the day. Had the resort gone up in flames while the tourist crowd was visiting the resort, Princess Cruises (and Carnival Cruises) would likely be facing a series of catastrophic injury lawsuits.
Shoreside Injuries Could Implicate the Cruise Line
Many cruise passengers hang their heads in resignation and decide against pursuing litigation when they are injured in a shoreside accident. They may not realize, however, that the cruise line could potentially be responsible for their injuries, at least in part.
In the present case, the Princess Cay resort is owned and operated by the cruise line itself. As such, injuries occurring on the premises (due to a fire, or otherwise) could give rise to an actionable claim against the parent company — but what about situations where there is no ownership link to the cruise line?
Cruise lines (such as Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Corporation) may be held liable for injuries caused to passengers while those passengers are shoreside, so long as the passenger can show that the cruise line failed to take adequate precautions to protect them from the suffered harm or somehow misrepresented the excursion or even misrepresented the cruise line’s affiliation with the tour excursion. The suffered harm must have been reasonably foreseeable given the circumstances, however.
Suppose that the fire occurred at a beach resort that was not directly operated by Princess Cruises. Instead, the day resort is owned by a third-party company that Princess Cruises recommends when it calls into port. If Princess Cruises was aware (or should have been aware) that the third-party day resort failed to implement proper fire protocol and had a consistent history of fire-related accidents, then they could be held partially responsible for any passenger injuries suffered in a fire on said beach resort.
We Can Help
If you’ve suffered injuries in a shoreside accident during a cruise vacation, then — depending on the circumstances — you might be entitled to sue the cruise line and various other defendants for damages. Shoreside injury claims can be rather challenging to litigate, in large part because establishing the causal linkage between the cruise line and the shoreside accident requires creative, thoughtful advocacy.
We can help.
Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our nationally-recognized attorneys have over a century of combined experience representing cruise ship passengers and their family members in a range of maritime injury litigation, including that which arises of out of a shoreside excursion (such as the private resort in the present case). Our longstanding commitment to comprehensive, personalized advocacy has helped us secure significant and favorable results for our clients over the years.
Contact Lipcon today for a consultation with an experienced maritime lawyer at our firm.