With all this talk about cruise ship accidents and crimes, our maritime lawyers are wondering if 2014 will be any different than the past two years, which have been filled with numerous disappearances, assaults, sexual crimes, and thefts. Though we usually hear about other passengers or crew members contributing to these incidents, it isn’t every day we hear about celebrities getting involved in fights on the high seas. That is, until now.
We’ve just found out that country singer Trace Adkins has checked into rehab after consuming alcohol and becoming involved in an altercation on a cruise ship. Adkins, 52, had been sober for 12 years, so we can’t help but wonder what exactly happened that caused him to fall off the wagon.
According to his representatives, Adkins was part of a seven-day Norwegian Cruise Line Country Cruising itinerary, and was scheduled to perform onboard the Norwegian Pearl while en route to Ocho Rios, Jamaica from Miami. Adkins was apparently drinking at one of the ship’s bars when he heard an Adkins impersonator singing karaoke to one of his songs and got into a fight with him.
We don’t know how badly the impersonator was injured, but what we do know is that Adkins left the ship before it even reached the island nation and has checked himself into an alcohol rehab facility.
The specialty cruise is still slated to continue on its planned itinerary with future stops in Grand Cayman and Mexico.
More details surrounding the altercation will likely come up during the week, but we have to wonder, how someone who has been sober for 12 years could have started drinking again. Well, if we really think about it, we’re not surprised.
Cruise ships are notorious for pushing alcohol on passengers. Lines derive a huge chunk of their revenue from alcohol sales, which means that there are going to be tons of bars onboard any given ship, drink making demonstrations, alcohol giveaways, and lots of options to become extremely intoxicated.
Unlike regular land-based bars that usually cut a patron off when they have clearly become too intoxicated, cruise ships don’t stop passengers from drinking. In fact, they will keep encouraging the alcohol consumption to the point that accidents and fights have occurred, including serious and life-threatening incidents.
Not only has alcohol been known to lead passengers to fall and hurt themselves, fall overboard, get into fights with others on the ship, and other completely preventable incidents. One of our firm’s own clients, fell from her balcony stateroom after the bartender on her Carnival Cruise kept pushing for her to drink so she could receive casino coupons.
The overserving of alcoholic beverages on cruise ships is a time-honored tradition and for passengers, who are trying to relax and have a good time, it may not mean much. But as maritime lawyers, we know the difference between enjoying a nice drink and being pushed to consume more alcohol than is necessary or safe.
What’s worse is the fact that alcohol-related accidents are not just limited to adults. Even young kids have died on cruise ships due to alcohol poisoning, including a 17-year-old boy who was sailing on the Carnival Miracle last year. We don’t know how the teen managed to obtain alcohol, but it wouldn’t be the first time a cruise ship bartender failed to check a passenger’s ID card before serving them drinks. Back in 1994, a 14-year-old teen died from alcohol poisoning onboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas as well. Yet, cruise lines continue to push for alcohol sales because it seems profit trumps safety each and every time.
It’s interesting to note that maritime law requires all cruise lines to provide a reasonably safe environment for those onboard. Safety extends to alcohol consumption, but despite this fact, the cruise ship party atmosphere must go on.
We wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Adkins also fell prey to this more-alcohol-more-fun cruising mentality. As an entertainer, Adkins has probably been around more alcohol in the past 12 years he’s been sober than on one cruise itinerary, but it was during the cruise that he fell off the wagon. What does that say about alcohol sales on ships? We wish Adkins the best and hope he recovers, but the fact still remains – alcohol consumption on cruise ships needs to be better monitored in order to prevent further accidents and tragedies at sea.