Celebrity Cruises sued by passenger who got coronavirus


The Hill

A couple filed a lawsuit against Celebrity Cruises alleging negligence after one of them contracted coronavirus and was hospitalized.

Fred and Marlene Kantrow of Long Island, N.Y., sued the cruise line after Fred Kantrow was sickened with coronavirus days after leaving the Celebrity Eclipse. The couple said the cruise line “negligently exposed” them and “thousands of passengers aboard the Eclipse to COVID-19.”

The lawsuit alleges Celebrity Cruises knew that someone with symptoms “consistent with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis” at the beginning of the voyage that started Feb. 29. But the couple said the cruise line continued with a “full schedule of entertainment activities and dining options,” including buffets.

The Kantrows argue in the suit that the cruise line’s “egregious failure to protect its passengers” has caused at least 45 passengers and crew to test positive and at least two deaths associated with coronavirus.

“There are likely significantly more positive COVID-19 cases and/or deaths related to the subject cruise given that there was limited and/or non-existent testing performed aboard the vessel and immediately thereafter when passengers disembarked the vessel without proper screening before returning to their home states/countries,” the Kantrows’s attorney Michael Winkleman said in a statement.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a no-sail order during their trip, but the couple said they didn’t know anything was wrong until the next day when the ship started heading to San Diego after it could not dock in Chile.

The lawsuit says shipboard management personnel held a gathering of passengers and crew to celebrate the health care workers fighting the pandemic. The cruise line also ran a “Mexican Fiesta” in a crowded buffet on the second-to-last day on the ship, the Kantrows said, according to ABC News.

Fred Kantrow began running a fever that “just didn’t feel right” one or two days after disembarking the ship on March 30, a month after boarding, ABC News reported.

At the time the Eclipse was boarded, Celebrity Cruises had banned those who traveled in China, Hong Kong or Macau in the past 15 days from boarding. Those with passports issued by those countries had to face “extra screenings.”

Employees of the cruise line filed a lawsuit against Celebrity Cruises last month, alleging it did not adequately protect workers from the coronavirus. In response to that suit, the cruise line said it “does not comment on pending litigation,” ABC News reported.

Celebrity Cruises did not immediately return a request for comment.

The CDC reported in late March that coronavirus outbreaks on three cruise ships caused more than 800 confirmed cases in the U.S. among passengers and crew and 10 deaths. The agency has said its no-sail order would last at least until late July.