In a relatively short period of time, cruising has gone from an activity reserved for the rich to one the caters mostly to the middle class. According to industry estimates, about 16 million people will take a cruise this year. While considered by most to be a safe form of travel, accidents aboard cruise ships of all sizes are not at all uncommon. What’s more, few passengers know much, if anything about cruise ship law. What exactly are their rights?
Generally speaking, cruise lines owe their passengers a duty of safe transport. Guests who are injured aboard a vessel can file suit against the owner of the ship, the company that operated it, the company that chartered the cruise, and even the company that sold the passenger the tickets for the cruise. With that said, there are countless cruise ship laws that may affect when and where the passenger is allowed to file suit. For example, if the ship set sail from Miami, passenger lawsuits must often be filed in Miami courts.
Duty of care
At the end of the day, the cruise ship owes its passengers a special duty of care that includes protection from physical harm, whether caused by negligence or the deliberate actions of the staff or crew.