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What Does Virginia Tech Student’s Death Mean for Cruise Safety?

On March 7th, 2015, Cameron Smook, a senior at Virginia Tech, lost his life after falling overboard on a Carnival cruise ship. The incident occurred just one day after Smook and his friends boarded the cruise ship, turning what should have been a relaxing vacation into a nightmare.

Naturally, this tragedy has elicited an outpouring of condolences and support for the family. But it has also sparked something else—outright rage. Some people, including United States Senator Richard Blumenthal, have been arguing that Smook’s death was entirely avoidable and that Carnival should be “ashamed and embarrassed” that it allowed this tragedy to happen. And they’re not wrong.

Embracing Cruise Ship Technology

As Sen. Blumenthal pointed out, there is current technology available that is able to detect when a passenger falls overboard on a ship. These “man overboard systems” range from water-activated units (e.g.,

10 Dangerous Mistakes Made By Cruise Passengers

Soothed by the gentle crash of the ocean, the warm rays of the sun, and the promise of a tropical destination, its easy for passengers on a cruise to forget their worries. While you certainly should feel relaxed and carefree on vacation, it’s important to always remain aware of the many hazards and risks that accompany cruise vacations. All too often, passengers who have let their guard down during their cruise vacation have experienced serious injury, illness, and accidents.

Avoiding these mistakes could mean the difference between an enjoying a relaxing vacation or suffering a health emergency.

1. Excessive partying. On cruises, passengers are prone to excess. They drink more than normal, eat more than normal, and engage in more active activities such as dancing and shore excursions. For passengers with existing heart conditions, this sudden level of excess can result in heart attack

Comparing Cruise Ship and Airplane Travel

Oftentimes, planning for a vacation can be nearly as fun as the vacation itself. The possibilities are numerous—you can choose from a seemingly infinite number of domestic and foreign locations, book an accommodation in one of millions of hotels, resorts, and inns, and design an itinerary that accommodates your family’s unique tastes. You can plan a vacation that accommodates any budget, and research destination restaurants that can satisfy the most adventurous (or timid) of palates.

But when it comes to overseas travel, your options for mode of transportation are decidedly more limited. Today, Americans traveling to other continents typically must choose between two major transportation methods—traveling via plane, or traveling via cruise ship. To help you determine the best option for your vacation, we’ve prepared a comparison of both airplane and cruise ship travel elements.

Cost. You typically pay much less upfront for airfare

What Your Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer Can Do For You

Going through any type of accident can be a traumatic experience, but suffering injury on a cruise ship may be particularly devastating.

When you or a loved one is injured on a cruise, your vacation comes to a screeching halt, and you suddenly find yourself far from the comforts of home and reliable medical care facilities.

On top of this, you may find it frustratingly challenging to hold cruise lines accountable for your injury, even if it seems obvious that staff member negligence or unsafe cruise ship conditions were entirely to blame. This is largely because personal injury claims against cruise ships may be subject to maritime or admiralty laws in addition to Florida and federal laws. Maritime laws can be quite complex, and personal injury claims that fall under this unique area of the law need to be handled differently from traditional claims.

What Types of Claims Fall Under Maritime Law?

Many people are often surprised to learn that injuries, crimes, and wrongful deaths that occur on cruise ships are not governed by the traditional laws of the US legal system. Instead, they are governed by a unique area of the law known as maritime law.

Maritime law—otherwise known as admiralty law—is a body of laws, conventions, and treaties governing international private businesses and matters that involve ships and crimes that occur on the open water.

Maritime and admiralty law is a highly specialized area of the law, and personal injury cases that fall under maritime law can be particularly complex. Because of this, the vast majority of personal injury claims must be handled by qualified maritime attorneys experienced with the ins and outs of this unique area of the law.

How do you know if your personal injury case falls under maritime law? Typically,

Cruises to Cuba May Soon Be Legal, but Will They Be Safe?

While Cuba lays a mere 90 miles off the Florida coastline, it remains a mysterious far-off land for the majority of the state’s residents.  Travel to Cuba has been restricted since the US issued a trade embargo generations ago, making it nearly impossible for the average American to visit this island. For many travelers, vacationers, and cruise-goers, these travel restrictions came as somewhat of a disappointment as they barred access to an experience promising pristine beaches, vibrant cities, and colorful culture.

 

That all might be about to change.

 

This December, President Obama announced government plans to normalize relations with Cuba. If congress agrees to lift the trade embargo, this could remove the travel restrictions preventing Americans from visiting the island.

 

 25 percent of which would travel by cruise.

 

What this Means for the Cruise Industry

 

The cruise industry was

Ruling Holds Cruises Accountable for Medical Malpractice

For far too long, cruise lines have been able to dodge their medical responsibilities. With all the technicalities surrounding maritime law and the different legal systems that cruise ships operate under, cruises have been shielded from certain medical obligations that would apply to any typical American vacation facility. Now, things are finally changing.

 

Unfortunately, it took the tragic death of a cruise passenger for these changes to come about. According to the Huffington Post, the passenger reportedly fell onboard a Royal Caribbean ship while it was docked. While receiving care in the ship’s medical facilities, he fell into a coma and later died as a result of negligent care. The victim’s daughter brought the matter to court, and after one court initially dismissed the lawsuit, an appellate court determined to hold the cruise line “vicariously liable” for the death.

 

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