Passengers experienced horrific conditions when a Norwegian cruise ship sailed right into the recent
‘’bomb cyclone” storm. In this post, we’ll tell their stories and explain why they are thinking about suing.
The Breakaway Nightmare
On January 4, a bomb cyclone hit the Atlantic Ocean, where the Norwegian Breakaway was sailing from the Bahamas to New York. The bomb cyclone was one of the worst parts of winter storm Grayson, and it caused ocean swells of greater than 30 feet.
The National Weather Service issued warnings for the bomb cyclone on Dec. 31, but the Breakaway sailed according to schedule anyway. Some of the ship’s rooms were flooded, and many passengers experienced seasickness from the high waves. Because of this, a number of the ship’s 4,000 passengers are considering filing a lawsuit against the Norwegian Cruise Line for negligence.
One mother of a 20-year-old son with autism said the trauma he endured due to the storm is moving her to take legal action. She was not satisfied that the cruise line offered a written apology and a $500 future trip voucher.
Another passenger called the experience “the worst moment of my life,” and others went to Twitter during the storm to express their fears and frustrations.
The cruise line made an official statement upon returning to New York. Norwegian Cruise Lines stated that the ship ran into “stronger than forecasted conditions” but said “all guests and crew are safe.” They apologized for “any resulting discomfort” guests may have experienced due to the storm.
One cruise passenger said she believes the ship did not change course because the cruise line did not want to disrupt its schedule for a future cruise that was predicated on their timely return.
The Storm’s Track
Winter storm Grayson was predicted to impact the East Coast beginning on Jan. 3. New York and Philadelphia were placed under a winter weather warning at 1:00 a.m. on Jan. 4, and Boston was placed on a blizzard warning during that same period. The storm was attributed to the freezing Canadian air pushing southward.
The storm was sitting off the coasts of Florida and Georgia as of 4:00 p.m. on Jan. 3. It brought snow to Florida and snow and freezing rain to South Carolina in the highest amounts since 1989. The storm reached Baltimore and Washington D.C. after midnight on Jan. 4. By 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, the storm was located offshore from Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey, and delivered a foot of snow in some areas. As of 4:00 p.m. Thursday, the storm was located near Massachusetts, bringing two inches of snow per hour.
The storm’s track was right in the line of the cruise ship’s course. It’s debatable whether the ship could have avoided the bad weather, but some believe the cruise line knowingly proceeded through the storm and had no reason to be surprised by it.
A Cruise Line’s Duty
The bottom line here is that cruise lines have a duty to make decisions with the safety of their passengers in mind. Whether or not Norwegian did that is still up for debate, and it may end up being decided in a court of law.
If you have been harmed by a negligent cruise line decision, you need to reach out for help. It’s important to seek legal counsel today to learn what options are available to you. Set up a free initial consultation with our office and we’ll go over the details of your case.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented cruise victims who have suffered all kinds of injuries and illnesses due to negligence. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.