If you have visited the beach near Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a Sunday afternoon-evening, you have probably noticed the steady stream of cruise ships as they parade out to sea. One-after-another they go, destined for cruise journeys ranging from a few nights to a few weeks.
There are More Ships and Passengers Sailing from South Florida than Anywhere Else on Earth
When you consider the amount of food, liquor, and other supplies on board each ship it is staggering to imagine what a boom it is for the local economy. The Sun-Sentinel recently reported that a single day record for passengers leaving and arriving at Port Everglades in one day was set on December 20, 2015: 53,485!
South Florida is part of the Caribbean/Bahamas region, and you can see that no other area comes close in terms of market share:
- Caribbean/Bahamas 3%
- Mediterranean 9%
- Europe w/o Med 8%
- Asia 6%
- Australia/New Zealand/S. Pac 1%
- Alaska 4%
- South America 4%
- Other Programs 5%
Going on a cruise is usually a wonderful experience, with more sun, fun, and food than most people could ever hope to experience on dry land. But there are issues regarding safety and liability which must be known about before setting out into international waters.
I recall a friend telling me that when he enlisted the U.S. Navy he was informed immediately after being sworn in “You are now under the authority of the Uniform Code of Military Justice” and my friend said he was a bit concerned because he felt he had waived his rights under the U.S. Constitution and was now “doomed!” In a way, he had waived those rights.
Similarly, any traveler who embarks on a cruise ship is playing under a new set of rules. Maritime Law is not like U.S. Law, and incidents occurring on board a vessel at sea are not covered by the same rights and privileges a U.S. citizen can count on here at home.
For example, if an accident occurs as a result of negligence by a cruise line company or an employee of a cruise line it will not be easy to document and pursue compensation for injuries including medical expenses, pain and suffering.
Some of the calamities discussed in a New York Times article about cruise ship on-board events include: adrift at sea, running aground, fires, viruses, overflowing toilets, and finally, sinking. Not exactly sun and fun stuff.
Cruise ships operate under the stress of what’s known as a rigid financial bottom line. They must transport as many passengers as possible in a very competitive market, keeping the fares low and the quality as high as they can. Sometimes corners are cut, and passengers suffer the consequences.
Only a handful of attorneys have dedicated their practice to include the complex area of Maritime Law, and in Fort Lauderdale one such firm is Lazarus and Lazarus. For over 20 years Gary and Arleen Lazarus have represented passengers who suffered losses and/or injuries due to the negligence of cruise ship companies. You may reach the firm by calling 954-356-0006 and asking for a free initial consultation. All information exchanged with the Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus is completely confidential.