Overseas Health and Accident Insurance for Cruise Passengers

Two important things to think about whenever you travel overseas are (1) local laws and (2) insurance coverage.

Foreign laws are quite different than U.S. laws and anyone traveling abroad would be wise to study them, especially criminal laws. For example, with marijuana regulation lightening up in America, one might think that the rest of the world is going the same way.

That’s not entirely accurate.

For example, if you are going to Thailand, you may want to know that in Thailand, possession of category one drugs for the purpose of sale carries the death penalty!

People going on a cruise often think that the cruise company will have all bases covered should anything happen, like an illness, accident, or a minor legal issue. That, too would be an incorrect assumption. If you’re on board the ship and have a health issue, most ships have doctors and a medical facility. At a port-of-call you might be on your own.

On a recent B&O Cruise several passengers were injured while off-ship on the island of Vanuatu when their bus struck another vehicle. The report said “of the 12 tourists injured in the accident, 10 of them were seriously injured enough to warrant air ambulance evacuations to Brisbane. Several of the tourists involved in the crash suffered head injuries and multiple fractures.” Brisbane is 1200 miles from Vanuatu, which is quite disconcerting.

So, what can you do to make sure you are covered for any mishaps, accidents, or emergencies that might happen while far from home on a cruise? It might be a good idea to look into some quality insurance coverage.

There are three types of insurance related to international travel:

  • Travel Insurance insures your financial investment in your trip. Typically it covers such things as the cost of your lost baggage and cancelled flights, but it may or may not cover costs of medical attention you might need while abroad.
  • Travel Medical Insurance covers the cost of various levels of overseas medical treatment.
  • Medical Evacuation Services provides air ambulance, medical evacuation or medical escort service coverage for overseas travelers.

Before you buy new coverage, check your own insurance. Some policies will cover you abroad, some will not. The U.S. State Department has a link to a page on their website that offers a list of companies that will provide coverages. Blue Cross offers travel health insurance here.

As you can see, this is all a very complex area to understand. When someone is injured or is the victim of a crime while on a cruise away from the U.S. it’s always a complicated issue.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been dealing with victims of negligence by cruise line companies, foreign medical personnel, hotels, and other transportation providers for over 20 years. We are one of the most highly regarded firms in the area of maritime law and we deal with U.S. and foreign law enforcement as well as insurance companies to make sure our clients are protected. Please reach out to us by calling 954-356-0006 and ask to speak with Gary or Arleen Lazarus.

Cruise Ship Accidents Leave Many Without Recourse

“Moving Hotels” Can be Dangerous

Cruises are supposed to be fun, and they almost always are. But the illusion that many people experience once they step foot on a ship is that they can completely let their normal sense of caution fly out the porthole and let loose for 5-7 days. That’s not entirely accurate.

A Google search of cruise ship accidents will reveal on-board pool drownings, slips and falls, and recently there was a tragic case of a woman who slipped off the Queen Elizabeth and was crushed to death by a tender boat. That horrific incident occurred in Cambodia where the investigative capabilities of police and other authorities are suspect at best.

Another unfortunate passenger suffered a slip and fall which resulted in a head injury. After visiting and being examined by the ship’s medical staff she was pronounced to be fine, only to later slip into a coma and die.

Have fun but Keep Your Natural Sense of Caution

Americans planning to go on a cruise for their vacation should go on the cruise. They just need to understand that like our bodies, caution needs to be exercised.

USCG“The Week” editor Lauren Hansen wrote a column titled “7 Reasons to never ever ever vacation on a cruise ship” and she outlines 7 particularly ghastly (and rare) incidents which drove her to reach her personal decision to never go on a cruise. The incidents were: Adrift and Powerless – Pirates! – Run Aground and Capsized – Flu Outbreak – Going Missing – Crime – and Collisions.

These types of incidents almost never occur, but when they do happen on a cruise ship, people need to be aware they are likely to be in international waters or in a foreign country where the rules are different. The laws, customs, and your rights are not the same when you’re out of the boundaries of the United States of America.

Specialized Area of Law

Who knows what to do when bad things do happen on board a cruise ship? Attorneys who specialize in Maritime Law and Cruise Ship Liability.

For over 20 years the Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has dedicated a substantial segment of their Fort Lauderdale law practice to representing the victims of cruise line negligence and malpractice. South Florida is home to two of the busiest cruise-ship ports, the Port of Miami and Port Everglades.

If you or anyone you know has experienced an accident or was the victim of any injury while on board a cruise ship – or while on an excursion away from their ship, the best course of action is to seek advice from an expert.

Calling 954-356-0006 will connect you with the caring staff at Lazarus and Lazarus, who will hear your story and then connect you with Gary and Arleen Lazarus. All communications are completely confidential.

Excursions from Cruise Ships can be Hazardous to your Health

Passengers who travel on cruise ships may believe that they are covered under the cruise line’s liability insurance from the moment they step foot on the boat until the time they disembark. That may not be entirely accurate.

Recently there have been several very tragic incidents involving injuries and deaths to passengers during “excursions” away from the ship.

A woman from Minnesota was killed while traveling by bus on the island of Jamaica. The victim was returning from an excursion to swim with dolphins back to the Royal Caribbean ship she had booked for her vacation when the bus she was riding in crashed.

A young boy from Italy was also killed in a vehicle crash while on an excursion from the MSC ship Orchestra.

Cruise_Ship_AccidentAnother passenger, from the Carnival ship Glory died on an excursion while visiting St. Kitts. In this incident, witnesses said the passenger was swimming or diving and experienced distress. An ambulance took over 20 minutes to arrive and the medics were unable to revive the victim, according to witnesses. The excursion may have been booked through the cruise line, but it is not completely clear if that was the case.

Cruise Ship Accidents

People tend to make reasonable assumptions that when they book their trip with a cruise line and spend a very substantial amount of time on board the ship, the cruise line will look after their safety for the entirety of the trip. Sadly, this is not true.

Cruise lines balance safety and security with maximizing profits and cutting costs. A special report by CNN said “You can’t find a cheaper vacation than spending a week on one of these “fun ships.” But the vacation comes with a hidden price. The cruise lines are working their crew members for excessively long hours and paying them extremely low wages.”

Injuries and deaths that happen on cruise ships and on excursions away from cruise ships are far too commonplace to be tolerated, and the law is murky about who may be responsible if there is any negligence or malpractice involved. Some passengers may believe the U.S. government will protect them, but according to a special notice from the Federal Maritime Commission, “It is important to know that the Commission has no authority over: passenger line vessel operations, safety issues, amenities on board vessels, or fare levels.”

So, what is a passenger to do if he or she is injured on a ship or during an excursion away from a ship, but during a scheduled cruise? The same thing every American has the right to do under the 7th Amendment, which is to pursue justice through the court.

Specialized Attorneys

Because of the special and complex nature of laws as they pertain to vessels at sea, there are very few attorneys who understand and practice cruise ship accident and negligence law. The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been representing the victims of cruise ship accidents for over 20 years, and they are exceptionally qualified to consult on any related issue. Gary and Arleen Lazarus can be reached by calling 954-356-0006 – they will meet and discuss your concerns in complete confidence.