Beware of Norovirus Before Your Next Cruise

Posted on Monday, December 16th, 2019 at 4:25 pm    

Cruises are a popular way to travel because they’re relatively stress-free. You can just sit back, sip on a daiquiri, and enjoy watching the endless hypnotic movement of the ocean’s tide from the ship’s deck.

Thirty million passengers are expected to travel by cruise in 2019, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, Inc. However, despite all of the fun that a cruise ship promises, there are some drawbacks.

Hundreds of passengers contracted the norovirus stomach flu while traveling on the Royal Caribbean International’s ship, Oasis of the Seas, in January 2019. And it’s not hard to imagine why so many people got sick.

Thousands of people are touching the same handrails, buffet utensils, bathroom door handles and elevator buttons. Once someone is infected with this hyper-contagious stomach flu, it’s easy to pass it on. People with the virus can shed billions of norovirus particles, and it only takes a few of those particles to infect another person.

The Oasis of the Seas’ contained quarters was the perfect recipe for the norovirus to spread rapidly, infecting 561 of 6,285 passengers and 31 of 2,169 crewmembers.

Known as the “cruise ship virus,” norovirus accounts for 90 percent of diarrheal outbreaks on cruise ships. It’s not only the close living quarters that breed this fast-spreading illness, but it’s also coming and going of passengers on and off the ship.

When passengers go ashore, they can become infected with the illness and bring it back to the cruise ship. In addition, the norovirus doesn’t leave the ship with the passengers. The norovirus can contaminate surfaces on the cruise ship and infect a new round of passengers.

The norovirus can persist on surfaces and is resistant to common disinfectants. So even after passengers leave, and crewmembers disinfect the ship, the virus can remain and infect the new oncoming passengers.

The Oasis of the Seas was set to embark on a journey to Mexico and then through the Caribbean Sea to Haiti and Jamaica. However, because of the rapid spread of the norovirus, passengers were not allowed off of the ship in Jamaica for fear of future infection.

The Oasis of the Seas returned to Port Canaveral, Florida a day earlier than scheduled because the norovirus was spreading so rapidly on the ship. Hundreds of vacations were ruined for those who contracted the norovirus and the remaining were cut short for those who didn’t contract the virus.

This was a real blow, especially financially, for those passengers who had planned and saved for months in advance for a tropical getaway.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) runs the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) to help curb the spread of the norovirus and other gastrointestinal illnesses. The VSP also performs unannounced operation sanitation inspections to make sure the ship is in tiptop shape.

The VSP inspects ships with more than 13 people and a foreign itinerary including ports in the United States in and provides a service for passengers to look at a cruise’s inspection score before booking a trip. The top score is 100, which is excellent. Any score below 85 is considered unsatisfactory.

Passengers can also investigate a cruise ship before booking travel to check for any recent outbreaks. The VSP requires cruise lines that are sailing from a foreign port to an American port to document if any outbreaks occurred on the ship within 24 hours before the ship docks at its port.

But remember, just because a ship has a good score doesn’t mean you won’t be infected with the norovirus illness. There have been reports of the norovirus on ships that had near-perfect scores.

Passengers should always take appropriate measures to keep from getting sick. First, passengers should wash their hands frequently, especially before and after eating. Passengers should try to keep their hands away from their mouths and should stay away from any food or water that could be contaminated.

If you notice someone is ill, you should leave the area and alert a crewmember. Passengers should stay in their room if an illness is reported and wait for the area to be sanitized. Yes, it takes away some of the fun of the cruise ship, but if you’re already on board, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Also, before you board a cruise ship, take the time to look at the cruise line’s medical accommodations. Cruise ships are required to have at least one medical professional available at all times. All ships that hold 250 or more passengers have overnight accommodations.

If the ship comes to an American port, then an examination room, an intensive care room, and lab processing equipment are also required. But there are some major drawbacks to being out at sea without an actual hospital nearby.

First, the cruise ship doctors are not usually specialists. So, if you should need special care, there’s a good likelihood that you won’t be able to receive it. Before you book a cruise, you should call your healthcare insurer to find out if you are covered for offshore medical issues.

Also, it might be smart to purchase travel insurance. If you become seriously ill, you may need an emergency medical evacuation, which can be very costly. Remember that you can purchase insurance from an independent company instead of the cruise line itself and possibly save some money.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. For Help If You’ve Experienced A Cruise Ship Accident

At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we were disappointed to find out about the hundreds of norovirus cases on the Oasis of the Seas. We believe that cruise lines should take all of the precautions necessary to prevent all types of illness while they are at sea.

Contact us today if you or someone you know contracted an illness while at sea on a cruise ship. You may be entitled to compensation for the physical, emotional, or financial losses you experienced while being on a cruise ship. Please contact us at (786) 375-0344 today for a free and confidential consultation. You also can reach out to us online.

Cruise ships’ spa services are getting more high-end

Posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2016 at 2:04 pm    

Cruise ship spa services have now modernized with ships like Bermudian, Florida-based shipping line Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.’s Breakaway ship’s Mandara Spa providing not only standard spa services like massages, manicures, and facials but also high-end and top-of-the-line cosmetic and/or medical procedures like teeth whitening, acupuncture, and injectables, like Botox and Restylane.

While a majority of spa patrons on cruise ships remain the elderly passengers looking for some pain relief, with services on the higher-end available, customers will use them to some degree. Doctors generally recommend that things like Botox be handled by dermatologists or other medical professionals as a reaction or bad treatment, which is more likely at the hands of spa workers with only five days of training, would need to be remedied as soon as possible. When far out to sea, this is often not possible and some side effects of Botox gone wrong include: “allergic reactions, vascular reactions, blindness, and low-grade chronic infections”.

Getting injured or contracting an illness while on a cruise can be dangerous, as victims may find themselves waiting for hours before they receive the needed medical attention. If you would like to sue for your personal injury accident on a cruise ship, call our attorneys at Louis A. Vucci P.A. by dialing (786) 375-0344.

Carnival passenger sues Carnival Cruise Line for slip and fall

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2016 at 5:48 pm    

Texas resident Norma Herrera filed a lawsuit on Monday, December 28 against Doral, Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, claiming that the negligence of the cruise staff directly caused her fall and the subsequent injuries she sustained on Dec. 29, 2013.

According to the legal complaint, Herrera was exiting a bathroom on the Carnival Magic, a Dream-class cruise ship, when she slipped on a puddle of water on the deck and fell to the floor. Herrera said the positioning of the dangerous water, plus the fact that the cruise ship’s crew should have been aware of the issue and taken the proper precautions, contributed to the fall that resulted in injuries to her head, ankle, leg, and shoulder.

If you have been injured aboard a cruise ship in an accident that could have and should have been avoided, contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. today to speak to a cruise ship injuries attorney about your legal options before moving forward. Call us at (786) 375-0344.

$21.5M verdict overturned in cruise ship injury case

Posted on Sunday, January 10th, 2016 at 1:35 pm    

On Tuesday, January 5, United States District Judge Barbara Rothstein overturned a $21.5 million verdict in favor of Springfield, Illinois resident James Hausman, who claimed he was injured during an around-the-world cruise aboard Seattle-based Holland America Line in 2011. Judge Rothstein reconsidered the settlement after Hausman’s former personal assistant, Amy Mizeur, told the court he intentionally deleted email exchanges that could have put his case in jeopardy.

Rothstein found Mizeur’s statement that Hausman deleted emails that should have been handed over to Holland America’s attorneys before the trial credible, noting that “as a witness, [Hausman] came across evasive and untrustworthy” and that he “also seemed to capitalize on his alleged brain injury when it was convenient for him.”

Rothstein added that Hausman “was confused or claimed memory loss when confronted with a question or exhibit that appeared to undermine his claims, and yet was animated or full of information when his testimony supported his case.”

If you have suffered an injury during what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation aboard a cruise ship, our legal team at Louis A. Vucci P.A., is prepared to help you pursue compensation for your suffering. To discuss your situation with our injury attorneys today, call (786) 375-0344.

Celebrity Cruises Tortola excursion ends in two deaths, sixteen injuries

Posted on Friday, December 18th, 2015 at 6:35 pm    

Two passengers of Miami, Florida-based Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit lost their lives while sixteen others sustained injuries, two of them critical, after the tour bus they were riding in crashed on Sunday, December 6 in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Reports noted that the excursion bus apparently lost control near Round Hill on the Cane Garden Bay Hill.

A statement quoting the Office of Premier of the British Virgin Islands Orlando Smith said that the Royal Virgin Islands police force, the Royal Island fire and rescue department, emergency medical responders, members of the British Virgin Island Tourist Board, and cruise ship personnel from the Celebrity Summit cruise line responded to the scene of the accident. The victims were transported to Peebles Hospital for treatment.

Celebrity Cruises said of the incident that “the bus was independently operated, and not part of any Celebrity-sponsored shore excursion…We will refer questions about the accident and its investigation to local authorities.”

Royal Caribbean ship returns to Bermuda due to injured passenger

Posted on Monday, September 14th, 2015 at 6:23 pm    

The 1,112-foot Liberty of the Seas, a Miami, Florida-based Royal Caribbean International vessel, was forced to return to port in Bermuda just hours after the ship left that same port when a 74-year-old passenger was injured.

According to the Department of Marine and Ports website, Meyer’s Agency got in touch with the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre to inform them that the Liberty of the Seas would be returning to Bermuda.

According to a spokesman, the ship had already travelled 60 miles south towards St. Maarten when the injured woman, who had hurt her hip, told cruise officials that she needed to be hospitalized for her injuries.

Cruise ship passengers run the risk of being involved in an emergency situation while onboard a cruise ship. Not only can passengers be injured, but they can be the unfortunate victim of an assault or attack. If you have been injured on a cruise ship accident or assault, get in touch with our attorneys at Louis A. Vucci P.A., by calling our offices today at (786) 375-0344.

Fire injures crew member on Freedom of the Seas cruise ship

Posted on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 at 9:16 pm    

As the Freedom of the Seas cruise liner was approaching one of its destination ports in Jamaica on Wednesday morning, a fire was reported to have broken out in the mechanical section of the ship. Though no passengers are reported to have been injured, one crew member sustained first-degree burns during the incident.

Once the fire was discovered, the fire was contained and extinguished with the fire suppression system on board the vessel. In what is being termed as “an abundance of caution,” the captain ordered the ship’s passengers to their designated emergency stations soon after the fire was discovered.

When the Freedom of the Seas returns to port in the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard will inspect the cruise liner. The ship is owned and operated out of Miami by Royal Caribbean International.

Wounded cruise ship passenger safely rescued

Posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 at 6:31 pm    

A 53-year-old man who was injured aboard the Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess was evacuated from the ship 9 miles off Galveston, Texas last Sunday, March 22.

The captain of the Emerald Princess contacted the Coast Guard at around 8:30 p.m. that day, informing them of a passenger that needed emergency medical attention to address a partially severed digit. The man, apparently, had a door closed on his thumb, almost completely detaching it.

Petty Officer Third Class Gerald Goss, a machinery technician who was aboard the emergency response boat, said they encountered no problems when transporting the victim and that the rescue “was a very smooth transfer.”

Cruise lines need to make especially sure that they take precautions to ensure that their passengers are safe due to the isolation of the ship. When cruise ship owners or staff fail to maintain the equipment or properly safeguard their stations, they put lives at risk. If you were injured on a cruise ship due to the negligence of others, do not hesitate to call our attorneys at The Vucci Law Group, P.A. by dialing (786) 375-0344 so we can provide you with legal help regarding your situation.

Injured Norwegian Cruise passenger taken to dock

Posted on Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 at 8:18 pm    

The New York Fire Department received an emergency call at around 4:40 p.m. on February 27 to transport a passenger from the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Jewel Class cruise ship, Norwegian Gem, WABC-TV New York reported.

According to a New York City official, the victim – a yet to be publicly identified elderly man – fell from the stairs on Deck 8 mid-ship.

The guest with a medical condition was brought back to the Staten Island dock, the base of Marine 9, where emergency medical personnel gave him first-aid treatment and then transported him to a local hospital for further medication.

The Caribbean-bound Norwegian Gem left at around 4 p.m. that day from the New York Harbor with around 2,400 guests on board for a 10-day cruise.

The legal team of the Louis A. Vucci P.A., offer assistance to cruise ship passengers who have been injured while on a cruise ship. Call our offices at (786) 375-0344 today to learn more about pursuing financial compensation from those responsible.

Cruise passengers contract norovirus onboard the Crown Princess

Posted on Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 6:27 pm    

Carnival Cruise Lines’ Crown Princess cruise ship landed in San Pedro after a weeks-long trip, holding 172 people who suffered from norovirus, the Washington Post reported on November 16.

This is the second time this year that people on that same ship were infected with the norovirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cruise ship was boarded by over 4,100 people, who were met by CDC staff when the ship docked .

Crown Princess spokeswoman Susan Lomax said the cruise ship went through a stringent disinfecting process after it docked.

If you are injured or fall in on a cruise ship, it is likely that you may not receive the medical care you need. If you believe you have suffered unduly due to cruise ship conditions, the attorneys at the Louis A. Vucci P.A., may help you pursue a claim against the responsible parties. Call our offices at (786) 375-0344 today to learn about your legal options.