cruise-ship-at-seaAnchored at sea for days?  Run aground?  Debris, garbage, and waste from a cruise ship floating on the tides?

It seems the past few years have not been the smooth sailing promised by the cruise industry, as one vessel after another made the headlines.


And while it’s a handful for lawyers to sort out potential causes of action, travel damage restrictions, and travel document fine print, it may also be time to select an expert witness in the cruise industry.

Even vacation travel is regulated, and the fact that the defendant is a floating and not an in-ground hotel doesn’t change those standards.  Laws, regulations, and rulings may apply from the United States and other countries.  The cruise industry expert witness can help you understand the ship’s registry, her ports of call, and associated mechanics from inspections to required paperwork.

The cruise industry expert witness can also help you determine the standard of care reasonable for passenger expectations, whether aboard this ship in the line’s fleet or among competitors.  Particularly if the cruise industry expert has personal experience as a former staff member or a frequent traveler, the expert witness can bring these standards to light through vivid descriptions of events that shaped his experience and credentials.

Another aspect of cruising that can result in lawsuits is the off shore excursion.  Day trips on land while cruising are often sold to passengers while at sea.  The cruise industry expert can help you to understand the process through which these companies gain access to such a captive market of customers through cruise line applications, background checks, and monitoring.

And, still another consideration is the medical facilities aboard ship.  Here, again, the cruise expert witness can assist with rules and regulations, industry standards, and the process through which the medical team is hired and the facility is staffed and stocked.  The cruise expert witness can also help you work through questions of cruise line relationships with land-based medical facilities and at-sea emergency medical transport.

Another angle to consider relative to the cruise industry is lawsuits filed by governments and businesses for pollution and associated environmental damage.  The State of Alaska recently repealed a $50/per head tax per cruise ship passenger that had been enacted by popular referendum after studies revealed the extent of environmental stress caused by cruise ships, passengers, and waste.  Here, too, a cruiseline expert can offer analysis and testimony of a ship’s operating systems, maintenance, and compliance with environmental regulations.

As niche as this field may be for practicing attorneys, cruise industry expert witnesses can assist with every stage of that not-so-dreamy vacation.

By: Paloma A. Capanna, Attorney