Brilliance of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship carrying 2,100 vacationing passengers on a journey through the Mediterranean did a little more than cause some sea sickness. The ship, which encountered "severe movement" while approaching Alexandria, Egypt not only caused aesthetic damage to the interior and exterior of the ship but also injured dozens of passengers that were literally tossed around during the rough seas. Two passengers aboard the ship experienced broken bones.
A combination of extreme wind and sea conditions tested the sea worthiness of the Brilliance of the Seas, which passengers aboard the ship are describing as a "horrific experience." In addition to assuring the safety of the ship and continuing on the scheduled 12-day cruise, Royal Caribbean has given all passengers a full refund of their fares.
"Royal Caribbean understands that this has been a frightening experience for our guests and crew. Our offices and crew on board Brilliance of the Seas will make every effort to ensure that the remainder of the cruise is as enjoyable as possible," USA Today quotes a statement released by Royal Caribbean. More than just bumps and bruises, the injuries sustained on the ship may be the beginning of a bigger problem for the cruise line: lawsuits.
The possibility of a personal injury suit is not as straightforward as initially meets the eye. Although cruise passengers do not embark on a ship with the thought of a problem, the possibility for rough seas is somewhat inevitable and a risk that passengers assume both implicitly and explicitly in purchasing their tickets. Many cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, place limits in their contracts concerning when and where the company can be sued by injured cruise passengers. If it is found that the ship is not seaworthy or the crew was in some way negligent in their operation of the ship then a potential assumption of risk argument could get defeated.