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Viral Outbreak on Cruise Ship Harbored in Florida Forces Delay of New Cruise

As a Pembroke Pines cruise ship accident lawyer, I was interested to see a report of a disruption on a cruise ship caused by a communicable virus. As WTSP in Tampa reported Jan. 9, the Radiance of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise liner, suffered an outbreak of norovirus during a five-day cruise to Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico. Norovirus is a gastrointestinal illness causing vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. The report didn’t say how many people on the ship fell ill, but one passenger estimated that it was “hundreds” out of a total capacity of 2,500 passengers. The ship was held in Tampa for an extra five hours for an extra thorough cleaning, the report said, and Royal Caribbean asked passengers to consider rescheduling if they hadn’t been feeling well.

Norovirus is actually a group of viruses that are the most common cause of gastroenteritis — more commonly known as stomach flu. It is highly contagious and notorious for causing outbreaks in semi-closed institutions like college dorms or nursing homes. According to passengers interviewed by WTSP, the viral outbreak had passengers throwing up in bathrooms throughout the ship. One passenger said she was “out of it” for three of her five days on board. Royal Caribbean took precautions, some passengers said, such as offering free medical care, sanitizing surfaces and taking away potentially infectious objects like menus and salt shakers. But other passengers said the company was not responsive enough to passengers whose vacations were disrupted.

I hope Royal Caribbean did everything it could to control the outbreak, because as a Fort Lauderdale cruise ship accident attorney, I know how nasty norovirus can be. Because norovirus is highly infectious, it’s essential for potential outbreak centers — such as cruise ships — to take aggressive steps to stop the spread. That means staff members must (and passengers should be encouraged to) wash their hands thoroughly after the bathroom, before preparing food and any other time they have infectious potential. Areas of the ship, clothes and linens that were infected (for example, by a vomiting episode) should be cleaned and disinfected as soon as possible. Failure to do this falls short of the best medical practices for stopping an outbreak and could expose Royal Caribbean to a cruise ship lawsuit.

Based in Broward County, Cohn, Smith & Cohn represents people throughout the United States who were hurt on a Florida-based cruise ship. Our Weston cruise ship accident lawyers handle claims for failure to control disease as well as claims for serious accidents or violent crimes that take place on board ship. Cruise ship claims can be difficult because it’s not always clear whether the law of Florida or another jurisdiction applies to the ship. To make matters worse, some companies have passengers sign away their legal rights with elaborate contracts they don’t fully understand. We have substantial experience helping injured people protect themselves from corporate overreaching and win compensation they need to pay medical bills and fully compensate them for their injuries.

If you were hurt on a cruise ship and you believe the cruise company was negligent, you should call Cohn, Smith & Cohn as soon as possible. To set up a free consultation, send us an email or call (954) 431-8100 today.

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