Hurricane season is now officially half the year — from the beginning of June through the end of November. Of course, hurricanes can and do occur outside of this period. Therefore, if you want to make your next vacation a cruise, it may be hard to schedule one at a time when running into a hurricane or severe storm isn’t a possibility — particularly if you have kids and need to sail during the summer.
If you’re scheduled on one of the many cruises that leave from Florida ports and travel into the Caribbean, it may set sail even if a hurricane or other storm is on the horizon. The ship may be rerouted or the trip may be cut short, however.
In some cases, the cruise line determines that it’s safer to stay at sea than return to a port that is being hit hard by a storm. For example, when Hurricane Harvey hit Galveston, Texas, last year, that city’s port was closed for a few days.
Generally, cruise lines don’t reimburse customers if they decide not to go on a cruise they’ve paid for because a storm is brewing in the area. If you purchased good travel insurance, though, you may get some of your money back.
Often, cruise ships can outrun hurricanes. However, that can cause a very bumpy ride. Head injuries and slip-and-fall injuries are already among those most common on cruise ships. High speeds and/or bad weather can increase the risk of suffering a serious fall or being struck in the head by blowing debris (or deck chairs).
While no one wants to consider the possibility of injury while they’re packing for their cruise, it’s important to know what to do (and not do) if it happens. First, of course, seek medical treatment. However, don’t give the officers on the ship a statement (recorded or written) about your injury. Admitting that you’ve had a cocktail at lunch or weren’t wearing the appropriate shoes can hurt your chances of holding the cruise line liable for unsafe conditions they could and should have prevented.
Once you’re back on land, it’s wise to consult Florida attorney John W. Merting who’s experienced in helping people with cruise ship injury claims. This is a unique type of claim, and it’s essential to know your rights and the time limits for taking legal action.