July 25, 2006

Princess Cruise Passage Contract

Crown Princess passengers must be keenly aware of the passenger contract they agreed to when they purchased their tickets. Many attorneys who do not practice in this area of law can miss important dates for providing notice, filing a lawsuit, damage limitations on compensation for injuries, choice of venue clauses, limitations on damages for property damage and mental distress and similar issues.  Read your ticket carefully and contact the Traverse Legal law firm for a free consultation with an admiralty and maritime attorney. It is critical that you know and understand your legal rights so you can make informed decisions. 

Here is a link to the Passage Contract listed on the Princess Cruises website. This passage contract may be the one that controls your rights in the Crown Princess maritime accident.  Reviewing this passenger contract will give you some idea of the limitations which likely exist if you were injured in the Crown Princes accident and are exploring your legal rights. 

Here is a key damage limitation provision as well which may (or may not) apply to those injured in the Crown Princess accident:

17. NOTICE OF CLAIMS AND SUITS; TIME LIMITATION; VENUE.
Notwithstanding any provision of applicable law to the contrary, in cases involving claims for emotional or bodily injury, illness to or death of any Passenger, no lawsuit may be brought against Carrier unless (a) written notice giving full particulars of the claim is delivered to Carrier within 6 months, (b) a lawsuit on such a claim is filed within 1 year from the date of the emotional or bodily injury, illness or death, whichever comes first, and (c) valid service of the lawsuit is made within 90 days of filing the complaint. In all other cases, no lawsuit may be brought against Carrier unless (a) written notice giving full particulars of the claim is delivered to the Carrier within 15 days of termination of the Cruise, (b) the lawsuit on such claim is filed within 6 months from the date the Cruise terminated and (c) valid service of the lawsuit is made within 90 days of filing the complaint. All disputes and matters whatsoever arising out of or relating to Your Cruise, including for personal injury, illness or death, shall be litigated by You individually, and not as a member of any class. If you choose to sue Princess Cruises Lines, Ltd., then such claim must be litigated by You before a court located in the County of Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., to the exclusion of the courts of any other country, state, city or county. You hereby waive any venue or other objection that may be available to any such action or proceeding being brought in any court located in Los Angeles, California. The limitations set forth in this Section 17 shall also apply to and be for the benefit of any agents, independent contractors, concessionaires and suppliers of Carrier.

PRINCESS CRUISE LINES, LTD.
As Operator and Agent for Operator
Revised 01/05

Given the new reports that a junior crew member panicked and caused the severe list in this accident on board the Crown Princess, there is no question that those injured are entitled to  compensation for their injuries.  Negligence is clear.  Given the large number of similar situations on other cruise ships caused by human error, one has to wonder what the Cruise industry is doing to correct these repeated and common incidents.  Passengers could have been killed.  Many were injured, some seriously.  It is time to make serious changes in protocol on the bridge, increase crew training but systems in place which will reduce the risk of catastrophe in the future.

Here are some more links:

COMMENTS

My wife and I arrived in San Francisco on September 8th after a wonderful cruise to Alaska. When we arrived at home, we found that the outside zippers on one piece of luggage had been opened and cleaned out. We checked our belongings and found that the only thing that appeared to be missing was a large bag of hand warmers that my wife packed for the cruise. We ended up not useing them but was very upset that they were gone. I am not requesting that they be replaced, however, I feel that Princess should be notified that someone from the ship is going through the passengers luggage and who knows what else is missing from other passengers luggage. My booking number was HP2MMQ and departure date was August 29th.

We did want to alert you to an important time limitation which Princess Cruises will no doubt argue applies to non-injury claims (reimbursement for travel, lost/damaged luggage, lost/damaged personal property / other damages). For people who have suffered physical injury claims and for those who have not, there may be a provision in your passage contract which states that all travel reimbursement, property loss and other non-injury damages against Princess Cruises may not be pursued unless:

“written notice giving full particulars of the claim is delivered to the carrier within fifteen days of the termination of the cruise and a law suit is filed within 6 months from the date the cruise terminated and that valid service be made on Princess Cruises within 90 days of the filing of the complaint.

Here is a passage contract link from the Crown Princess web site.

Princess Cruises may argue that the cruise terminated on July 18, 2006, which is the day it returned to port. In that case, “written notice” of non-injury damages may be required by Wednesday August 2. It is unclear what is required by the language “full particulars.” The more detail the better.

It is unclear what impact Princess Cruises promises to reimburse certain items will have on this provision.

We are helping our clients meet the notice and documentation requirements for property loss and other reimbursements unrelated to personal injury under the provision noted above. If you intend to retain Traverse Legal, we would encourage you to do so forthwith. If you are still uncertain as to how you will proceed, you should provide notice on your own behalf forthwith. Here are two forms which may apply to your situation (we can not guarantee this is the proper form although it does appear to apply. You should do your own research as well).

http://www.princess.com/pdf/customer_care/missing_damaged_form.pdf

http://www.princess.com/customer_care/lostdamagedluggage.html

http://www.princess.com/

http://www.princess.com/legal/passage.html

TITLE 46. APPENDIX. SHIPPING
CHAPTER 8. LIMITATION OF VESSEL OWNER'S LIABILITY
46 USCS Appx § 183c

§ 183c. Stipulations limiting liability for negligence invalid

(a) It shall be unlawful for the manager, agent, master, or owner of any vessel transporting passengers between ports of the United States or between any such port and a foreign port to insert in any rule, regulation, contract, or agreement any provision or limitation (1) purporting, in the event of loss of life or bodily injury arising from the negligence or fault of such owner or his servants, to relieve such owner, master, or agent from liability, or from liability beyond any stipulated amount, for such loss or injury, or (2) purporting in such event to lessen, weaken, or avoid the right of any claimant to a trial by court of competent jurisdiction on the question of liability for such loss or injury, or the measure of damages therefor. All such provisions or limitations contained in any such rule, regulation, contract, or agreement are hereby declared to be against public policy and shall be null and void and of no effect.

(b) (1) Subsection (a) shall not prohibit provisions or limitations in contracts, agreements, or ticket conditions of carriage with passengers which relieve a crewmember, manager, agent, master, owner, or operator of a vessel from liability for infliction of emotional distress, mental suffering, or psychological injury so long as such provisions or limitations do not limit such liability if the emotional distress, mental suffering, or psychological injury was--
(A) the result of physical injury to the claimant caused by the negligence or fault of a crewmember or the manager, agent, master, owner, or operator;
(B) the result of the claimant having been at actual risk of physical injury, and such risk was caused by the negligence or fault of a crewmember or the manager, agent, master, owner, or operator; or
(C) intentionally inflicted by a crewmember or the manager, agent, master, owner, or operator.
(2) Nothing in this subsection is intended to limit the liability of a crewmember or the manager, agent, master, owner, or operator of a vessel in a case involving sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape.

The British-American corporation, Carnival Corporation & PLC is the world's largest cruise operator, comprising 12 cruise brands, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Windstar Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line in North America; P&O Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village Holidays and Swan Hellenic in the United Kingdom; AIDA and A'ROSA in Germany; Costa Cruises in Southern Europe and P&O Cruises Australia in Australia. It operates 80 ships, totalling more than 139,000 berths with a further 15 ships to be delivered between May 2006 and October 2009.

Carnival Corporation & plc is a dual listed company, with headquarters in Miami, Florida, USA and London, UK. The companies of Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc are the two holding companies of Carnival Corporation & plc, operating 80 ships and totaling more than 139,000 berths. A further 15 ships are to be delivered between May 2006 and October 2009. In the year ending 30 November 2005 Carnival had a revenue of $11.087 billion and a net income of $2.257 billion.

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