Help! My dream cruise holiday made me sick
The cruise industry is booming in Australia, and it’s not surprising why. After unpacking your suitcase, your floating hotel takes you to a variety of interesting locations, with all inclusive meals and entertainment along the way. But recent media stories have shown that cruise holidays don’t always go to plan, with several gastro outbreaks being reported on Sydney cruises over the peak summer season.
There have been reports of two gastro illnesses on Royal Caribbean cruises departing Sydney in the last three months. The Radiance of the Seas was apparently struck during its musical cruise that departed on 24 October 2015, and more recently the Explorer of the Seas cruise that left on 2 December 2015 also suffered an outbreak. Royal Caribbean is not alone, as P&O’s Pacific Eden cruise departure from Sydney on 16 December 2015 was reportedly delayed for sanitisation after a previous outbreak, and passengers later developed norovirus symptoms after the ship sailed.
So what are your rights if you are injured or become ill during your cruise holiday? What if you suffer food poisoning, slip on a wet deck and injure yourself, or if your excursion bus is involved in a road accident?
Solicitor Victoria Roy (née Gallanders), Travel Law Expert at Stacks Goudkamp, explains that you still have rights to compensation even if your accident happens at sea or abroad.
“These cases aren’t straightforward because the laws governing your rights for accidents on cruise holidays are different to the laws that apply if your accident happened in Australia,” Ms Roy explains.
“There are a number of variables to consider, such as: whether the ship was sailing in international waters or in port when your accident occurred, the country where the ship is registered, the terms and conditions of your cruise booking contract, and how you booked your excursion if that’s when you were injured.”
“The important thing to remember is that you do have rights. Given the complexities with these cases, if you have suffered an accident or illness on a cruise, it is important to seek expert legal advice from a specialist. In many cases there are short deadlines to bring a claim, so it is important to act quickly once you are on home soil”.
Victoria Roy (née Gallanders), can be contacted for obligation free legal advice on 1800 25 1800 or by making an online enquiry.