Senator wants ‘Cruise Ship Bill of Rights’

The Carnival Legend, seen here operating under its own power in 2002, had to return to Tampa, Fla., after propulsion problems forced it to skip a stop in the Cayman Islands.

The Carnival Legend, seen in a 2002 file photo, had to return to Tampa, Fla., Sunday, after propulsion problems forced it to skip a stop in the Cayman Islands. (AP)

Since America’s major problems are largely whipped, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wants to command the high seas with a “Cruise Ship Bill of Rights.”

Schumer, who likes coming up with various “Bill of Rights” ideas, wants the cruise ship industry to adopt a plan that would “guarantee sanitary conditions, backup power and medical staff in case of emergencies,” according to WENY-TV in New York.

Schumer’s plan was revealed after at least three incidents involving Carnival Cruise Lines in the last few weeks.

Other cruise ship lines, meanwhile, are probably wondering why they are getting dragged into Carnival’s bad PR maelstrom.

I follow the news pretty closely, and the last two major cruise ship stories have only involved Carnival-owned ships: Triumph’s stinky, extended stay in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine fire disabled propulsion in February, and the fatal sinking of the Costa Concordia in the Mediterranean in January 2012.

Thirty-two people died when the Costa Concordia, twice the size of the Titanic, hit rocks 62 miles from Rome. Captain Francesco Schettino, known as “The Chicken of the Sea” in Italy,  faces charges of manslaughter, contravening laws of the sea and abandoning his ship.

The $570 million ship, still laying on its side in Tuscan Bay, will eventually be hauled away and sold as scrap metal.

The Carnival Legend (pictured) returned Sunday to Tampa, Fla., after missing a stop in the Cayman Islands due to propulsion problems. A few hours later, without repairing the problems, the ship took off again with a new set of passengers.

Last Wednesday, the Carnival Dream lost power and some toilets stopped working. Its 4,000 passengers, who were not allowed to get off the ship in  St. Maarten, were eventually flown home.

The Carnival Elation, which shared food with the Triumph while it floated haplessly at sea, was escorted back to New Orleans by a tugboat earlier this month after experiencing steering problems.

Schumer, according to WENY, outlined six points in a proposed “bill of rights” for cruise ship passengers:

  • Passengers on cruise ships be allowed to leave after a certain time if the impairment to the ship can’t be repaired in a reasonable amount of time.
  • When serious medical or technical situations arise aboard the ship, passengers get full refunds.
  • Passengers should have access to well-trained medical personnel during an emergency and that there be an adequate number of medical personnel aboard to deal with the emergency.
  • Passengers have real time updates on what problem has occurred, how serious it is, and how long it will take to fix.
  • Passengers should have a crew well-trained to handle a number of emergencies, including evacuations from the cruise ship.
  • Every cruise ship should have a backup generator in case of a power failure.

Sounds good, but capitalism usually means industries that wish to remain in business take these kind of steps without the U.S. Senate getting involved. And civil suits, many are pending, have a way of righting the ship too.

Meanwhile, Carnival, the world’s largest cruise ship line, earned $37 million last quarter on revenues of $3.59 billion.

16 comments Add your comment

Eileen Flynn

March 18th, 2013
9:58 am

A cruise passenger bill of rights will not be complete until it clearly lists that passengers have a right to a refund if the ship they are booked on sails into a hurricane. The Caribbean Princess boarded passengers in Red Hook, Brooklyn on 10/27/12 and sailed into Hurricane Sandy. Those who were booked and who refused to board because of the unquestioned dangers, including my husband and me, were denied refunds. This denial represents a deplorable decision by cruise management who, as it turns out, answer to no one. This sad reality needs to be addressed an corrected. BTW Carnival owns Princess Cruise line.

joeintucker

March 18th, 2013
12:07 pm

yeah Chuckie, like you have nothing better to do….

Lexi3

March 18th, 2013
12:17 pm

Now that the senate has produced a budget 4 years late it is ready to turn its considerable attention to a non-problem. The cruise does answer to someone-the market. My sources tell me that Carnival bookings are suffering and other lines are picking up the business. What a shock to those who thought nothing ever got done before heavy handed regulation became the norm. Or, we could adopt the good senator’s measures and increase the cost to everyone who cruises. Why not require the lines to have a back-up cruise ship trail every scheduled ship in case of a problem . Perhaps a back-up back-up should be compelled too.

Dennis

March 18th, 2013
12:37 pm

We were in the Carnival Dream from Feb 9th thru Feb 16th. The same week as when the Triumph had trouble. The ship rocked back and forth unnaturally for the 1st 4 days, we rolled back and forth in our beds and then was normal for 3 days.
There were problems with the toilets off and on the whole cruise and you could smell it in the halls the whole trip.
Not a lot of fun….

Dori

March 18th, 2013
1:07 pm

There is a bit of false information in this article. The Carnival Elation was never towed back to New Orleans; the tugboat simply escorted the ship in case there was a problem. No problem ever occurred. When the Carnival Dream lost power, toilets were down for two hours at the most and passengers were allowed off the ship all day Thursday before the cruise line began flying them home on Friday.

Irishmafia116

March 18th, 2013
3:14 pm

F him, moronic loser. maybe he should concnetrate on something important LIKE MAKING A FRIGGIN BUDGET !! or hey here’s an idea ……find a way to cut the deficit thats strangling our country and gonna kill our kids and grandkids! You know here’s my idea –for every new law submitted they have to eliminate three on the books . Opinions?

Capatain Bligh

March 18th, 2013
3:21 pm

Took a cruise on Carnival Dream 2/23 to 3/2 great ship, great time, zero problems, as the zero problems we’ve had on 6 previous Carnival cruises. Funny an airline crashes and hundreds of people die, no one says lets come up with even more regualtions, and doubt many people stop flying

GlarryB

March 18th, 2013
4:55 pm

The Federal Government does NOT need to interject itself into the commercial marketplace. Let the marketplace take care of itself. If the cruise lines don’t want to accommodate those passengers, then it’s not the governments place to make them. By the same token, let the people insist by not booking on those cruise lines that do not do what’s right.

Timmy

March 18th, 2013
6:14 pm

Eileen, Dennis, Bligh, that answer to your problem is DON”T USE those lines again.

monquita worley

March 18th, 2013
8:14 pm

No Body makes you CRUSIE that is your choise. Accident happens anywhere you go. where it is by CAR; AIRPLANE: BOAT: OR BY WALKING;you never know what going to happen. we have been on 7 crusie i have fail on 3 of these crusie and got hurt very bad but it was my wanting to take the crusie. we are going in December 2013 on CARNIVAL BREEZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gary Ward

March 18th, 2013
8:33 pm

Chuckie Schumer, the busy body that keeps his name in the news to keep his ego inflated and to make the voters of NY think he’s actually doing something worthwhile for them and isn’t should just keep his nose out of the cruise ship business. The cruise line is making good on the passengers who unfortunately had their cruised spoiled by problems. They don’t need Chuckie sticking his nose in the cruise business.

Gary Ward

March 18th, 2013
8:36 pm

As a post script to the Schumer nonsense. He would do better to see that the Obama Administration and his own party obeys the U. S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights before he’s concerned trying to write one for cruise lines. The Democraps are flaunting the Constitution left and right.

Chris

March 19th, 2013
9:24 am

I say let Carnival dig their own grave; no need for government intervention. In this case the problem will take care of itself; either Carnival gets their act together or cruise customers take their business elsewhere and Carnival goes under.

Capt. Merrill Stubing

March 19th, 2013
10:12 am

“…capitalism usually means industries that wish to remain in business take these kind of steps without the U.S. Senate getting involved”

That ^^^. If Carnival doesn’t get its act together pretty soon it’ll only attract the low information cruisers who don’t know any better, and eventually it’ll go under (no pun intended).

Josh

March 22nd, 2013
8:55 am

All of those sound like excellent ideas, I hope this bill passes.