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New Orleans Caribbean Cruise Vacations – 5 Things to Know

Posted on Mar 5, 2008 in Local Issues, Personal Injury

BloomLegal’s entry into representing cruise line injury victims brings with it all sorts of interesting tidbits of information, such as:

1.  Cruise Ships aren't Made in U.S.A.  While it may sound down-right unpatriotic that most of the cruise ships fly the flags of foreign countries, not the Stars and Stripes, it’s partially due to American law and the U.S. marketplace that this occurs.  For almost a century, federal laws have existed to protect U.S. cruise-ship builders by requiring that cruise ships sailing entirely between U.S. ports -- with no stops in any foreign port -- must be built in the United States, and both owned and operated by Americans.  (The laws are the Jones Act of 1920 and the Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886.)

Today’s reality is that no big cruise ship has been built in America since Eisenhower was president, and no large cruise ships built in the U.S. are even on the seas today.  Cruise ships simply aren’t built in the U.S., and under these existing federal laws, they’ve got to have at least one foreign port stop if they are otherwise sailing between U.S. ports of call.

What does this mean to you?  Foreign law -- not U.S. law -- may well impact any incident or injury that occurs during your cruise vacation.

2.  What You Pay Depends Upon When You Buy.  The best cruise vacation deals can be found either as “early bird” specials (5-6 months in advance) or as last minute bookings (within 2 weeks of departure).  You can save 50-75% this way.

It's entirely legal for the same cruise package to cost vastly different sums for passengers on the same ship, in neighboring cabins. 

3.   "All-Inclusive" Isn't.  Even the most “all-inclusive” package deal doesn’t cover everything.  You need to budget extra cash for (1) shore excursions; (2) tips; (3) dining at onboard specialty restaurants and the like.

Ask your travel agent for details before you buy your “inclusive” package to give you specifics on what that “inclusive” package doesn’t cover.  The travel agent isn't legally required to give you this detailed information as part of the sale, you have to ask for it.

4.    Seasickness Happens.  The big cruise ships have stabilizers that keep lots of folk from feeling seasick.  Prevention is worth a pound of cure, though, and it’s best to see your doctor and get a prescription before you embark.

Legally, a visit to your physician shortly before your cruise gives you current medical information which can be invaluable should something unfortunately arise at sea. 

5. Theft happens during cruises Pickpockets are notorious for targeting cruise ship tourists, so men should remember not to carry their wallets in their pockets, and women should not take handbags on shore excursions.  Pack a under-the-shirt type of carrier that is light and either hangs around your neck or ties around your waist.   Onboard, store your valuables in the ship’s safe (do you really need to bring the fancy jewelry or the Rolex watch?) and don’t leave your passport, identification, and credit cards in the room, either.  Carry them with you, or put them in the safe, too.  Finally, always keep your room’s door locked - when you’re in it as well as when you’re away.  Use all the locks, too.

Prudent isn’t paranoid on a cruise ship.   Once you are out to sea, you are vulnerable to the level of security and protection that the cruise line decides to provide.  There is no independent police force to call for help.  Legally, you have much less protection as a victim of crime on a cruise ship than on most any other choice of vacation. 

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