Cruise Passenger reader’s have reacted strongly to the news that more passengers have joined a lawsuit against Carnival Australia after a cruise was redirected due to Cyclone Pam.

Thousands of passengers onboard the Carnival Legend were expecting to cruise to New Caledonia, but instead, were taken to Melbourne and Hobart.

It is reported that about 400 passengers from Victoria left the cruise in Melbourne.

The case has stirred a debate on the rights of cruise travellers for compensation, claiming that it does not quality under two sections of the Compensation and Consumer Act 2010.

The news has divided Australia’s cruise community. While some readers, like Doug Thompson, believe passengers should have been given the option to sail, others like Yvonne Ninness say the Captain of the Carnival Spirit made the right choice.

“I think the potential controversy here is that they didn’t announce the itinerary change until after they set sail. Even if it means eating the costs of the cruise, if someone has important plans involving one of the stops and the cruise was just a nice way of getting there, they should be given the option before boarding,” said Mr Thompson.

“I would always hope that the captain makes the right decision and go where it is safe. I go on a cruise and put my safety in the Captain’s hands. And if that means I miss a port, so be it,” said Ms Ninness.

Others were even angrier, believing that cruise passengers should understand that cruise lines operate at the mercy of extreme weather conditions.

“What a bunch of sooks”, said Craig Lovegrove on the Cruise Passenger Facebook Page.

While the matter is not yet in court – there is a direction hearing next month –  Cruise Passenger has found some cases around the world where passengers have won compensation.

  1. Passenger awarded US$21 million

A passenger onboard Holland America’s Ms Amsterdam, last year, was awarded US$21 million. The passenger claims he suffered a traumatic brain injury after walking into a sliding door. The businessman, James R. Hausman was holidaying on a 280-day world cruise. His lawyers produced evidence that the faulty setting had spread across the Holland America fleet. Footage showed the sliding doors closing in on Mr Hausman as he walked out of the ship with his wife. Mr Hausman’s lawyers at the Friedman Rubin Law Firm showed the jury that sliding doors injured 30 others across HAL’s fleet of cruise ships in the three-year period before Mr Hausman’s accident. HAL said in a statement it is “committed to the safety and security” of passengers and it will appeal the verdict.

2. Newlywed groom disappears from Royal Caribbean ship

In 2005, George Smith IV was travelling onboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas on his honeymoon. He mysteriously disappeared on the evening of July 5, 2005 and evidence suggested that foul play may have been involved. There were blood stains found in his cabin as well as on the side of the ship – it appeared that he had been tossed of the ship or possibly had fallen overboard and drowned. Authorities suspected suicide. Mr Smith’s wife, Jennifer Hagel hired legal representation that questioned Royal Caribbean’s response to her husband’s disappearance. Two congressional hearings were convened and in 2006, Jennifer Hagel reached a proposed settlement with Royal Caribbean on behalf of her husband’s estate in the amount of US$1,060,000. However, Mr Smith’s family later challenged the terms of the settlement as well as the amount of the monetary compensation.

3. Boy nearly drowns on Disney’s Fantasy

In 2013, a four-year-old boy nearly drowned onboard the Disney Fantasy cruise ship while it was docked at Port Canaveral before embarking on a Caribbean cruise. The child was unresponsive when he was pulled from the pool. Cruise Law News reported the child was permanently and seriously injured. Disney paid a multi-million dollar settlement and began employing lifeguards on its ships.

4. Family injured during Royal Caribbean shore excursion

In 2009, a nine passengers travelling onboard Royal      Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas were involved in an accident during a shore excursion in St Thomas. A group from the ship were on a Pirate Duck Adventure shore excursion, an island tour onboard and amphibious bus/boat. The vehicle veered off the road and passengers were thrown from the bus/boat. The injured  passengers sued Royal Caribbean as well as the Pirate Duck Adventure tour group. The parties settled for an undisclosed amount.

5. Passenger injured while walking on gangway

A passenger on board a Norwegian Cruise Line’s ship fell          while walking down the ship’s gangway. As a result of the fall, she claimed she suffered injuries to her hip which required surgery and physical therapy. NCL settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.