The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Miami by Cassie Terry, a Texas woman who described Carnival’s Triumph to CNN as "A floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell." The lawsuit claims that Carnival failed to provide a seaworthy vessel and sanitary conditions.
The Carnival CEO says the company prides themselves on providing excellent vacation experiences but they clearly failed in this case. Carnival has offered the passengers, many of whom were subject to long bus rides home, $500 in compensation. Maritime attorney Michael Winkleman says that $500 is laughable and they should get more. (Winkleman represented relatives of one of the victims of the Costa Concordia --a cruise ship operated by a subsidiary of Carnival.)
In a FOX news video, Winkleman went on to say that Carnival Cruise Lines is not subject to US taxes or labor laws. Rather, they are a Liberian corporation based in Miami, “so they get everything at discount rates”. As well, legal issues will be raised about the passenger- ticket contract, which is a tool “designed to take away your rights designed by Carnival and other cruise lines,” he said.
Winkleman explained that this contract tries to limit the Cruise Line’s liability for emotional distress claims and they are trying to prevent passengers from having any type of a class action. “Now they are trying to force these passengers into arbitration, where the arbitrator is chosen and paid for by Carnival, which means they wouldn’t be able to go to court. Appropriate compensation for all these passengers should be decided by a jury of their peers.”
On February 7 Carnival’s Triumph departed from Galveston for a four-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. Three days later an engine fire destroyed its primary power source and the ship was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. Cassie Terry’s complaint says that, "an engine room fire knocked out its primary power source, crippling its water and plumbing systems and leaving it adrift.” Passengers were without electricity for four days.
The lawsuit further alleges that during the "horrifying and excruciating tow back to the United States," the ship listed several times, "causing human waste to spill out of non-functioning toilets, flood across the vessel's floors and halls, and drip down the vessel's walls."
Along with the offer of $500 in compensation, Carnival plans to offer passengers refunds, another trip, and coverage for transportation costs home. The National Transportation Safety Board and the US Coastguard are investigating. The next 14 voyages for this ship have been cancelled.