Royal Caribbean Cruises is being sued for allegedly pushing passengers to travel to Houston even though Hurricane Harvey was going to hit the area or risk losing the chance to get refunded on their tickets. The cruise was set to leave from Galveston on the 27th and head to Cozumel, Mexico, and return on September 3rd.
Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on August 25th near Houston, which is home to the closest intercontinental airport nearby Galveston. The Royal Caribbean cruise liner named “Liberty of the Seas” has its home port in Galveston. The suit alleges Royal Caribbean indicated to travelers that the voyage would continue as scheduled, unimpeded despite Harvey.
The lawsuit says that Royal Caribbean pushed people to subject themselves to “days of danger, terror and trauma” by being pushed to travel right into the path of a category four hurricane. The suit implies Royal Caribbean was entirely motivated by profit because the cruise lines make no money when they don’t have any passengers on board.
Apparently, the Port of Galveston was “offline” as of the 25th of August, and so a rival cruise company, Carnival Cruise Lines rerouted two ships that’d been booked for Houston on the 26th. Some of their ships remained in Cozumel because the National Hurricane Center declared the Texas coast was in Harvey’s “cone of danger”.
Despite all this, however, the suit suggests Royal Caribbean informed customers their cruise would only be delayed until August 28th, but then canceled the voyage on the 27th. Essentially meaning that when people would have made the trip down to Houston so they can board the liner, they’d find out that their cruise was canceled, and they were stuck in inclement weather. Had Royal Caribbean informed their passengers just a day or two earlier that the trip would be canceled, then many could have avoided being in the area during one of the most damaging Hurricanes in US history. Winkelman, a maritime attorney related to the suit said “[Royal Caribbean] knowingly placed families with small children directly in the path of one of the worst storms to hit the U.S in centuries.”