The world we live in is ever changing and I often notice a lack of personal responsibility when I listen to the TV news, read stories online, or listen to random conversations. I’m not saying that everyone is like this, but it is something I notice happening more often. More specifically, if something doesn’t go someone’s way, the first course of action seems to be in hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit because they feel justified in doing so. That, my friends, is not justice.
This morning I happened to read a story on Courthouse News Service about the unfortunate death of a man who was on a cruise with his wife in 2011 on a Carnival Cruise Line ship. It is extremely sad that this man died and I have the utmost sympathy for his family when it comes to his death. However, reading some of the complaint against Carnival Cruise Line regarding this man’s death, I am shocked at how the lawsuit states that the cruise line created a situation where the man no longer had any responsibility in his actions while onboard the ship.
Even though he had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, [passenger’s name omitted] had been conditioned by defendant to want to keep partying, and to take it to the limit and beyond. The passenger was a daredevil type with honed reflexes who sometimes enjoyed activities that most people would consider too risky, such as bungee-jumping or stock car racing. The passenger was also an individual who liked to ‘clown around.’ Thus a perfect storm was created for the tragedy that ensued.
But wait — it gets better. This was what came next:
Defendant Carnival Corporation goes to great lengths to inebriate its passengers and, in so doing, to break down their inhibitions, and create an ‘anything goes’ atmosphere. Synonyms for the name of the defendant’s corporation, Carnival, include ‘bacchanal,’ ‘orgy,’ ‘debauch’ and ‘merrymaking.’ The word ‘carnival’ has come to mean in the general lexicon a ‘self-indulgent festival.’ Defendant’s business plan to cultivate this atmosphere among its passengers is no coincidence.
The lawsuit continues on about Carnival’s lack of responsibility with their response once the passenger went overboard as well as their inability to prevent his death beforehand with training of crew members, security cameras, and so on and most likely is the majority of the reason for filing this cause of action lawsuit.
Here is my issue with all of this and again — this is simply my opinion. Anyone who goes on a cruise goes with an expectation of what it will be like, especially a Carnival cruise with all of their print and media advertising that we are subjected to on a regular basis. When people choose a Carnival cruise, they choose it because of easy access to one of their many home ports, itineraries, ships, pricing, and well, the most obvious reason of all, their fun party atmosphere. I have seen my fair share of debauchery on and off cruise ships and this is not something that Carnival has a corner market on exclusively.
I know of people who choose a cruise vacation in order to drink, lounge by the pool, and/or sit in the lounges all day and all night. Sober is not part of their vocabulary. Their bar bills exceed the total cost of their cruise and they are completely fine with it as this is their vacation and that is what they choose to do. I have witnessed many inebriated passengers on cruises and I have observed cruise members assisting them or asking them to go back to their cabin, etc. If someone is sitting on or straddling a railing on a deck while drunk, we as caring, compassionate humans should want to encourage, entice, and assist him or her to safety. That isn’t something that you need to be trained to do as a crew member, but anyone, be it a passenger or crew member, should be able to do this. That is our human responsibility.
Should I go on a cruise with someone who is drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, it would be my responsibility to monitor him or her to prevent them from hurting themselves or anyone else for that matter. My husband would be the first person to tell you that I will gladly speak up and tell him if I think he is having too much to consume and vice versa.
What will come next? Lawsuits because five of the seven nights I didn’t enjoy my dinner? The weather wasn’t hot enough for half of my cruise? The onboard entertainment was not what I expected? I lost money in the casino and my wife is upset and so it is the cruise line’s fault? My concern in all of this is that this is an example of how there seems to be a shift from personal responsibility to litigious activity at the drop of a hat. Sometimes connecting the dots doesn’t mean that you end up with a straight line or that you can easily conclude that but not for actions a, b, and c, that d occurred.
When you go on a cruise, be it a budget or luxury cruise, you should know what you are getting before you get onboard the ship and if you’re surprised by anything that happens during your cruise (food isn’t any good, cabins are too small, drinks are too expensive), then you didn’t do your research before you booked your cruise. If your budget doesn’t allow for you to go on a luxury cruise, adjust your expectations before your cruise and you will most certainly have a great time. If you like a quiet atmosphere, but you paid for a cruise with a reputation for the party life, don’t be surprised if the majority of passengers choose not to be quiet on your cruise.
If a lawsuit can bring about a change in procedure, rules, or laws, then I can see how it can benefit society as a whole. However, if a civil lawsuit means a financial payout as a punitive course of action, we as a society pay in the end. How does that large corporation find a way to pay that large amount of money to the plaintiff? Certainly insurance, but if their insurance rates go up or they might pay instead of the insurance company paying. In the end, we as the consumer pays the payout because the corporation will raise their rates to make the money back. If you adjust your expectations before you cruise and assume responsibility for your actions and your vacation, we all benefit in the end.