The cruise ship industry has been under fire for years now, with several incidents at sea raising questions over the safety of passengers and the competence of crews.
The wreck of the Costa Concordia, several reports of stranded cruise ships and even stories of missing persons on board have been rampant in recent years. One Australian resident has even filed a public liability injury claim against a cruise company after his dream holiday turned into a nightmare.
According to The Telegraph, Graham Walsh alleges Carnival Cruise Australia left him stranded in a foreign hospital without identification or money, and that his injuries were the fault of the cruise liner in the first place.
Mr Walsh was allegedly struck by a falling roof tile and a light fixture while on cruising on the Dawn Princess through the Pacific. After the June 2009 accident, Mr Walsh claims he was left in a hospital on the island of Fiji.
The Victoria resident is now suing the cruise liner for $750,000, alleging the accident has kept him from work because of the mental and physical injuries he suffered.
However, one of Mr Walsh's biggest concerns was that the ship's physician sent him alone to a hospital in Fiji.
"They took me down the gang-plank and stuck me in a cab. I was surprised because no one accompanied me [to the hospital]," he told the court, according to the Telegraph.
"No one was assisting me and I didn't know what to do."
Mr Walsh asserted the treatment he was given on the ship was "appalling", and then when he tried to come aboard the ship the following day, he was denied because he didn't have the proper documentation.
It's stories like this that may have contributed to Carnival Cruise's falling profits. A recent financial report showed that the company is having serious issues attracting passengers, and that its third-quarter profits were down markedly compared with the same period last year.
In fact, net income was down 30 per cent compared to last year. Company President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald said that in an effort to turn this around, he plans to spend $300 million to improve the safety and reliability of cruise ships.
But until this happens, it seems these vessels will continue to have problems, which could lead to more public liability injury claims.