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Our Maritime Blog

Title: Overserving Alcohol to Passengers on a Cruise Ship

Author: Paul M. Hoffman

Category: Overserving Alcohol

Date: 2012-12-20

Many people have seen the CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) Kevin Sheehan on the 20/20 program talking about how much alcohol a cruise line has to sell on each voyage in order to make a profit. Alcohol sales are an important part of a cruise line's bottom line. But what is the responsibility of the cruise line to an intoxicated passenger who is overserved alcohol on a cruise?

Anyone who has taken a cruise on any of the major cruise lines---Carnival, NCL, RCCL, Celebrity, Princess---knows that alcohol is constantly pushed for sale. The cruise lines want passengers to drink alcoholic beverages. At the same time, they are the first to blame the intoxicated passenger for any injuries they might sustain if alcohol can be shown to have played any part.

There are three basic ways the cruise line can be held responsible for alcohol-related injuries. The first is where the cruise line serves alcohol to a minor. If the inebriated minor causes injury to himself or to others because he is intoxicated, the cruise line is responsible. Cruise lines are also responsible if they serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated guest who then injures himself or herself or another as a result of being drunk. Lastly, the cruise line has an obligation to care for an obviously inebriated passenger who is incapable of protecting himself or herself because their faculties are impaired. There are many hazards that exist on the cruise ship for intoxicated passengers such as long, steep open staircases and railings over the open ocean.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of an alcohol-related incident on a cruise ship, call the maritime lawyers at the Hoffman Law Firm for your free consultation